South Carolina’s elected schools chief Molly Spearman will take office in January with a new team of deputies.
Two of Republican Spearman’s aides, like her, are former state government officials who worked in Democratic administrations.
Spearman has tapped Betsy Carpentier to be her chief of staff at the S.C. Department of Education, her transition team announced Wednesday.
Carpentier directed the S.C. Department of Revenue under Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges from 1999 to 2003. She then worked in the Education Department from 2003-11 mostly as a deputy superintendent for school innovation for Democrats Inez Tenenbaum and Jim Rex and, briefly, for outgoing Republican superintendent Mick Zais.
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Spearman was a deputy superintendent under Tenenbaum when Carpentier came to the agency. The pair worked at the agency for about a year before Spearman left for a job at the S.C. Association of School Administrators, where she is the outgoing executive director.
Carpentier, of Columbia, graduated first in her class from the University of South Carolina School of Law and later worked for 19 years in private practice before Hodges appointed her to his cabinet.
Also joining Spearman’s team is Julie Gore Fowler, an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Greenwood 51 school district. She holds a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Clemson.
Also expected to join Spearman is Angela Bain, a human resources officer for Lexington-Richland 5 school district, education consultant, and former education department director of teacher induction and evaluation.
Fowler and Bain are expected to become two of Spearman’s deputies.
The agency’s third deputy superintendent position currently is vacant. Spearman hopes to announce that position soon, said Ryan Brown, a spokesman with Spearman’s transition team.
Zais’s chief operating officer Scott English and deputy superintendents Nancy Busbee and Cindy Van Buren will leave the agency, Brown said.
Zais appointed Van Buren to run the education department’s school effectiveness divison in February. Van Buren replaced Meka Childs, who resigned to run for state schools chief and lost in the June GOP primary.