Review Category : School News

TCL offering new certificate in agriscience

It’s more than green grass that unites farming, golf course management and landscaping. Agriscience is also a common bond.

Agriscience encompasses the application of science and technology to the plant and animal industries and includes a wide range of fields such as conventional and organic farming, turf management and landscaping.

TCL agriscience instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton reviews agriscience textbooks for program curriculum.

TCL agriscience instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton reviews agriscience textbooks for program curriculum.

This August, agriscience is coming to the Technical College of the Lowcountry. The new agriscience certificate program will provide students with fundamental knowledge in this rapidly growing field and prepare students to enter and advance in occupations in farming, landscaping, and golf course and pest management industries.

“We hope that people who work locally will continue their education in the agriscience program to receive higher positions in their current jobs, form their own businesses or even change their careers,” instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton said.

The program requires 29 credit hours and emphasizes three separate occupational areas: diversified agriculture production, landscape occupations and turf occupations. An internship in their chosen pathway will also be required to give students additional hands-on experience.

Area employers agree that the agriscience certificate is needed. Jerry Ashmore, Director of Workforce Development and Safety at The Greenery, serves on the TCL advisory committee that helped shape the program.

“I know the value of an education and appreciate this program as it gives students real-life experience as well as a solid foundation and enables them to grow in their careers,” Ashmore said. “We hope to offer folks careers after completion of the program.”

Agriculture is very strong in the Lowcountry as well as in the state of South Carolina. “The industry provides jobs to thousands of folks locally, from landscape contractors, golf courses to farmers,” he said.

The agriscience program also will benefit existing workers who are looking to advance in their careers. “The program will give them the opportunity to strengthen their skills, broaden their knowledge and enhance their professionalism, making them more valuable to their employer and give them the opportunity to grow in their career,” Ashmore said.

TCL has campuses in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hampton. And with S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance, South Carolina residents pay about $850 a semester for full-time tuition, regardless of need or income. In addition, TCL offers in-state tuition to military members and their spouses who are stationed in Beaufort and to residents of Chatham and Effingham counties in Georgia.

Registration for the fall semester ends August 15, and classes start August 21. Prospective students can apply free online anytime at

For more information about the agriscience program, please contact instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton at or 843-470-5964.

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Bridges Prep finalizes purchase of main campus

As announced this past May, Bridges Preparatory School executed the final purchase of the Boys & Girls Club facility and its 1.22-acre property on 1100 Boundary Street — the charter school’s main campus — on July 1.

Bridges Prep is now officially the first area charter school to own a facility, as well as land for further school development, which gives the school several building options, and a sense of place with roots in historic downtown Beaufort.

“This is a great source of pride and stability for Bridges,” said BPS Head of School Bob Cook. “Having secured our campus in our first year is certainly an important benchmark for us as a public charter school. We will develop the property in stages, yet we have sufficient and adequate classroom space for all grades K-7 this upcoming school year, and we look forward to sharing more of those details with stakeholders as arrangements are finalized.”

For a glance at Bridges’ first year achievements, see

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Dale Westcott Nature Award presented to students

The 8th annual Dale Westcott Memorial Nature Awards were presented on Monday, June 23 at the Photography Club of Beaufort. Each year the club sponsors a nature photography contest for local high school students in memory of Dale Westcott, one of the club’s early members. Mr. Westcott was an educator and a nature photographer and the award encourages students to creatively photograph the beauty of our natural surroundings.

Barbara Westcott, his widow, and Donald Westcott, his son, are benefactors to this award, as is the Photography Club.

The winners were: First Place:  Jessica Westmark (Bluffton High) for “Gator”; Second Place: Rex Leonard (Bluffton High) for “The Pelican”; Third Place: Cassandra Knoppel (Battery Creek) for “Patterns in Nature.” Honorable Mentions were awarded to Bart Hill for “Majestic Creature” and Abigail Rasmussen  for “Porcelain” (both of Bluffton). A special award for creativity was awarded to Sara Kardohely (Battery Creek) for “Sea Shell.”

From left: Dennis Vernon (Bluffton HS teacher); Jessica Westmark; Rex Leonard; Barbara Westcott (award patron); Cassandra Knoppel; Rebecca Bass (president of Photo Club Beaufort); Sara Kardohley; and John Cullinen (Battery Creek High).

From left: Dennis Vernon (Bluffton HS teacher); Jessica Westmark; Rex Leonard; Barbara Westcott (award patron); Cassandra Knoppel; Rebecca Bass (president of Photo Club Beaufort); Sara Kardohley; and John Cullinen (Battery Creek High).

