Current, former Richland Two board members supportive of Interim Superintendent Nancy Gregory

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Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:54 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Both current and former Richland School District Two board members are speaking highly of its newly-appointed Interim Superintendent Nancy Gregory.

Her selection at a board meeting on Thursday came two days after the board unanimously voted to accept former superintendent Dr. Baron Davis’ resignation.

RELATED STORY: Richland Two names interim superintendent after resignation of Dr. Baron Davis

Board members say that given Gregory’s wealth of experience in education, and her more than 40 years with Richland Two, she will be a strong leader for the district as it moves forward.

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

Gregory was most recently the district’s chief instructional officer.

In a video released by Richland Two, Gregory laid out three priorities as she takes on this new challenge: student achievement, fiscal responsibility, and building partnerships with families, community, and business leaders.

“My goal is to make sure we keep doing the things that have made our schools successful and relentlessly strive to improve in important areas such as student achievement and our high school graduation rates,” she said. “The great work of this school district requires honest assessment, stability, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.”

The vote to appoint Gregory interim superintendent was 6-1, with only Lashonda McFadden voting against her. She tells WIS that she voted no because she had someone else in mind for the role, but thinks that Gregory will do a “fantastic” job.

In a statement, Board Chair Lindsay Agostini said, “The board is pleased with Nancy Gregory assuming the position of Interim Superintendent. Her years of experience dedicated to Richland Two, knowledge, passion, and commitment to the district, organizational skills, and the fact that she is well respected by district employees will be an asset to Richland Two.”

Former Richland Two Board Chair James Manning said he is excited that board members chose someone with knowledge of Richland Two who can step in and hit the ground running.

Manning said it is well-documented that there are certain factions on the board that wanted to move in a different direction from Davis, but said that he wants to focus on supporting Gregory in her transition to this role.

“If you look at the focus of what a school district should be, and you look at some of the comments from the Inspector General’s report, academics should be the number one focus,” he said. “Having been the lead over academics for the school district, I think she brings a wealth of knowledge and focus on what should be the main thing, which is the education and academics of our students.”

A scathing, 54-page report South Carolina Inspector General’s office detailed dysfunction among Richland Two board members.

Only 14 percent of the board’s agenda items were on academic matters during this four-year review period, the report stated.

WIS asked Manning whether Gregory’s experience will help her steer the district in the right direction, and away from some of that dysfunction.

“I think that’s up to the board,” he said. “The board has many times made the statement they feel the board should be the leaders of the district. Hiring somebody who is a first-time superintendent, even though she’s very knowledgeable about the district, but the direction is really going to have to largely come from the board. So I think they have a big responsibility on their shoulders again to ensure that we’re moving in a positive direction, we’re focused on the students, focused on the right things.”

Manning said he has confidence that the board will reach that point.

WIS asked Agostini whether Gregory could be under consideration to serve in this role permanently, and why the district chose her over Deputy Superintendent Dr. Marshalynn Franklin.

She did not provide any answers to these questions.

The agreement for Gregory to serve as interim superintendent is through the end of this school year, according to Agostini.

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