Candidate chosen as Florence District 4 Superintendent will not take position

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – After spending months searching for a new superintendent to lead Florence County School District 4, leaders say they are headed back to the drawing board.

Florence District 4 Interim Superintendent Dr. Zona Jefferson confirms the school board could not reach an "agreement" with the previously selected candidate, Dr. Fannie Mason. Dr. Jefferson says she was not in the executive session meeting, so she can't speak to exactly what was said or what challenges developed between the school board and Dr. Mason, but the board is moving on to other candidates.

"They did not come to a point of agreement," confirms Dr. Jefferson. "The board voted to consider the original candidates."

Dr. Mason was chosen as a finalist for the district's open superintendent role in mid-March. She was in the running with two other candidates, Dr. Rechel Anderson and Dr. Rosa Dingle.

During a meeting where the three finalists had an opportunity to meet and speak with parents and school staff, Dr. Mason said she would bring her love of children and education to a district that has had trouble keeping test scores up in the past.

"They have some struggles they've gone through, but I truly believe that they can't be defined by those struggles," said Mason in a March interview. "They can be defined by the greatness that actually lives within."

Dr. Mason was selected as Florence 4's superintendent April 4. She currently serves as the Director of Scotland County Schools Exceptional Children Program.

Following the announcement of her selection to lead the Timmonsville schools in April, Dr. Mason said she was excited for what the future holds for the students of Florence 4.

"[Florence School District Four] has a story I can learn from," Dr. Mason said in April. "I'm so excited to work in Florence Four and to lead this process."

News13 has reached out to Dr. Mason for her explanation as to why she will not move forward as the superintendent for Florence 4, but those phone calls have not yet been returned.

Dr. Jefferson says she does not expect the renewed search to take long.

"It's going to be a rapid process. I don't expect this to be long-term," predicts Dr. Jefferson. "Getting a superintendent and getting someone in place. So that by the start of the year, I would expect that they will have someone in place. That is just my speculation. I have not spoken with the board yet. They have not established a timeline."

The interim superintendent adds that there hasn't been a great concern for parents over the vacant role but more of a concentration of the big picture for the students.

"There is not that much emphasis on who the superintendent is going to be as long as they see a team working together and things are running smoothly," Dr. Jefferson states.

Despite the obstacles the district has faced over the past year and now with the extended search for a superintendent, Dr. Jefferson says the district has had some great successes as of late.

"We had so many exciting opportunities for our children. I am especially proud of our high school seniors they have all (49) been accepted in a two or four-year school," says Dr. Jefferson.

Representatives from the South Carolina Department of Education confirm Florence School District 4 has achieved accreditation for the 2016-2017 school year, with just one area of the district still being monitored by the state.

  • The Board of Trustees- accredited
  • Summer schools—accredited
  • Brockington Elementary- accredited
  • Johnson Middle- accredited
  • Timmonsville High- accredited
  • The district operations office- monitored/ probation – a staff member did not hold a SC teaching certificate

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