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District introduces improved volunteer screening process

The Beaufort County School District has begun conducting annual background checks on all volunteers through an enhanced screening process.  The district also has improved the protocols within its volunteer program to ensure a consistent approach at every school.

The district has contracted with Background Investigation Bureau (BIB) to conduct nationwide screenings on all volunteer applicants and to notify schools and applicants on search results. The service costs $20 per screening, and annual costs are expected to be around $40,000.

“Our goal is to create a learning environment that’s safe for our students,” said Superintendent Jeffrey Moss. “We value our volunteers and want to make sure they are the right fit for our schools.”

The district estimates that 1,500-2,000 volunteers will apply for the upcoming school year, and both new and current volunteers will be screened under the new process. Each approved volunteer will have a badge, which will be required along with a photo ID when entering a school. The badge expires after one year.

For screening purposes, a volunteer is described as having direct contact with students under limited supervision or spending short periods of time with students outside of staff view. In order to become a volunteer, applicants must complete an online form, obtain approval from BIB and the district, and participate in orientation and training.

“This new process will enhance our screening efforts, it will make procedures consistent in all schools, and it will improve communication between the schools and the district office,” said Alice Walton, Chief Administrative and Human Resources Officer. “When we all work together — teachers, staff and volunteers — our students reap the benefits.”

The district is encouraging both current and prospective volunteers to fill out the application on the district website.

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Battery Creek student receives CATE award

On Sunday, June 22, a recent graduate of Battery Creek High School was recognized as the Lowcountry Technology Champion at the Career & Technical Education Business Summit held in Greenville, SC. Wendell Roberson Jr. represented Beaufort County schools and the region along with 12 other students across South Carolina.  These students were identified as award-winning youth who exemplify high standards in academic, technical, and leadership service areas.

Wendell has been an exceptional student in the engineering program at Battery Creek High School and was nominated by his instructor, Tony Petrucci.  Katherine Bradford, Regional Career Specialist, facilitated Wendell’s award. Wendell has been accepted and plans to attend Florida’s Embry-Riddle University in the fall and major in Aerospace Engineering.

CATE Conference 2014 144

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School Honors


Yulinda Rhodes, from Beaufort, SC, earned a degree in Master’s of Public Health from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., on Saturday, May 10, 2014. More than 700 degrees were conferred to candidates representing Armstrong’s College of Education, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Technology at the university’s Spring 2014 Commencement, held at the Savannah Civic Center.


Honor Roll Spring Fourth Quarter 2013-2014

Ninth Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Hikaru Aburto, Arthur Lehe, Vanessa Madrid, Ajhia Parker, Clarissa Reyes, Kayla Stewart, Jonathan Witt.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Tatiyana Barcenas-Urrutia, Sakethia Chaney, Marina Deeds, Brandy Farthing, Cassie Flanagan, Tenesha Grayson, Ashley Harbin, Jonathan Himmelsbach, Matthew Hurtt, Chardonnay Johnson, Cassandra Knoppel, Jacqueline Lopez, Denhere Mack, Gloria McCreary, Cory Mesel, Temera Millidge, Raelyn Moranelli, Victoria Moyak, Karen O’Hara, Sean Padgett, Dominique Padilla, William Payne, Myessence Ragin, Daniela Rodriguez Aguilar, Taylor Rushing, Sha’Keira Scott, Jessica Shipley, Allison Taylor, Clinton Taylor, Savanna Taylor, Jocelyn Thompson, Hannah Van Dam, Cecillia Williams, Kaysi Wilson.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Ebony Bates, William Bowles, Destiny Cooper, Karrin-Cheryl Faison, Daranaiza Ferguson, Jocelyn Griffin, Sylvester Jenkins, Taylor Jones, Shae-Lyn Pinet, Hannah Scott, Mesawit Sharew, Stephen Stormer, Gina Thompson.

Tenth Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Christian Carter, Katherine Harris, Neelia Heath, Jordan Holkesvik, Bailee Jones, Alexis Mesel, Landon Morgan, Aja Mulligan, Edward Potter, Marielle Van Vulpen, Alexis Willis, Tyreek Wilson.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Sakura Aburto, Ryan Ackerman, Alejandra Albores, Antwuan Blue, Zakiya Cobban, Mysia Coles, Marcus Cook, Noel Dowdle, Michael Gulledge, Jack Hillery, Jannien Santos, Jerkeithea Simmons, Taylor Turner, Kimberley Wallace, Holt Winkler.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Ryan Bestul, Shakeila Brown, Cierra Cohen, Emily Coniglio, Jaleah Frazier, Anna Gee, Samuel Greer, Margaret Langford, Breyanna Major, Taniqua Mungin, America Tierrablanca Miranda, Celia Williams, Nakya Witter.

