South Carolina Superintendent of Education, Mick Zais, spent Friday in Georgetown County visiting four schools and meeting with officials at ArcelorMittal’s local steel-making facility.
Dr. Zais began his day at Carvers Bay Middle School where he met with Principal Comeletia Pyatt and other staff members.
“I was so excited,” Pyatt said when asked how she felt when she was told Zais would visit her school.
She said she talked with the superintendent about both the good things and the challenges facing her school.
“I basically asked him to support our teachers and staff,” she said.
Zais then had lunch at Carvers Bay High School.
The meal was prepared and served by the Culinary Arts program.
Zais said from what he observed while in the Carvers Bay area, he could tell it is a community that is dedicated to its schools and children.
“Educators cannot do all the work. You have to have involvement from the community,” Zais said.
He also praised the after-school programs that are conducted by churches.
Eddie Gamble Jr., pastor of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Dunbar, was on hand for the visit. His church has 120 students in its after-school program.
“I wish every church could start these programs. They are important to have,” Zais told Gamble. “Thank you pastor for what you do.”
Carvers Bay High Principal Richard Neal said it was an honor to have Zais at his school.
“Out here in the rural area, we are not as visible. So, it meant a lot for him to be here,” Neal said.
Zais visited Maryville Elementary and later spoke at the grand opening ceremony of the Coastal Montessori Charter School in Pawleys Island.
He noted Montessori schools are “one different form of school choice” which helps parents find a learning environment that best fits their child’s needs.
“I've been a strong advocate for options for parents and this just represents another option," he said.
District Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier said he feels it was important Zais “took the time to visit and recognize our schools for the exceptional work they are doing academically. He focused on student achievement, but also on costs per classroom, mentioning our lower administrative costs.”
Dozier said Zais complimented the district on helping to provide options and choice for its students.
“I think we made a positive impression and hopefully the good news about Georgetown County will be spread throughout the state,” Dozier said.
By Scott Harper
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