BCSD Board Fires Superintendent, in-house counsel

Pictured: Former Superintendent Deon Sanders attends the BCSD board meeting on Tuesday night where members voted to end his job. Jackson had served as superintendent since July 2021.

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC — Tensions were high at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, with most board members voting to terminate the employment of Dr. Tiffany Richardson, in-house general counsel for the BERKELEY County School District. Berkeley and BCSD Superintendent Deon Jackson.

The board voted 6 to 3 to fire Richardson and Jackson in separate motions.

David Barrow, Crystal Wigfall and Yvonne Bradley opposed the layoffs.

The shooting took some people in the audience by surprise and prompted others to leave the meeting.

“How dare you,” one person said.

Richardson was the first BCSD employee to be fired from a job during the regular meeting. She left the school board meeting after the vote.

Along with Richardson’s termination, board members Michael Ramsey, Mac McQuillin, Joe Baker, Kathy Littleton, Jimmy Hinson and Sally Wofford voted to retain the legal services of Brandon Gaskins, a Moore & Van Allen attorney, with immediate effect.

The three board members who opposed Richardson’s dismissal demanded to know the reason and questioned the costs associated with replacing him.

“You want to tell me that you are giving up a package? It makes no sense to an ordinary person like me. Coming into the street, money matters,” Bradley said at the board meeting.

“He charges $375 an hour. Now it’s part time. We’re not talking about an in-house general counsel who’s a full-time employee at $145,000 a year,” Barrow said at the meeting as he then proceeded to pull out a stack of bills.

“These are front and back bills for legal fees that total $1.6 million at a monthly cost of an average of $25,946.84,” Barrow continued. “The legal fees that Dr. Richardson receives at $145,000 per year are $11,066 – a difference of $14,000 per month. So, if we are talking about fiscal responsibility, where is it now? »

Throughout the meeting, board chairman McQuillin repeatedly tried to silence the audience. In response to board members who opposed Richardson’s firing, he said he was “not going to discuss personnel matters” in a public meeting.

After Richardson was fired, with Superintendent Jackson seated next to him, McQuillin brought a motion to terminate his employment with immediate effect, again drawing criticism from Barrow, Wigfall and Bradley.

“I have not been informed of any of these resolutions or recommendations. It is unbelievable that on the first night of a new board such things come up. Amazing,” Bradley said.

Pictured: Tuesday night’s school board meeting ahead of the board’s motion to fire Superintendent Deon Jackson (pictured middle with hand on chin)

“I would like to know the justification and reasoning for firing an individual who was competent in his first annual evaluation?” Barrow, the board member most opposed to the layoffs, was questioned.

“It’s a travesty. If the superintendent. If the superintendent is fired, for what cause? If they’re going to fire the superintendent, why not have a superintendent searched for?” he continued. “It’s a sham. It’s a political stunt. It’s an absolute parody. I am absolutely embarrassed to be on this board.

Again, McQuillin said he would “not discuss personnel matters” in a public session and tried to play down some of the criticism coming from audience members.

“At the end of the day, we must respectfully disagree and set a good example for our people,” he said.

After his firing, Jackson got up from his chair and walked out the back door as the meeting was still in progress.

Pictured: Dr Anthony Dixon, BCSD’s new superintendent

In a 6-to-1 vote, the board voted to appoint Anthony Dixon as the new superintendent of BCSD and authorized him to hire a new assistant superintendent and director of studies.

“Dr. Dixon has broad and diverse leadership experience, particularly as a proven academic leader who has focused on rebuilding education systems in need,” McQuillin said in a press release. “Dr. Dixon also has a history with Berkeley County and the Berkeley County School District. He has built invaluable relationships with employees and community members over the years, and this will be paramount to the success of the district as we continue to make improvements in all areas of academic achievement and student success. students.

Barrow was the only one to oppose the motion. Wigfall and Bradley did not vote. They left their seats following the motion to fire Jackson.

According to the school district, Dixon returned to Berkeley County after his service as chief of schools for the Charleston County School District. Previously, Dr. Dixon served the Berkeley County School District as Director of Curriculum and Innovation and as Administrative Director of School Services (Secondary Schools).

Previously, he served as Executive Director of Studies and Innovation as well as Director of Sanders-Clyde and the Memminger School of Global Studies. He was principal of Philip Simmons Secondary School, Philip Simmons Middle School and Cainhoy Elementary School. He was also a vice principal at Daniel Island School and Boulder Bluff Elementary School, and a special education teacher at St. Stephen and Memminger Elementary Schools.

“Berkeley County is my home, and I am honored to receive a call to serve the students, staff, and communities that I care deeply about,” Dixon said. “Leading the students, staff, families and communities of Berkeley County is the pinnacle of a lifetime of service in education and a dream come true. I know my transition will need to be both thoughtful and deliberate, and I am committed to doing the work that needs to be done to ensure our district is focused on our students and supports our staff so they can serve. and lead the schools. and students well.

Dixon earned his Ed.D. and Ed.S. degrees from South Carolina State University, Master of Arts in Special Education Teaching: Learning and Emotional Disorders from the University of Charleston, and a BS from the College of Charleston.

Dixon is also active in the Berkeley County community, serving as Chairman of the Moncks Corner Panhellenic Council, Polemarch of the Moncks Corner Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and as a Board Member and Director of Christian Education at Mount Zion AME Church. , Charleston, South Carolina.


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