Eleventh Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Raven Chapman, Kierra Grayson, Susie Houge, Ian Klauck, Darelle Lesesne, Carmen Little, Tinea Morris.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Dominique Allen, Ariel Bailey, Kassidy Block, Tyrek Byson, Jeffrey Darden, Sarah Earwood, Timothy Harris, BobbiJo Hearn, Amanda Hilton, Krystyn Kibler, Paula Madrid, Diamon McFadden, Jennifer Mossage, Alexander Nelson, Shelby Puckett, Kierra Scott, Jessica Wells, Chelsea Witter, Cameron Wood, Bianca Zaragoza.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Jacob Bingham, Katelynn Brock, Cali Caulder, Sarah Kardohely, Quamecha Morrison, Michael Reyes, Birucke Sharew, Xavier Topp, Daejahne Williams, Louis Wright.

Twelfth Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Amanda Lynn Frasier & Adam Joshua Yallum.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Julia Clarrissa Aguillon, Erik Jacob Barbosa, Michael Andrew Carrier, Christopher Alan Daigle, Kaniecia Viola Dilbert, Jasmine Natay Drake, Deidre Lynn Gallant, Jason Randolph Green, Kristen Ann Haberkorn, William Sidney Howell, Dulce Violeta Huerta, Clifford Amos Johnson, Illyona Rhianna Johnstone, Shawn Dustin Lee, Deja Shinay Moultrie,
Eriq Tyshaun Moultrie, Aujena Laquan Mungin, Gabriela Portela, Wendell Van Roberson, Rebekkah Lee Scott, Breyanna Chante Sheppard, Brayden Matthew Smith, Thomas James Smith, Vanessa Elizabeth Stanley, Caroline Renee` Vido, Jessie Lee Walker, Raven Amanda Wills.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Kayla Alexis Brown, Tyion Dacarrius Brunson, Caleb Seth Campbell, Craig Benjamin Capano, Joseph Henry Cuevas-Blandon, Matalyn Nichole Dearsman, Toniqua Mone’ Gantt, Alleanora Danielle Garcia, Dantzler Read Lewin, Johnathan Zachariah Mahan, Miguel Ramos Mejia, Diandre Hopeton Palmer, Brittany Alyssa Rogers, April Nichelle Stibitz, Kimberly Joy Vigil, Johnathan Lamont Wright.


• Lauren Leigh Netzel of Beaufort earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis during May 10 commencement ceremonies.


•  U.S. Navy Ensign Connor T. Murphy, son of Peter and Kathleen Murphy graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on May 23, and was commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Navy.   Murphy successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical, and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in History. As a graduate of the Naval Academy, Ensign Murphy  completed a four-year, total immersion program where a strong, balanced academic program, focused on the educational needs of the Navy and Marine Corps is superimposed on a strict, professional military training environment emphasizing the development of leadership skills. Murphy will proceed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he will begin service aboard the USS Hopper. Ensign Murphy is a 2010 graduate of Beaufort High School and a 2006 graduate of St. Peter’s Catholic School.


• The following local students were named to the Spring 2014 Dean’s List at Wake Forest University.

• Charlotte Bellomy of Beaufort

• Chelsea Bellomy of Beaufort

• Andrew Munger of Beaufort.

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Bridges Prep makes Bob Cook permanent Head of School

With skills both as an educational leader and for leading Bridges Preparatory School into the future, Bob Cook this week became the downtown Beaufort state charter school’s permanent Head of School.

Cook earned a Master’s degree in secondary education from The Citadel and a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Bob Cook

Bob Cook

“Bob demonstrated to us in his six months as Interim Head of School that he is a strong educator, a stabilizing leader and a visionary who understands what it will take to lead Bridges Prep to the next step as we grow into our middle school and high school curriculum,” said John Payne, chairman of the Bridges Preparatory Board of Directors.

Bridges Preparatory School, chartered by the state in mid-2012, opened at near capacity to some 360 K-6 students last August. The Bridges Board of Directors recently entered a contract to buy the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort facility at 1100 Boundary Street as the school’s permanent home.

