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Cain remembered as successful superintendent

Posted: November 8, 2012 5:52 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Many Kershaw County residents will remember Dr. Ralph Cain as a fair, honest and effective education leader who stabilized the school district through strategic planning and helped introduce technological literacy as a new basic skill for students.

The former KCSD superintendent—who served here from 1994 to 2003—died after an extended illness early Monday morning.

“When I think of him, the effort I remember most is the district's first comprehensive community written Strategic Plan which involved over 600 persons,” said former KCSD Communications Director Mary Ann Blaskowitz.  “This really kept the district focused during his tenure. The whole concept of KCSD being a Top 10 school district came from that plan and guided decisions during his time. He closely tracked our progress each year.”

Several key educational entities that still exist today were created under Cain’s leadership including the Kershaw County Educational Foundation, which assists in providing funding for schools, and the Continuous Learning Center, which offers an alternative for at-risk students.  While Cain was the KCSD superintendent, computers as instructional tools were increased across the district and all schools obtained Internet access.  Technological literacy for students became a focus as well as preparing students for the 21st century workplace.

During Cain’s tenure, three new schools were created with new facilities—Leslie M. Stover, Doby’s Mill Elementary and North Central Middle.  Recommendations of a school board-approved Blue Ribbon Task Force were implemented which helped complete construction projects in North Central schools while the 2000 successful referendum also brought new facilities for Pine Tree Hill Elementary.

Other notable accomplishments including having all schools accredited for the first time by SACs, initiating an academic honors diploma and standardizing the grade structure for elementary, middle and high schools across the district.  During this time, the district’s Teacher Forum was founded, and all teachers were trained in student learning styles.

A former administrator and teacher in Alabama, Cain also served as the superintendent of the Etowah County Schools (Ala) before starting his nine-year superintendency in Kershaw County.  Upon retirement in 2003, Cain and his wife Rhonda returned to New Hope, Alabama, where his funeral services will be held Thursday.

Former school board chairman Don Spivey said that Cain was “a wonderful friend, leader and listener who operated with a great sense of fairness and equity.  He was a Christian man with high morals who truly cared for individuals. Dr. Cain enriched our school district as a whole and me as well.”

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