The Buzz

February 4, 2014

ELECTION 2014: S.C. Department of Education deputy to enter race for schools' chief

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

Charmeka "Meka" Childs, a deputy superintendent with the state Department of Education, will announce Wednesday her bid for the Republican nomination for state schools' chief.

Childs resigned Friday from her position as deputy superintendent of school effectiveness, a campaign spokesman said.

The Blythewood resident has worked under the state's Republican schools' chief Mick Zais, overseeing the development of a complicated, data-intensive evaluation system for teachers and principals that has been Zais' chief focus.

Childs, 36, said if elected she would "focus on improving the effectiveness and quality of instruction that our teachers offer. That is something that is an important part of preparing our students for what they will face when they leave high school."

Childs also said that ensuring the state's resources are used responsibly, encouraging community engagement in public schools, and "strengthening quality of instruction that each child receives, each day, regardless of income," will be other priorities if she is elected.

A native of South Carolina, Childs moved from Saluda to Lexington as a child, and attended Lexington 2 schools and graduated from Airport High School, where her teachers prepared her for the challenges she faces after high school, she said.

Childs said she hopes that every public school student in the state could feel the same way when they graduate.

Childs' work experience largely has been in public policy. She graduated from Duke University, earning a bachelor's degree in history and a master's in public policy.

Childs worked for four years at Dent Middle School, teaching social studies and coaching basketball, before working for then-Gov. Mark Sanford as his education policy adviser.

Prior to joining Zais at the state Department of Education, Childs worked for the S.C. Business and Industry Political Education Committee as the director of legislative and political analysis.

Childs joins five other Republicans who have announced plans to run for the seat.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct an error in Childs' last day at the S.C. Department of Education. Her last day was Friday. The Education Department provided the wrong day.

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