PICKENS COUNTY — Following a positive annual evaluation, the School District of Pickens County’s board of trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract for SDPC superintendent Danny Merck through 2022 — with a 4 percent salary increase.
“We feel strongly that Dr. Merck has our district going in the right direction,” Dr. Brian Swords, SDPC board chairman, said in a statement after the vote. “Dr. Merck’s approach to leadership has resulted in a very positive culture in our district. His ability to form partnerships and rekindle relationships with other entities across the county has been a tremendous asset, not only the school system, but the county as a whole.
“His support of our teachers, staff and administrators, along with his commitment to seeing the children in our county succeed by reaching their educational goals is beyond compare, continued Swords. “His vision to establish two magnet schools — the Central Academy of the Arts and the McKissick Academy of Science & Technology — will continue to distinguish the Pickens County School District as a leader in our state and region.”
Deciding factors in the board’s decision included the percentage of SDPC students eligible for LIFE/Palmetto Scholars scholarships exceeding the state average in 2017; the fact that the number of students in AP courses continues to increase; SDPC’s composite average on the ACT and SAT exceed state averages in 2017 and 90 percent of students taking the Workkeys testing received a certificate bronze or higher while 70 percent received silver and above.
Also mentioned was the competitive results among all grade level on SCPASS and SCREADY assessments and the district-wide graduation rate increasing to 84 percent last year — the highest graduation rate in the history of the district.
“These milestone accomplishments are the calculated outcome of Dr. Merck’s strategic road map and vision for our district, implemented by an excellent teaching staff and leadership team,” Swords said. “We are fortunate to have a leader like Dr. Merck at the helm of our school system. The board looks forward to working with him to continue to accomplish our district goals for many years to come!”
“I am extremely excited to receive a contract extension and a positive evaluation in this great school district,” Merck said. “We have a completely different perspective with the upcoming accreditation visit from AdvancED next fall due to the teamwork throughout the district from the schools to the board room. We recognize that continuous improvement is expected in high performing organizations as we start planning for our accreditation review. The area we are currently addressing is a lack of diversity in leadership positions in the district. We will remain focused on providing an environment that builds teaching and learning by building on our strengths and improving the areas that are weak.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.