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The 2013-14 school year will start early for the area’s sixth- and eighth-graders when they head to school for orientation Friday, Aug. 16, but this week’s past Lancaster County School District orientation was all about new employees.
In all, approximately 110 new district employees, from teachers to maintenance staff, gathered at the Lancaster Golf Club’s Fairway Room to get acquainted with Lancaster County and its school district.
Meanwhile, the school board Thursday morning appointed three new assistant principals at two Lancaster schools.
Lancaster County School District Human Resources Director Gwendolyn Connor said there were some new positions in this year’s hires, though the vast majority were hired to fill the existing positions of employees who retired or moved on.
The fact that the new hires represent a good balance of demographics, gender, ages and experiences, Connor said, is an example of the district’s dedication to the county and its students.
“One, I think that (balance) speaks volumes about the district’s efforts to get the best educations before the students to help them grow into productive citizens,” Connor said. “And two, it speaks volumes about the mix of experiences and new ideas.
“So I think parents should feel good about that,” she said.
This year’s crop of new hires includes educators who moved to the Lancaster County School District from other school districts and states, including at least one each from Arizona and Upstate New York.
Several, such as new Andrew Jackson High School theater arts teacher Katrina Bernsdorff, are returning teachers who previously worked for the district.
Bernsdorff graduated from Lancaster High School and began her career at South Middle School more than 15 years ago before moving to Berkeley County School District.
She said though she moved home to Lancaster County to be closer to her family, Lancaster County’s student-centered focus was a distinct draw for her. A lot has changed for the better over all those years, she said.
“When I was in high school there was one drama class,” Bernsdorff said.
“Now there’s a whole school focused on the arts. That’s great!”
During the morning and early afternoon orientation, the group not only filled out paper work and went over school district policy, expectations and other information related to their new jobs, they got a chance to see a little bit of Lancaster County too.
On the list: Lancaster’s Native American Studies Center, USCL, Springs Memorial Hospital, the Lancaster County Courthouse and Founders Federal Credit Union headquarters, among others.
“A lot of the new employees are not from Lancaster and we wanted to just give them an idea of what our community is like and some of the great things going on here,” said David Knight, public information director for Lancaster County School District.
“They really seemed enthusiastic and I think they’ll do a great job for our children.”
New assistant principals
Lancaster County school board members also approved the appointments of three new assistant principals, Michelle Burton and Cory Hyslop at North Elementary and Paul Crenshaw at Lancaster High School.
Burton has served North Elementary as a teacher since 2000, most recently as the school’s specialized MPASS math teacher. Hyslop comes to the school district from Oakdale Elementary in Rock Hill, where he was a fifth-grade math and science teacher.
Burton and Hyslop will fill positions vacated by former Assistant Principal Keishea Mickles, who was appointed to North Elementary principal in July, and former principal Sarah Deason, who moved to an assistant principal position at Buford Middle School.
Former Lancaster High School career center department head Paul Crenshaw will move to an assistant principal position at the school.
A 23-year veteran mechanical drawing teacher, Crenshaw replaces former LHS Assistant Principal Chris Thorpe, who takes the helm this year at Indian Land Middle School.
Contact reporter Reece Murphy
at (803) 283-1151