FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — When you think of a remarkable woman in the community, you may think of a trail blazer, someone breaking barriers and setting an example for others.
Florence School District 2 Board of Trustee, Mona Lisa Andrews embodies those characteristics. Her hard work and dedication have impacted Florence County and changed voter laws there.
Andrews is a product of Florence County. She knew from a very young age she wanted to make a difference in her community.
“I am the first black woman to be elected to the Board of Trustees of Florence School District 2 since the schools inception and so I say to all of our students to never ever put a limit on what you think you can do,” Andrews stressed.
The voters of Florence elected Andrews to the school board in 2007.
“When I first joined the school board we were the only school district in South Carolina and at that time there were 85 school districts. We were the only school districted that voted for the Board of Trustees for one hour,” Andrews said.
Andrews knew voters only having an hour to cast their ballot for the Board of Trustees, wasn’t conducive to the voting process. She says elections are designed to enhance participation, not suppress it.
In return, she drafted up legislation and rallied for the board to change it.
“I was elected in 2007 and in 2009 we started voting 12 hours from 7am to 7pm and that has certainly enhanced voter participation,” Andrews explained.
That move set the tone for what Andrews would accomplish in the future.
Andrews’ educational background
Andres comes from humble beginnings. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Limestone University, a Masters of Public Administration with a minor in Human Resources from American University and an Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies.
She is now a paralegal with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’ve always said service is the rent we pay for living and for me service is not about image, it’s not about Mona Lisa, it’s about helping mankind,” Andrews explained.
Her mentor was the late Judge Taft Guile, who passed away January 2021.
Andrews’ community service
Her most rewarding job is mentoring youth through her school district and her church, Millbranch African Methodist Episcopal Church.
She serves as the children’s ministry director.
“You know you’re making a difference when you can look at your community or you can look at a young person who started on this track and then you look a year or two later and that person is doing so much different,” Andrews said.
In 2016, she started the adopt a pilot program in Florence school district 2 for her students. The program involves a pilot from Southwest Airlines who teaches 5th graders the basics of flying.
“We had a commencement for all the students that participated and just a wonderful experience so we never know how that experience could lead those students to become pilots or move into areas of stem,” Andrews shared.
She also took a group of children to tour the Governor’s mansion for Christmas. She’s also taken them to debates and to the South Carolina Capitol for a live Senate Session.
“Engaging them in politics, teaching them early, learning what it means to vote and how important that is,” Andrews said.