Bridges has more than 140 students on its waiting list for enrollment for the upcoming school year, when it adds a seventh grade.

Cook leads Kay Keeler, Bridges’ Assistant Head of School, and the school’s exceptional faculty and staff.

“We have a great leadership team. Bob Cook is an experienced middle and high school principal and Kay Keeler is an experienced elementary school principal. It’s especially important as Bridges Prep begins adding middle and high school grades, starting with seventh grade when classes resume in August,” Payne said.

Preparations already are under way for the next school year, Cook said.

“We celebrated the end of our first exciting year and the tremendous strides we made,” Cook said. “Now we turn our attention to preparing for our bigger and better second year, including adding seventh grade and beginning our plans for renovating our facility.”

As a state charter school, Bridges Prep is open to all students in South Carolina and students are enrolled from Beaufort, Port Royal, Burton, St. Helena Island, Okatie, Bluffton, and Jasper and Hampton counties.

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School Notes


• The Battery Creek High School SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions Club) is collecting boxes of tissues for classrooms for the upcoming school year. Boxes may be left off in the front office with Mrs. Grooms, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. All boxes are needed by August 4. Call 322-5582 for more information.

• New Student Orientation at Battery Creek High School will be August 14, 6 p.m. at McVey Performing Arts Center. Parents/guardians and students should plan to visit the teachers in their classrooms following the orientation presentation at 6 p.m.

• BCHS students should report on the dates listed below to receive their final schedules, get their locker assignments, and have their picture taken (not seniors). Seniors: August 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Juniors: August 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sophomores: August 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Freshmen: August 14, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Only for freshman who did not attend August 8 orientation. Freshmen are strongly encouraged to attend Freshman/New Student Open House on Aug. 14 at 6 p.m.


•   BA summer hours, office will be open, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Members of the Beaufort Branch of the American Association of University Women are pictured with Pre-K students at Shanklin Elementary School. The women initiated ‘Books for Birthdays’  four years ago in the public schools of both Beaufort and Jasper counties. Each month, volunteers go into the classrooms, read books and donate a book to each child to take home. Children having a birthday that month are given a special book and all celebrate with cupcakes and juice also donated by the AAUW. Pictured are teachers Ms. Wright and Ms. Willingham, AAUW members Lynn Lantz,  Barbara Mattingly and Veronica Miller.

Members of the Beaufort Branch of the American Association of University Women are pictured with Pre-K students at Shanklin Elementary School. The women initiated ‘Books for Birthdays’ four years ago in the public schools of both Beaufort and Jasper counties. Each month, volunteers go into the classrooms, read books and donate a book to each child to take home. Children having a birthday that month are given a special book and all celebrate with cupcakes and juice also donated by the AAUW. Pictured are teachers Ms. Wright and Ms. Willingham, AAUW members Lynn Lantz, Barbara Mattingly and Veronica Miller.

• Fall Sports pre-season practices have begun.  Contact the coach (available on the BA website) or the front office at 843-524-3393 for more information.

• Sign up today!  Beaufort Academy is hosting Boys Basketball camps the week of July 21 for boys in grades 3-8. Camps are open to the community.  Contact 843-524-3393 or for more information.

The second week of Beaufort Academy’s summer camp for ages 3-6 was filled with little scientists. Pictured is one of the many experiments the students took part in during this weeklong camp, titled Super Science Camp.

The second week of Beaufort Academy’s summer camp for ages 3-6 was filled with little scientists. Pictured is one of the many experiments the students took part in during this weeklong camp, titled Super Science Camp.

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School Honors


Middle School Honor Roll

Third Trimester 2013-14

• Three 8th grade students who made the Director’s List (All A’s) for all three years of middle school: May Harrelson, Sarah McMullen, Allison Suber.

The Director’s List: All A’s

• Sixth Grade: Christian Andrade, Claire Bowden, Steven Dagley, Ian Hoogenboom, Maggie Kinton, Edmund McAlister, Macy Mullen, Merritt Patterson, Avery Thomas.

• Seventh Grade: Connor Brown, Annalee Chiaviello, Amanda Davenport, Gabriella Morales, Sam Stewart, Maxfield Trask.

• Eighth Grade: Eliza Akers, Sophie Bellomy, May Harrelson, Chris Hoogenboom, Sarah McMullen, Keaton Mykleby, Allison Suber, Olivia Ward.

