ALLENDALE, SC (WFXG) -
The Allendale County School District has received its fair share of scrutiny from parents and the state over the years. It’s been put on a state of emergency twice from the state meaning the state lost confidence the district can educate its students.
But the latest superintendent who’s been on the job since last summer is working to change that.
Dr. Margaret Gilmore brings more than 30 years of experience to the Allendale County School District. She’s calls this her biggest challenge yet, but that challenge is quickly turning into results.
"There is a purpose and a plan as to the reason I am in Allendale County Schools”, she says.
When Dr. Margaret Gilmore took the position as Superintendent, she knew she had to have a different plan to receive different results.
“It’s going to take the churches, the industries. Just the community at large to help move the academic needle.”
That 3-year plan included recruiting and retaining quality teachers, increase student achievement and asking the businesses for help, something she says hasn’t been done before.
“The businesses are saying yes we’ll partner with you, we’ll make that happen. We want our community to grow, we want to be involved in education in Allendale,” she says.
Just 7 months into the role, changes are happening. Two schools were removed from the list of performing at 10% or lower. Allendale Fairfax High moved from the bottom 5% academically to the bottom 10%.
“I knew it can happen, I’ve seen it happen before. It takes a village to help ensure these kids are successful,” says Dr. Gilmore.
But she says it starts at the top. Whether it’s providing consistent professional development workshops for school officials, to being more transparent with the community.
“We didn’t have that positive, trusting relationship. I don’t know if they felt like we were capable of educating their children,” she says.
Dr. Gilmore says she has a vision for the district to be in the top 10% of academics in the state. A goal she can’t accomplish by herself but with the help of partnerships, teachers and the community.