JASPER COUNTY, SC (WTOC) - The first day of school is right around the corner and with the new school year comes changes for Jasper County Schools, including a new superintendent.
Teachers in Jasper County started their first day back to school with a pep rally, getting them ready for the start of the school year.
While the schools have struggled in the past, the district's new superintendent, Dr. Vashti Washington, says she's ready to get going and hoping to raise test scores and increase student achievement
"I'm elated to be here," said Dr. Washington. "This is truly a calling for me. I've told the staff I'm not here to make a name for myself or seek retirement, I've done those things. So, I'm here truly because this is a calling and I want to make a difference for our children."
Dr. Washington says that means making some changes including the leadership at the district level, hiring four new principals, and starting new practices.
"We have hired instructional coaches this year to work directly in the classroom with our teachers," said Dr Washington. "We also will have a template for lesson plans where everyone will be expected to develop the same type of lesson plans based on their areas of expertise and content areas."
Many teachers we talked to say they like what they're hearing.
"Everyone is excited, sounds like we're going to have a lot of support from our administration, all the way up to the superintendent and that's exciting," said Alfreda Harris.
As 7th grade math teacher Susan Cleveland gets her classroom ready at Hardeeville Middle School, she's proud of all that her students achieved last year and is hoping these new changes will bring even more success this year.
"Everyone is so excited, you can feel it in the air," said Cleveland. "We've got new administration, district offices, everyone is excited."
She like other teachers are ready for the students to arrive.
"I'm always excited," said Cleveland. "This is my 36th year and every year is exciting because it's change, possibilities, dreams."
While the Superintendent says she and the schools are going to do their part, they need support from parents, volunteers and members of the community to make this year a success and help these students achieve.
She says she's also going to meeting with advisory groups all over the schools and communities to get feedback.