EASLEY — Anita Richardson has her finger on the pulse of McKissick Elementary School.
As Assistant Principal, nothing in or around that campus escapes her notice. So when she was named South Carolina’s Assistant Principal of the Year, she should have seen it coming.
Instead, she was the last to know.
“Everyone knew. Just, everyone,” Richardson said, laughing. “The district knew, Principal Mohr knew, my family knew. Seriously, my daughter knew and she can’t keep a secret from anyone. Everyone kept this secret from me. I had no idea.”
Richardson was named the South Carolina Assistant Principal of the Year by the S.C. Association of School Administrators after SCASA Executive Director Beth Phibbs presented her with the award at school on Dec. 7.
Richardson was nominated by Gary Mohr, the principal of McKissick.
“I knew I had made the finals because I went to Columbia for the interview, but I really thought that’s as far as it would go,” said Richardson. “I came back and I told the boss man (Mohr) ‘I blew it’ (the interview).”
When Mohr found out Richardson had won, he kept it to himself and decided to make the presentation a surprise.
“She (Richardson) deserves it, she works so hard and is always shunning the credit,” said Mohr. “Teachers, kids, parents — everyone loves her. She is an all-around positive influence for McKissick. We’re lucky to have her.”
Richardson began her teaching career after graduating with a master’s degree from Clemson University. She spent 15 years as a teacher at Six Mile Elementary School and six years teaching at Dacusville Elementary School before getting “the call.”
“Mr. Mohr was the assistant principal here, at McKissick. He had been for seven years. After the state report cards came out that year, they (the district) made a change.”
McKissick Elementary had just received an “F” on the state report card.
“He (Mohr) was moved up and I was offered the assistant position,” said Richardson. “It all happened very fast. We didn’t know each other, we were both thrown in with 36 hours notice. They (the district) called me on a Monday, and I started Wednesday morning.”
With the changes in place, one year later, McKissick had gone from an “F” to a “B.”
“Our culture is changing here and to see that and to know that you’re a part of that — it’s amazing. But I could not have done it without Mr. Mohr,” said Richardson.
“We have a great school here,” Richardson said and smiled. “Our teachers, kids, parents, staff — everyone is involved in making McKissick not just a school but part of the community.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.