Honor Roll: All As & Bs

• Sixth Grade: Ben Beckert, Jeff Bland, Sydnee Coggins, Stuart Derrick, Kelsey Duncan, Chris Jenkins, Hammie Kerney, Lillian Kindwall, Mabrey Kolb, Taliya Lewis, Skye Lex, Cole McKelvey, Joseph Mooney, Gabbi O’Quinn, Keating Reichel, Jose Restrepo, Brayden Sarathy, Sydney Smith, Ben Trask.

• Seventh Grade: Mitchell Dixon, Cameron Dodge, Brittany Gates, Adriana Heath, Victoria Hernandez, Robbie Horn, Peyton Langford, Kidron Martin, Josephine Quade, Reed Reichel, Alexis Russell, Savannah Walton.

• Eighth Grade: Allasha Brigmon, Troy Davenport, Mia DeBardelaben, Kendall Duncan, Jefferson Gibson, Tommy Holloway, Austin Jimenez, Merritt Kerney, Harrison Lane, Christian Lorenzo, Luke McGuire.

Honorable Mention: (As, Bs and one C)

• Seventh Grade: Carmen Cruz-Woodley, Wes Cunningham, Kevin Ford, Victoria Ganshow, Jon Holmes, Mary Hope Macloskie, Luke Miller, Jake Roberts, Jasmyn Torrence, Patrick Tucker.

• Eighth Grade: Lucy Bruns, Gina Dukes, Dalton Frazier, Malia Kaneshige, Kennedy Lopez, Jeremy Smalls.


Principal’s Award & Honor Roll List for the Fourth Quarter, 2013-2014

Principal’s Honor  Roll

• First Grade: Zyasia Aiken, Grace Bing, Brooke Bowers, Nicolas Doray, Joshua Duncan, Davon Evans, Detron Fields, Justin Jenkins, Kenyon Jenkins, Jordyn Keller, Evelin Leija, Hezekiah Morrall, Ke’Maurion Morrall, Nadija Peterson, Nile Reed, Ja’kyla Reid, Layla Rivers, Dom’Nyk Thomas, Adrianna Wright.

• Second Grade: Taniyah Brown, Destiny Delaney, Xzoriona Frazier, Zada Frazier, Kaden Freshour, Greggory Gilbert, Jasmine Jackson, Derrick Polite McLeod, Kamarae Smalls, Quiana Fields, Keith Chisholm.

• Third Grade: Maia Robinson, Jakhi Pusha, Kyla Francis, Nayatta Frazier, Lucas Green, Donovan Peterson, Tresean Blake, Damien Thomas, Arik Engermann.

Honor Roll

• First Grade: Ja’Laya Allen, Quashawn Bell, Iyanna Brewer, Alexis Brown, Lilly Brown, Carter Brunson Brown, Destiny Cole, Jordan Cowan, Sylise Edwards, Jaselle Evans, Tyrone Gadson, Ja’Shawn Griffin, Ashton Heyward, Travis Johnson, Bryson Langston, Nevaeh Morrall, Ari’Anna Mulligan, Derius Polite, Larissa Reynolds, Ty’Asia Rhodan, Destiny Rivers, Amiah Smith, Justice Trautman, Jada Washington, Jamel Washington, Sha’Neil Washington.

• Second Grade: Talaijah Bartley, Shamara Bevan, Raheem Blair, Paris Bowers, Ariyanna Brown, Dajahnee Bryan, Yamariah Bryan, Ireana Byson, Dylan Clark, Melissa Cobb, Jayvion Coleman, Serena Diaz, Justin Evans, J’mya Jenkins, Diamond Kelly, Sa’mya Livingston, Tayla Manigault, Zoe Miller, Keyairaha Mitchell, Christopher Polite, Tramahn Polite, Dareginald Rhodes, Devin Sanchez, Jamarri Scott, Michael Smith, Sa’niyah Williams, David Evans, Skylar Fears.

• Third Grade: Benjamin Brooks, Jamia Blair, Dyamond Harris, Glenn Carter, ames Bennett, Gavin Clark, Quaeshawn Fields, Zanayah Hipp, Kalyn Moultrie, Benjamin Sanchez Morales, Khalisa White, Ashantee Capers, Kenadia Steed Ryan, La’Maria Capers, Naheem Decosta, Abygail Hosmer, Mariona Mulligan, Zaria Green, Cameron Roper, Clifton Major, Zariya Pearson, Jamilah White, Alissa Woods

• Fourth Grade: Katlyn Smalls, Kai’Shawn Jenkins, Luis Garcia, Ray Pryor, Jada Jenkins, Raven White, Willie Webb, Quintilian Fields, Sierra Harley, Laiona Middleton, Trey Speegle.

