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Teacher retention up in Florence 1 Schools as district starts new school year

Florence 1 Schools students started a new school year bright and early September 8th. In an unprecedented time for education, the district starts the year with zero certified position vacancies. There are 174 teachers who are new to the district, down from the previous school year as part of the district’s continued emphasis on attracting and retaining exceptional educators.

Several schools in the district have added a grade level for the 2020-2021 school year, with Carver, Delmae, Lucy T. Davis and McLaurin Elementary schools each welcoming fifth-grade students to their campus. Moore Intermediate School has transitioned to Moore Middle School, retaining their previous fifth and sixth-grade students as they moved on to sixth and seventh grade.

A few schools have welcomed new or additional administrators, several of them increasing their number of building administrators to accommodate the additional students.

  • Matthew Cote- Delmae Heights Elementary Assistant Principal
  • Katherine Cullen- Dewey Carter Elementary Assistant Principal
  • Amy Williams- McLaurin Elementary Assistant Principal
  • Cherisse Thayer- McLaurin Elementary Assistant Principal
  • Marci Gatewood – Royall Elementary Assistant Principal
  • LaTonya Yates-Ford: Savannah Grove Elementary Principal
  • Elizabeth Jackson – Timrod Elementary Principal
  • Janna Tolleson- Wallace Gregg Elementary Assistant Principal
  • April Leroy- Moore Middle Principal
  • Jeffery Gaines- Southside Middle Principal
  • Daniel Humber- South Florence High Assistant Principal
  • Joni Brown - South Florence High Assistant Principal
  • Shand Josey- South Florence High Principal
  • Joselyn Davis-Williams: Wilson High Assistant Principal
  • Brian Phillips - Wilson High Assistant Principal
  • Erick Figueras – Director of Arts and Innovative Programs
  • Catherine Sanderson – Director of School Readiness
  • Lisa Suggs – Director of Federal Programs

Ashley Watson, Director of Recruitment & Certification, said that even though recruitment looked different this year she believes that she was able to bring in many highly capable teachers who were excited to join the F1S community.

“Usually I am able to travel to college job fairs and other recruitment events to showcase the wonderful opportunities that we have for teachers in Florence 1 Schools,” Watson said. “Even with very few chances to attend these kinds of events in-person, we have managed to find a lot of wonderful teachers through our virtual recruitment efforts.”

Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said that he is confident in the ability of the principals, teachers and staff to work together and create a support network for one another and for students this school year.

“This year will be different in many ways,” O’Malley said. “But this district has strong building administrators and amazing, dedicated teachers and staff. Together we will get through this and we will emerge stronger than we were before.”