Changes in School Board Leadership

The District 7 School Board welcomes two newcomers this month following the retirement of trustees Andy Oberg and Laura Bauknight. With kind words for their contributions to the District, Dr. Booker thanked Mr. Oberg and Mrs. Bauknight, at the November meeting of the Board, and presented the two with rocking chairs for the service to the Board. A parting gift, perfect for retirement! Community residents Meg Clayton and Clay Mahaffey were sworn in on December 1, 2015. We caught up with all four individuals for a few quick questions about this transition.
Q and A with Laura Bauknight and Andy Oberg
What is one of the more memorable moments of your time on the Board?
LB: I have had so many incredible experiences as a Board member - the concerts, the classroom visits, the sporting events, but the highlight was early on when I was matched with the Director of Special Education and sat in a room with a teacher working one on one with a child with serious autism. She was so patient and loving with that little fellow. I thought to myself…if only the general public could see what our amazing educators do, day-in and day-out.
AO: For me, the most memorable event was the recognition of Dr. Booker as Superintendent of the Year for South Carolina. Those who know Dr. Booker understand what an outstanding leader he is and how fortunate we are in the District to have him leading us. It was exciting to see him recognized for his leadership of District 7 and for his influence on the entire state.
What are some of the initiatives that occurred in the District during your tenure, of which you are most proud?
AO: There have been many impressive and exciting initiatives realized in the last few years; the opening of the Early Learning Center at Park Hills, the Freshman Academy, and the Viking Early College, but I would say that the most exciting was the Technology Initiative. That initiative touched every student and faculty member of the District and also opened up opportunities for learning outside the classroom.
LB: The thing I was most excited about was when we decided to adopt a middle school model and we move our freshman to the Freshman Academy at the High School. I think that shift has been an academic advantage for our students, and I was so very proud of the way our Board and Administrative team handled the process. We had lots of community meetings, lots of conversations and that’s why I think this transition was so successful. We were inclusive, responsive and transparent.
What advice would you give to Meg and Clay, your successors on the Board?
AO: I hope that Meg and Clay enjoy their time on the Board and that they will find it as rewarding as I have. The only advice I would give them is to ask lots of questions and spend as much time as possible learning what the District has to offer so that they can be effective advocates of the District’s mission. LB: You are going to learn so much! Give yourself time - ask questions - don’t be intimidated by your Board colleagues who have more experience and have served for many years. They will tell you they were once newbies too! Listen more than you speak - but when you do have a conviction, speak up. You may not make everyone happy – that’s impossible – but don’t take it too lightly or too seriously. Find the things you care most about and put your energy there. I am excited for both of you and I know you are serving for all the right reasons!! Good luck and call me anytime!
Q and A with Meg Clayton and Clay Mahaffey
What prompted your desire to serve on the Board?
MC: As a former student, alumna and now a current parent of children in District 7, I want to be of service to the school district that served me so well and continues to do so now for my kids. The role that District 7 plays in Spartanburg brings immeasurable value to our community. CM: Being a proud product of District 7, I am fully aware of how blessed we are to live in this area, and of the many opportunities that District 7 has to offer. District 7 prepared me for my life after school, and I hope to do whatever I can to help prepare the next generation. Having a strong education system not only benefits the students, but also the entire community. It’s an exciting time to be a part of District Seven.
No doubt you will be learning a lot about District 7 in the coming months – what, to date, have you learned that has been most impressive or exciting?
MC: I don’t think I can name just one thing. There are so many amazing things happening in District 7. The list of distinguishing accolades continues to grow in every aspect- academics, arts, athletics, and technology. The energy in District 7 is contagious and I think these distinctions reflect the District’s constant commitment to its mission, “To inspire and equip students for meaningful lives of leadership and service as world citizens.” CM: The demographic for District 7 is very wide. It is very impressive to see kids from all walks of life involved in their school, and to see them excel and be proud of their accomplishments. One of my favorite things is when a student is recognized for his or her accomplishments, and to see the joy on their face. District 7 truly has some of the most talented students anywhere.
Anything else you want our community to know about you?
MC: I love the Spartanburg community. The role that District 7 plays in Spartanburg brings immeasurable value to our community. I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve on the District 7 Board.
CM: My wife, Stacy and I have moved a couple of times, but one thing was a given when we were looking for a home – we were staying in District 7. We certainly stay busy with our kids’ schedules – church, school, sports, dance, and other activities. It’s a busy life, but one we wouldn’t trade for anything. When we’re not busy being parents, I enjoy playing golf and headed to back to Clemson as often as I can!

Meg Clayton

Clay Mahaffey

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