ABBEVILLE — Julie Fowler has been named to lead Abbeville County schools as its next superintendent.
School trustees voted 6-3 after a two-hour, closed-door session on Monday to name the district’s chief administrator to the top post for the next two years. Fowler has been running the day-to-day business of the district since Superintendent Betty Jo Hall died Thursday in a wreck.
Fowler’s hiring by the board is subject to both parties’ approval of a contract. After a second closed-door session, the board voted unanimously to have the district’s attorney, Andrea White, prepare a contract reflecting the terms and conditions agreed upon by the board and Fowler.
David Brooks, Keith Dunn and Buster Taylor voted against hiring Fowler. All three said they would have preferred she serve on an interim basis so the board could conduct a superintendent search.
“It’s important for our district to move forward,” Vice Chairman Brad Evans said in response. “Knowing what (Hall’s) practice was, always hiring the best employee for the job — I think that’s the decision this board is making. The best person for this job is Dr. Fowler.”
Before joining Abbeville County School District, Fowler served as the deputy state superintendent for college- and career-readiness in South Carolina and as assistant superintendent at Greenwood County School District 51.
Friday afternoon, Fowler said she had “mixed emotions.” In recent years, she was a finalist for superintendent positions in Greenwood County school districts 50 and 52. But, she added, “No one wants to go into a superintendency on the heels of the loss of a great leader.”
Fowler said she has no plans to chart a brand new course for the district.
“I’ve been here for two years, I know the vision (and) the board was looking for someone to stay the course,” Fowler said.
Meanwhile, at Wright Middle School, mental health counselors and ministers were on hand from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students, parents, faculty, staff and residents.