BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County School Board unanimously voted to elect a new interim superintendent on Thursday evening.
Herbert M. Berg has held superintendent positions in three states and spent over 45 years in education. The Board has chosen him to lead as they continue to search for a permanent candidate that meets their standards.
"I'm very excited to work with the Board, with school faculty and administrators, with district staff and with the Beaufort County community as a whole," Berg said. "We'll all work together to make sure that the district's 22,000 students get a rigorous world-class education during the upcoming academic year."
It's no secret that Berg is stepping into controversial territory.
"I've had other districts where I've worked with that divided board. That's not the end of the world. There's a way to work with people," he said.
Berg is a veteran when it comes to educational leadership. He's worked 37 years in superintendent positions at six different school districts in Washington, Virginia, and South Carolina. He previously served as superintendent in Kershaw County, as well as Lexington/Richland District 5. He's also worked with the U.S. Department of State to better American Schools in China.
His bachelor's degree comes from Washington-Pacific University. He earned his master's at from Seattle University and completed his schooling at Washington State University where he received his doctorate.
"When I was in Lexington, I'm the only superintendent, they told me, in the history of South Carolina, that ever passed a referendum while an interim superintendent and it was for $244 million, and we got almost 70 percent 'yes' on that election," Berg said.
His tenacity comes at a time when the school board is addressing overcrowding in the district and a failed referendum. Despite the reputation of the board, this could be an opportunity for reconciliation.
"But I want to start from this point that the school board came together, united, and voted 11-0 for me to be their interim superintendent," he said.
"I think we chose the best-qualified candidate and someone who is capable of moving us forward," said Board Chair Earl Campbell.
"His knowledge of the Beaufort County School District; he took time to read our strategic plan. He has taken time to understand the diversity of our community," said Bill Payne, Beaufort County School Board.
The search for a permanent superintendent continues and is expected to take about six to 12 months. Seven board members have been named to a committee that will judge and select a search firm handled to conduct a nationwide search for a new superintendent.
Campbell says that the search process will give parents and the public to give feedback.
"Our parents, our employees, and our taxpayers obviously have a stake in this very important decision, and we definitely want to hear from them before we make a decision," Campbell said.