Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greenville's Fisher to retire after career serving students

Here's the resume of a ready-made state superintendent of education:

Knowing early in life that she wanted to build a career in public education, she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.

She built her professional career in the classroom, teaching children, between 1969 and 1986.

She became a principal, then an associate superintendent for a growing metropolitan school district, spending a combined ten years in the two positions.

From there, she became assistant superintendent for middle school education in the state's largest school district, then deputy superintendent and chief of staff, serving in these positions for eight years.

Finally, she was named superintendent of the same district and led successfully there for seven more years.

All the while, she continued to earn graduate and post-graduate degrees and credits.

Along the way, she gained the respect and admiration of her peers, collecting their nominations for various local, regional, state and national awards, and winning many of these honors.

Through serving her community, she promoted various other organizations and garnered their own accolades: the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club, the state Future Farmers of America.

This, certainly, is the equipment carried by an effective, competent, capable and knowledgeable candidate for State Superintendent of Education.

Unfortunately, Greenville County Superintendent Phinnize Fisher is not running for that office; she is retiring. Greenville's loss is South Carolina's loss.

Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher announced Wednesday afternoon that she plans to retire within the next year.

“I have deliberated and struggled with when is the best possible time for me to step aside as superintendent,” said Fisher. “Leaders make hard decisions and after careful thought, I have made the very difficult decision to prepare for retirement.”

“I am proud of the work that we have accomplished. We have achieved many great things that will sustain Greenville County Schools for years to come. We have a culture within the District of being open and honest, transparent, collaborative, and inclusive. I am confident that the next superintendent will sustain this momentum and continue to improve our school district through creative and innovative ideas.”

“The many accomplishments that we have achieved during the past seven years would not have been possible without the hard work and expertise of our dedicated teachers, administrators, and support staff. I am honored to have worked with them. The community has also played an integral role in making Greenville County Schools a better place to learn. I also want to thank the Board of Trustees for providing support and leadership during my time as superintendent and for this amazing opportunity to lead Greenville County Schools.”

School Board Chairman Roger Meek said,“The School District of Greenville County has accomplished much during Dr. Fisher’s tenure as district superintendent and she will be greatly missed on both a professional and personal basis. The School Board greatly appreciates her leadership, especially during some of the most difficult financial times in our state and school district. She has had a positive impact on the Greenville County community, and made a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of students, teachers, staff, and parents. She is an extraordinary leader and an even better person.”

Fisher has demonstrated her worth to the educators and parents of Greenville County. She assumed her role at a difficult time in the district's history, and she proved a steady guide.

Accomplishments under her leadership include improvements in student achievement, district-wide national accreditation, completion of the BEST School Construction Program and development of the follow-up Long Range Facilities and Capital Improvement Plan, opening of the state’s first elementary school with a fully integrated engineering curriculum, expansion of choice programs that provide opportunities for learning while recognizing the important role of extracurricular activities in developing an individual’s full potential, and establishment of the Greenville County Schools Foundation.

Congratulations, Dr. Fisher. Yours is a tremendous story. May your retirement be long and productive.

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