County school board extends Newman’s contract to 2023
By Bobby Bryant
After privately conducting its annual evaluation of county Education Superintendent Tim Newman, the Darlington County School Board has voted to extend Newman’s contract an additional year, taking him to June 2023. The board discussed Newman’s evaluation in executive session Dec. 14, finding that he met or exceeded expectations in every category, despite the unprecedented challenges of running the school district during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Though the COVID-19 virus and the ramifications of the pandemic have slowed our progress, the district continues to move forward in a safe and steady manner,” said board chairman Warren Jeffords. “The education of our children is not being pushed aside in these difficult times, and Dr. Newman has seen to it that we do not lose our focus,” Jeffords said. “He has made some very difficult decisions but has always made them with the safety of students and employees as the top priority. “The board thanks Dr. Newman for his leadership in these unprecedented times. And we look forward to continuing to work together to improve the education of our students in Darlington County.” Newman said: “I would like to thank the board for the work we have done collaboratively, and I look forward to many more years working together for the families of our district. We have a lot of work to get done. “I appreciate the board and all the hard work they do. And I thank them for entrusting me with the role of superintendent of our district. I would also like to thank all our employees. It’s been a difficult year, but together, we have persevered in our efforts to serve our students and our community.” The COVID pandemic slammed the school district in March, when Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a shutdown of all S.C. public schools. The district countered with a totally online education system that originally was intended for use only in short bursts, such as when a hurricane or winter storm might force school closings. Darlington County public schools reopened in September under a triple tier of education methods. Elementary school students are being taught in classrooms full-time; middle- and high-schoolers are dividing their time between in-person and online classes; and thousands of students have opted for the district’s Virtual Academy, a full-time online-education system. The school board evaluated Newman in seven areas: Relationship with the school committee/Board of Education, community relations, superintendent/staff relationships, business and finance, leadership, personal traits and leadership goals/job targets. The board found that Newman either met or exceeded expectations in all those areas.