The Horry County Board of Education is planning to elect an interim superintendent during its regular meeting Monday, but has no immediate plans to launch a search for a new leader, according to Chairman Joe DeFeo.
That doesn’t mean the district doesn’t intend to hire a new chief, he said.
“I believe, in this case, we need to take it one step at a time,” DeFeo said. “To start a search now, when we have a very capable interim, seems unreasonable.”
DeFeo said he couldn’t name who the interim superintendent will be, since it’s up to the board as a whole.
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“But I think, come Monday, we’ll all agree on the same person,” DeFeo said.
Dr. Rick Maxey is the current deputy superintendent for Horry County Schools.
Superintendent Cindy Elsberry resigned from her position on Monday night, at least two years before the expiration of her contract. The Board of Education accepted her decision during an executive session.
Elsberry has 21 days from Monday’s announcement to sign a resignation agreement between board and superintendent, said Teal Harding, district spokeswoman. Harding said the superintendent then has seven days to revoke her decision after signing the agreement.
Elsberry has not released a statement about why she resigned and has not returned calls or responded to requests for comment. Harding said Elsberry is remaining silent because the resignation agreement is still pending.
“During this time, it would be inadvisable for either party to discuss this agreement or any information leading to the superintendent’s resignation,” Harding said. “I would expect that she will say little to nothing even when the window passes.”
It’s unclear how much Elsberry will be compensated after retirement but DeFeo said those numbers will be announced once the resignation agreement is final.
“At the appropriate time, we’ll release how much she may or may not be getting,” DeFeo said.
Elsberry has been superintendent of the school district — the third largest in the state since — 2008. Her contract was through 2017. She currently makes $215,414.
Not many superintendents leave their contracts early, but it does happen, according to James Minichello, spokesman for AASA, the school superintendents association.
“It doesn’t happen often, but it’s not unusual,” Minichello said. “It’ll be interesting to see what Horry County does.”
He said a superintendent search’s cost and timeframe depends on each individual district and the search process they use. Some districts decide to hire a search firm, some place advertisements in educational periodicals and some hire a current employee to fulfill the position, Minichello said.
“Hiring from the inside could bring the cost of a search down, but it depends on the district,” he said.
Elsberry’s last day will be Dec. 31, 2014, but she has agreed to perform consulting services for the District as may be requested by the Board for the remainder of the school year. Her consulting fees will be made public along with the resignation agreement, DeFeo said.
“We are the number one county-by-county school district in South Carolina, and both the school board and Dr. Elsberry is committed to keeping it that way in the future,” DeFeo said. “That’s why the board asked her to stay on as a consultant, and that’s why she agreed.”