Aiken County’s loss is Orangeburg County’s gain.
Dr. Shawn Foster, chief officer of operation and student services for the Aiken County Public School District, was named the new superintendent of Orangeburg County Schools last week.
Before Foster started here in the summer of 2015, he attended a school board meeting and said he was impressed with the people, the district and the community.
Five years later, students, parents and colleagues can say the same thing about Foster.
Foster came to Aiken from the Spartanburg School District 7, where he was director of Student and Administrative Services.
During his tenure in Aiken, Foster oversaw several construction and renovation projects and laid a strong foundation for the district’s infrastructure for decades to come. School campuses were improved in all areas of the county thanks to the 1% sales tax referendum that was approved by voters.
Anyone who has built a home or had significant renovations done knows the importance of finishing on time and staying under budget. Foster accomplished those tasks on a much bigger scale, and that should bode well for the county going forward.
He also helped revise the Student Code of Conduct and made the district’s disciplinary data available online.
Foster worked under three different superintendents during his time in Aiken: Dr. Beth Everitt, who retired shortly after he came on board; Dr. Sean Alford, who resigned last fall; and King Laurence, the current superintendent.
“The Board Members of Orangeburg County Schools deserve high praise and commendation for selecting Dr. Foster as Superintendent,” Alford wrote in a tweet. “You have selected a talented and caring leader who will exceed your expectations at every turn.”
Laurence also was effusive in his praise.
"Orangeburg has selected an extraordinary leader to guide them through a critical transition in consolidating their community's public school districts," Laurence said.
Now Laurence and the Aiken County Board of Education have the difficult task of finding a replacement for Foster. In a statement, Foster said he would be rooting for Aiken County to stay on track and continue to succeed.
“I look forward to celebrating the continued success of Aiken County Public Schools and know that as one team, there is absolutely nothing that can’t be accomplished," he said.
It was inevitable that a person with Foster’s credentials would eventually land a superintendent’s job. We wish him well as he embarks on a new phase in his career.