School board addressing accreditation concerns

February 11, 2014

The Board is committed to responding constructively to the concerns noted in the AdvancED report dated Jan. 19, 2014. The concerns noted are in the area of Board management or governance.

Initially, the Board must stress to all parents, students, educators, and members of the community that the AdvancED team recommended maintaining the District’s accreditation for an additional five years. In fact, the AdvancED report acknowledges that Pickens County has dedicated teachers, administrators, staff, students and parents, not to mention significant community support, all of which have resulted in increasing and sustained student achievement. However, the AdvancED team did note several areas of concerns that warrant further attention.

As such, the Board is working with a noted facilitator and consultant, Dr. Wayne “Dempsey” Worner, former dean of the School of Education at Virginia Tech. Dr. Worner not only has over 50 years of experience as a teacher, coach, administrator, superintendent, professor and dean of a major collegiate program, but he has worked successfully with numerous school boards in the southeast to address “best practices” and Board governance issues; he is a noted educator, speaker and contributor to the public debate regarding education issues.

Dr. Worner’s life-long passion, as evidenced by his career and successes, is strengthening and stabilizing public educational opportunities in all areas. Dr. Worner has worked extensively with a variety of school boards — small, large, rural, urban, and everything in between — to ensure that their focus remains at all times on student achievement and that they do not become distracted by outside issues.

With the assistance of Dr. Worner and legal counsel, the Board is addressing in a practical manner the concerns noted by AdvancED and developing a course of action to improve Board governance. All Board members are committed to improving the operations of our system of governance and we assure the community that we will solicit and accept input from all citizens, as we acknowledge the importance of public education to our society. As Board members we will not shirk our responsibilities as we address this important need to better integrate the overall leadership of the educational effort in our county.

Again, the Board understands that accreditation is vitally important for our students, teachers, and community and all members are actively working to address the concerns noted by AdvancED. The Board will keep the public informed as the process to address the concerns noted by AdvancED continues.

Alex Saitta

Chairman, Board of Trustees

School District of Pickens County

Kelly Pew


School District of Pickens County