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Reflections of the past six years at Coosa Elementary

By Carmen Dillard, principal

As the last few days of this school year draws to an end, I find myself very reflective and appreciative of the last six years. I began as principal of Coosa on July 1, 2008 after relocating to Beaufort, South Carolina from Atlanta, Georgia.  I left my family, a school where I had worked the past 13 years, and the familiarity of the place I was born and raised to begin a new chapter in my life.  I can honestly say that while that change was a bit scary at times, it was also invigorating, and I think, meant to be.  I have grown so much as a professional, and have enjoyed seeing Coosa continue to grow and expand its culture of high quality and excellence.

I was just reviewing our school staff roster, and since I began in 2008, Coosa has maintained many of the same teachers — in fact, two-thirds of the staff have been here that length of time or longer.  The remaining one-third of the staff joining us since 2008 have brought new ideas and positive energy.  I think we have a healthy mix of professionals who see the benefit of working together to ensure our students receive high-quality instruction.  They are ever-mindful of each student’s individual learning needs and are committed to being a positive role model for students.

Over the past six years, our Coosa school family has struggled with serious illnesses.  Seven have had cancer, and two are still undergoing treatment.  These hardships have brought us even closer together as a school staff as we rally around these individuals. This does not go unnoticed by our students.  From our actions, they are learning compassion, consideration, and helping others less fortunate.

In addition to the dedicated Coosa staff, our students continue to benefit from our benevolent community who see the value in reaching out to work with and prepare our next generation.  For our military families, we have a full-time Military Family Liaison Consultant.  Mrs. Alley is well-loved by our military impacted students, and they look forward to spending lunch time with her.  Our Rotary Readers from the Beaufort Rotary come to school each week not only to help students in need of additional reading assistance but develop a friendship with these students who often need to build confidence.  The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department and Lady’s Island Fire Department are frequent visitors to the school and serve as role models for the students.  Our business partners, Home Depot and Martin and Lindsay Landscaping, were instrumental in providing time, labor, and materials to help us make our Memorial Reflection Garden a reality this past year.  Each 1st Friday of the month, we have Coosa dads (and other father figures) join their children for the All Pro Dad breakfast.  Finally, our many parent volunteers continue to spend countless hours at school working with students, or assisting in the classroom or building to make all of our jobs a bit easier.

I have to say that the biggest accomplishment during my 6 years at Coosa has been implementing “The Leader in Me.”  Coosa is proud to be the first leadership development school in Beaufort County based on the late Dr. Stephen Covey’s books The Leader in Me and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The 7-Habits, which serves as the framework for the school theme of “Lowcountry Leaders”, teaches students how to make good choices, plan ahead and prioritize, work well with others, and take care of themselves — body, mind, and spirit.  It is embedded into the school culture and curriculum throughout the day and even beyond. I feel a great sense of pride for our growing leaders when individuals (perhaps some of you) have attended one or both of the annual Leadership Events and remark how impressive it is to see these youngest leaders taking on responsibility and demonstrating the leadership skills they are continuing to develop.  We continue to see the benefits: a continual drop in disciplinary referrals, students genuinely interested in setting goals, tracking their progress, and displaying good citizenship.  All of this develops greater self-confidence, a sense of direction and purpose, and a positive and healthy school climate for learning.  I am delighted we get to keep our 4th grade leaders an additional year as 5th graders to hone those leadership skills even more.

As I prepare to leave this wonderful school and take on a new challenge and direction in my life as Director of Elementary Academic Assistant for the Beaufort County School District, I am eternally grateful for the years I have had being Coosa’s principal, the many friendships I have developed in the community, and last but not least, the children who have touched my life.  I will miss them a lot, but as I tell them, I know where I can come to get a “kid-fix” when I need one.

In all seriousness, I leave Coosa knowing that the tradition for excellence will carry on — it was here before I arrived and will be here after I leave.  The school will be in good hands under the leadership of Mr. Charles DelForge, who begins officially as Principal of Coosa on July 1. He had the opportunity to spend the day at Coosa on May 23 to meet school staff, students, and parents.  The students were very excited to meet him and were so gracious.  Mr. DelForge and I will continue to work closely to make the transition for the school as smooth as possible.

Finally, thank you all for all you have done to make my life richer by being a part of this community. I will always be grateful for this experience and truly believe it will better prepare me as I begin my work with all elementary schools in Beaufort County.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally printed in the Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association Newsletter.

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