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Thompson honored for school board service

Posted: February 8, 2011 4:49 p.m.
Updated: February 9, 2011 5:00 a.m.

For more than a decade, Carol Thompson fought for the well being of Kershaw County School District (KCSD) students. So she shouldn’t have been surprised when she was recognized in January by the South Carolina School Board Association for 15 years of service on the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees.

On Tuesday morning, however, Thompson said she that she was not only honored to be recognized, but also surprised and excited.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of working on the board. It’s a challenge every day and it takes a lot of work to be on the school board,” she said. “But I appreciate it, and I am honored that they would take the time out to recognize me.”

Thompson’s school board journey began in 1996, after school board member John Lee vacated his seat upon winning a seat on county council.

 “I’ve always enjoyed working with children, and as a retired educator, I was interested in community service and helping to elevate the school system,” she said, adding that a friend urged her to run for the seat. “I ran unopposed, and was appointed to the board for two years. Since then, I’ve run for the school board four times, and I’ve only had opposition twice.”

Since being appointed to the board in 1996, Thompson said she has seen a tremendous change in the school district.

“When I first went on the board, we were one of the school districts that were at the lower level. We were not in the Top 10,” she said. “When I went on the board, one of the things that we strived for was setting up a program that would make us a Top 10 school district.”

And with a board career that spans a decade and a half, Thompson said she’s had the pleasure of working beside “three great chairmen and superintendents” -- including current board chairman Joey Dorton and KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan.

But even though they’ve had many good years, she said, dealing with the recent budget cuts was an unprecedented situation that she certainly did not see coming.

“We had really good years before this. I know we were working with less money when I came on the board, but the economy has never been this bad. I’ve never witnessed budget cuts this bad, and the downfall has been just bad for not only Kershaw County School District, but for school districts everywhere,” she said, adding that the school district will keep working to move forward. “I just hope that our state, federal and county governments realize that when we are working with our schools, we are working with our future.”

But even as she talks about how much she has enjoyed the past 15 years on the board, Thompson said she doesn’t foresee another 15 years of service in her future.

Instead, she said she is serving her last term and will not seek reelection.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I am honored that people have put their trust in me. It’s been an honor to represent all of the children in Kershaw County during the past 15 years, but I feel like now we need to get someone else who is younger to run,” she said, adding that she wants someone to come in and make the board more fruitful. “In two more years, I will have served on the board for 17 years. And I believe that’s long enough, don’t you?”

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