on September 2, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Clemson resident resigns as State Board of Education chair

Kristin Maguire, a home-school mother from Clemson who has served on the State Board of Education for 10 years — including chairman since January — resigned Tuesday.

Maguire, who tendered her resignation, effective immediately, in a letter to Gov. Mark Sanford, could not be reached for comment either through telephone or e-mail.

The Clemson University engineering graduate was first appointed to the board by the Pickens County Legislative Delegation in 1999 and reappointed by Sanford in 2004.

Maguire’s term expires December 31, 2011.

When she assumed the one-year chairmanship in January, Maguire became the only home-schooler in the nation to head a board overseeing public schools.

Seneca resident Lyn Norton, a retired educator in his first year of serving on the board, said Maguire would be sorely missed.

“Kristin has done a great job,” Norton said. “She was always very, very well prepared and is a bright, very energetic individual.”

Despite her home-school background, Phillip Bowers, of Pickens, described Maguire as “a tireless advocate for public education” who also “fostered positive change like Charter Schools and improved academic standards.”

“She is the most knowledgeable person on education I know, and her knowledge will be sorely missed,” he said.

Bowers said he wasn’t totally surprised about Maguire’s resignation, adding that she had been struggling with it for some time.

“Her zeal for swift change brought criticism from status quo proponents and political enemies,” he said. “The stress involved with changing the system, coupled with family health issues, became overwhelming and she had to let go of some responsibility.

“I hate to lose her, but admire her for putting family first.”

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said Maguire “set a high standard” by her willingness to work long hours for little financial compensation and exhaustingly studying every issue that came before the board.

“While I didn’t always agree with her views, she always expressed them with conviction,” Rex said, adding, “I wish her the best.”

Tom Moore, who was serving as chair-elect, will now assume the chairmanship. A past chairman of the Barnwell County Council, Moore is a former elementary school principal and football coach at Blackville-Hilda High School and has also served as past president of Barnwell District 45’s Parent Teacher Student Association and on the Barnwell High School Improvement Council.