Talk about scary. The goons and goblins are out for sure, or they were yesterday, all eight of them on the CCSD school board who voted to “accept” the resignation they strong-armed Dr. Nancy McGinley into tendering. I haven’t egged anyone’s house on Halloween since…well, since never, but I’m tempted to trek out to Elizabeth Moffley’s Awendaw pad tonight with a carton full, free-range and locally sourced.
For the record: Nancy McGinley has been the steadiest, strongest, and most capable anchor that our otherwise unwieldy, underperforming, and catawampus district of 84 schools scattered across 1,000 square miles has had in recent memory.
For the record: The school board is a joke and an utter embarrassment.
Nancy McGinley is not perfect, and yes, the recent events at Academic Magnet would get a D (disaster) on any report card related to how to manage a racially-charged tinderbox, or how to interrogate students fairly and appropriately, or how not to blow a truly insignificant event totally out of proportion. But McGinley’s head should not roll. Far from it. I say this as an AMHS parent who is indebted to Dr. McGinley and her team for giving our kids excellent facilities, well-trained faculty, a challenging curriculum, and high standards. This has nothing to do with watermelon or a football coach.
I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. McGinley for a Charleston Magazine feature profile seven years ago when she was just stepping in to the superintendent role. I asked her why she would want this impossible job, why she’d set herself up for the daily headaches of dealing with disgruntled and demanding parents and the daily heartaches of students who show up to school with bruises and no breakfast, with no one at home to read to them or check their homework. Why battle constant budget shortfalls and South Carolina loonies who think creationism and abstinence should be part of the curriculum? Why work 70-hour weeks to “strive for excellence” when our common core in these parts is uncommonly mediocre regarding public education?
Because, she said, “It’s about the kids.” Because, she said, she wakes up every morning remembering the face of a child who rose above an impoverished, despairing home situation because of a teacher who really cared for him. Because her own parents taught her lessons about equal opportunity, fairness, the value of hard work, and reaching high. McGinley’s heart and intellect is in it for the students. Period.
Nancy McGinley’s accomplishments in raising the bar for CCSD are unprecedented in this district. Unfortunately, the school board’s political inanity is far too precedented. The only way this Halloween horror story has a less spooky ending is for us to pull a Walpole. For Nancy McGinley to get rehired once the current school board goons get ousted on Tuesday. Until then, we all have egg on our face.