Sumter County BOE votes on interim superintendent and face coverings

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, September 9, 2021

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The Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) voted to name Walter Knighton as Interim Superintendent for Sumter County Schools (SCS). Chairman Rick Barnes describes the job as serving to “bridge the gap” between superintendents. Barnes expressed confidence in Knighton’s ability, however he does not feel “it is fair” to ask Knighton to serve as interim superintendent as well as carry the responsibilities of his current job. While Barnes endorses Knighton’s skills as strong, he feels it puts the students in a vulnerable position by splitting Knighton’s energies between two positions. Barnes remarked on Knighton’s crucial role in the student’s learning, and with seeing a large “learning loss” over the past year due to COVID-19, he feels Knighton’s role is all the more imperative to the mission of educating Sumter County students. The motion passed, with Patricia Harris, Vincent Kearse, Carolyn Hamilton and Abbis Bivins voting in favor of asking Knighton to take on the role. Barnes, Jim Reid and Sylvia Roland voted against assigning the responsibility to Mr. Knighton.

Knighton made a recommendation SCS extend the face coving mandate for all persons on SCS property until January  31, 2022. Knighton reports based upon the data he has collected along with SCS health partners, he feels this is the safest target date for termination of the requirement. However, he will keep his finger on the pulse of the situation and reserves the right to recommend the mandate be eliminated prior to January. The recommendation passed with Harris, Kearse, Bivins and Hamilton voting in favor of the recommendation and Barnes, Reid and Roland voting against the recommendation.