By Paul Gable
Former Horry County School superintendent Gerrita Postlewait was named superintendent of the Charleston County School District Thursday.
The vote to hire was a 5-4 split decision among the nine county board members. The vote for Postlewait was taken after a motion by board member Dr. Chris Collins to offer a three year contract to current CCSD deputy superintendent Lisa Herring failed to gain a majority.
After the meeting, Collins told media there was no sincere effort (among board members) to seriously consider Herring because of her skin color. Herring is black.
Already the hiring of Postlewait has brought criticism.
Shortly after the hiring was announced, North Charleston mayor Keith Summey issued a statement expressing disappointment in the board’s decision and expressing hope that Postlewait will decline the offer. Summey is white.
Summey said the board decision should be revisited to consider a more diverse field of candidates. Summey added community members have worked too hard to hold the community together (in light of recent area shootings) to let it be disrupted by this decision.
According to several sources familiar with the hiring process, the NAACP is planning some type of protest of the decision to hire Postlewait.
And all of this before Postlewait spends one day on the job or before she broaches the subject of ‘policy governance’, or ‘coherent governance’ as it is now called, if she intends to follow the same type of approach to CCSD as she did to the Horry County school board.
This method of district governance, if adopted, effectively cuts the board out of many district decisions and has strict rules against board members speaking with parents and other community members.
Imagine being a parent speaking during public comments at a board meeting and getting absolutely no feedback, (not allowed under policy governance), from the members allegedly elected to represent you.
This is not a democratic model of governance, but it was put into place in Horry County when Postlewait became superintendent.
I have personally attended Horry County school board meetings where a budget upwards of one-half billion dollars was being considered and not one question was asked by any of the 12 members of the school board.
In my opinion, policy governance, or coherent governance if you prefer, effectively neuters school board members and does not allow them to speak to members of the public or make other than the most benign comments to the media – Absolutely no criticism of school district policy, or real discussion for that matter, by those elected to supposedly determine it!