Horry County Board of Education appoints new Conway, Aynor high schools principals

Two area high schools will be getting new principals for the 2015-16 school year.

Horry County Schools Board of Education unanimously appointed new principals for Conway and Aynor high schools Tuesday during a specially-called meeting.

Velna Allen, executive director of secondary education at the district, was named the new principal of Conway High School. Michael McCracken, assistant principal at Aynor High School, was named principal at Aynor.

Allen and McCracken will begin their new jobs July 1.

Allen replaces Steven Fitch, who will be the new student affairs lead hearing officer, said Teal Harding, district spokeswoman. Aynor High Principal Janet Lawrence-Patten will start a new job as a personnel specialist in the human resources department.

Lawrence-Patten, who will conduct investigations within the human resources department if needed, will also take over the duties of Mollie Laut. Laut, director of human resources, is retiring this year, Harding said.

Lawrence-Patten’s position technically falls under legal services, Harding said.

Allen started her teaching career at Conway High in 1982, moving to Carolina Forest High in 1998 and eventually becoming principal in 2000. She said she’s excited about returning to Conway after a 17 year absence.

“It’s like returning home again,” Allen said.

She said her first step is to meet with faculty and staff and figure out what changes need to be made to ensure academic success among students. She also wants to reintroduce the Conway community to “high school spirit.”

“We just need that revitalization of the spirit,” she said. “I know how much the community meant to the school back in 1982, and I’d like to see it grow again.”

Most of Allen’s district duties will be spread among other learning services staff, according to Rick Maxey, superintendent. There is no plan to fill her position and the district may hire a part time position to help with the work, Maxey said.

The district will put out a call for the assistant principal position at Aynor High, Maxey said.

Joe DeFeo, board chairman, said part of the reason the board called a special meeting was to give the newly-appointed principals time to meet with faculty and staff before they leave for the summer.

The early appointment also gives Allen and McCracken time to prepare for the 60-hour a week career.

“A principal does not have much of a personal life for about 10 months,” DeFeo said. “It’s beyond a full-time job.”

The board also unanimously appointed Diane Thompson, Socastee Elementary School principal, director of instruction for federal programs. She is not replacing anyone in the district, Maxey said.

The position of Socastee Elementary principal will be listed online soon as well, he said.

The meeting, held at Early College High School before their graduation ceremony, lasted four minutes.

Contact CLAIRE BYUN at 626-0381 and follow her on Twitter @Claire_TSN.