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Hefner named state’s top superintendent


Lexington-Richland 5 superintendent, Stephen Hefner, has been named state Superintendent of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.

He becomes the first superintendent in the state to receive the honor twice after winning the award in 2002.

“Dr. Hefner is a proven leader and consummate professional,” said Elizabeth “Beth” A. Phibbs, executive director of SCASA. “His vision to transform Lexington-Richland School District Five into a nationally and internationally recognized school district is providing unique learning opportunities for his students. He is highly respected in his community and among his peers. We are delighted that he has been chosen for this honor.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree at Southeast Missouri State College, Hefner began his education career as a high school teacher in his home state of Missouri. He earned a master’s degree and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina.

In 1974, he began work as a guidance counselor at Spring Valley High School and in 1994 was named superintendent of Richland 2, where he served until 2010.

He became superintendent of Lexington-Richland 5 in January 2011.

“Dr. Hefner is a visionary who is completely focused on improving public schools so that they can best serve our children,” said Lexington-Richland 5 board chair Beth Hutchison. “He is constantly seeking new and better ways to educate and serve our students.”

Hefner has received numerous honors during his career, including the “Friend of Gifted Education” Award from the S. C. Consortium for Gifted/Talented Education in 1995 and the Educator of the Year award by the S.C. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development in 1997.

He was named “Distinguished Citizen of the Year” in 2003 by the local Boy Scouts of America. In 2009, Hefner received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in the state of South Carolina. He was named South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association Outstanding Superintendent in 2014.

Hefner will now compete for the 2016 National Superintendent of the Year award.