During my almost 9 years serving as a Trustee, the District has faced many challenges and achieved numerous successes while the student population we serve grew an astounding 77%, even through years of economic recession. Many hard choices were made including massive budget cuts, personnel cuts, program cuts/adds, hiring a new superintendent, administrative restructuring, school enrollment freezes, realignment of attendance zones at both the elementary and middle school levels, and the list goes on. Much effort has been expended working with our local and state legislators trying to improve operational funding, revising school start date legislation, weather make-up day legislation, and many more topics of concern to FMSD operations.

Challenges were met and successes were achieved including meeting capacity needs through three successful bond referendums, commissioning of three new elementary schools and two middle schools, a new District Office and Bus/Maintenance facility to better serve the growing population, numerous state and national titles and other student accolades, significant expansion of our student special services and support system, increased campus security, reinstating certain programs cut due to the 2010 budget crisis, and the list goes on…

Most recently, we implemented the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) program initiative across all grade levels. This is a huge step forward for FMSD in meeting the challenges of providing a 21st century workforce that meets the Profile of the SC Graduate.

Some of the challenges we still face include maintaining low pupil/teacher ratios in light of decreasing operational funds (per student), balancing school attendance zones with growth hot spots, increasing focus on CATE offerings, meeting the changing needs of employers to supply a work-ready 21st Century workforce, and adequate teacher support from the district level to better enable our teachers to focus on teaching. Though our district performs well overall, there still exists achievement gaps among portions of our student population that we must not lose sight of addressing and reducing.