Dr. Baron Davis resigns as Richland Two Superintendent after hours-long meeting

Richland 2 Superintendent, Dr. Davis, mutually agreed with the school board to resign from his position.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 11:13 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – (WIS) After a nearly six-hour meeting behind closed doors in executive session, Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis resigned Tuesday night.

The Richland Two school board and Davis mutually agreed to separate its contractual agreement.

The motion to accept his resignation was unanimous.

Davis had been the leader of the state’s fifth-largest school district since 2017. His contract was not set to expire until 2026.

WIS spoke with Richland Two Board Chair Lindsay Agostini briefly on Wednesday.

She did not provide details regarding the agreement or why Davis resigned.

However, Agostini did reveal that under district policy, its deputy superintendent, Dr. Marshalynn Franklin, will be leading the district before an acting or interim superintendent is named.

Several in the Richland Two community tell WIS they are shocked about this news, partly because Davis’ contract was extended by one year in a tight 4-3 vote in September as the board deemed he had met expectations.

RELATED CONTENT / Richland 2 Board votes to extend superintendent’s contract until 2026

“I think he was doing a great job myself,” Lester Keys, a Richland Two grandparent, said. “I think it probably stems from personal feelings that were going on within the school board.”

Keys said he has more questions surrounding Davis’ departure.

“We have a right to know what is going on in our schools because not only just the safety of our children, but the brand of education and the quality of education that they’re getting,” he said. “Who is going to come next and are they still going to get that quality education that they need?”

Tia Fletcher, a former Richland Two teacher, was unsurprised by the nature of Davis’ resignation.

“That’s what happens in situations like this,” she said. “They do have these meetings behind closed doors when the decision is actually made that the person is going to resign.”

WIS has requested a copy of the agreement.

Agostini said once it has been made public, it will explain the board’s reasoning.

On January 5, she was asked about whether the board would address Davis’ contract in the near future.

RELATED CONTENT / Richland Two Board takes no action on superintendent’s contract

“I have no comment on that,” she said. “Well, actually I’ll say no, we’re not going to address the contract or change a contract if that’s what you’re asking. We can’t do that, looking at the contract would take place at the end after his evaluation which is done in the summer.”

When pressed about this statement Wednesday, she had no comment.

Donald Gist, Davis’ attorney, also declined to go into specifics about the agreement, but provided this statement: “At this point we don’t have any comment in terms of going into any details. I want the community to understand that Dr. Davis loves Richland School District Two, he loves the community and more importantly the students.

At this point, though, in terms of where we are with Dr. Davis, we are not in a position to make any comment. But I do promise the public that we will have some comment at a later date.”

There is a special called board meeting Thursday evening to discuss the role of acting/interim superintendent.

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