Lexington 1 superintendent earns ‘outstanding’ rating, contract extension

Lexington 1 school board members raved about Superintendent Greg Little’s performance at his annual review, and they like his 2018-2019 leadership so much they tacked another year on to his contract.

Little, who is the public face of and oversees the largest school district in Lexington County, became superintendent of Lexington 1 in 2016 and can now remain in his position until June 30, 2025.

The board voted after an executive session performance review to increase Little’s salary by $5,269, to $214,751 yearly. Little was also rewarded for his “outstanding performance” with a 1% increase to his yearly annuity contribution, bringing it up to 9% of his annual salary, according to the district.

Board members applauded Little for being “particularly effective” at implementing a general fund budget that included a 4% pay raise for certain eligible and certified employees, which helped bring starting teachers’ salaries in the district to $35,991, a news release from Lexington 1 said. South Carolina lawmakers approved extra money for teacher pay raises in the state budget earlier this year, and that brought starting teacher pay to $35,000.

Lexington 1 employs around 1,900 teachers in its 29 schools. The average teacher salary in the district is $52,689, according to the S.C. Department of Education’s annual district report cards.

Little plays a role in carrying out the district’s long-term strategic plans, as well as being the public face of Lexington 1 at school events, awards ceremonies, conferences and other meetings.

Little also testified at a State House education committee hearing to help push for pro-public education policy, according to the district’s news release. On his Twitter account, Little often posts about visiting district schools and interacting with students. The school district serves nearly 27,000 students.

Since Little was hired, the district undertook an ambitious $365 million building plan to meet increasing demands for school facilities as hundreds of new students enroll each year.

Under Little’s leadership, Lexington 1 also added elementary School Resource Officers and eight mental health counselors, according to the release. Lexington 1 students outperformed South Carolina and national averages on assessments, and the district’s graduation rate climbed back up to 89.6%, near its high of 90.2% in 2017, according to its 2019 S.C. Report Card.

At his last performance review, Little was similarly praised and given six additional months of severance pay, should he be fired by the school board. He was also offered $12,000 a year beginning this fiscal year as a retention bonus, which will be paid out as a $60,000 lump sum if he continues to perform well and if he serves to the end of his term, according to contractual documents.

Little is the third-highest paid superintendent in the Midlands, after Richland 1’s Craig Witherspoon and Richland 2’s Baron Davis.

Correction, 8:30 a.m., Oct. 3: A previous version of this article misstated which Midlands school districts were the largest by student population. Richland 2 is the largest, followed by Lexington 1. Richland 1 is the third largest.

Isabella Cueto is a bilingual multimedia journalist covering Lexington County, one of the fastest-growing areas of South Carolina. She previously worked as a reporter for the Medill Justice Project and WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. She is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she studied journalism and theatre arts.