All four candidates are top committee choices

Three principals and Chief Instructional Services Officer hired
Posted on 08/06/2019
Elizabeth Rivera, Steven Schidrich, Alvilda Graham

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Board approves selections of three principals,
district Chief Instructional Services Officer

From left, Elizabeth Rivera, Steven Schidrich, Alvilda Graham

BEAUFORT – Three veteran administrators have been selected to lead district schools, while a fourth has been selected to become the district’s new Chief Instructional Services Officer.

All four recommendations by Superintendent Frank Rodriguez were approved tonight by the Beaufort County Board of Education:

·         Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary School – Elizabeth Rivera, an assistant principal at Shanklin for the past six years, replaces Celeste LaVan, who left the district last month to become Director of Elementary Education for the Darlington County School District.

·         Beaufort Middle School – Alvilda Graham, an assistant principal at district middle and high schools for the past six years, replaces Carole Ingram, who left the district in July after serving 15 years as Beaufort Middle’s principal.

·         Hilton Head Island High School – Steve Schidrich, a teacher at Hilton Head Island High for 13 years and an assistant principal at Bluffton Middle School for the past seven years, replaces Amanda O’Nan, who left the principalship in May.

·         District Chief Instructional Services Officer – Mary Stratos, currently principal at Forest Hill Community High School in Palm Beach County, Fla., replaces Bonnie Almond, who left the district in June.

“Every strong school district has strong leaders, and I’m confident that these four educators will be successful in their new roles,” Rodriguez said.  “They’re experienced, they understand the importance of hard work, they understand the value of teamwork, and their No. 1 priority will be ensuring that each and every student succeeds.”

All four of the administrators approved tonight were the top choices of committees that interviewed finalists for each position.  Those committees included teachers, principals, School Improvement Council members and representatives of the district’s Instructional Services Division.  The high school interview committee also included a student.

Dozens of applicants sought each of the four positions.  Thirty-nine educators applied at Shanklin Elementary, 48 at Beaufort Middle, 58 at Hilton Head Island High, and 52 applied for the district Chief Instructional Services Officer position.   

A Human Resources team worked with Rodriguez to select finalists who met with the four respective interview committees.  After each round of interviews, committee members rated the candidates and those ratings were submitted to Rodriguez, who made the final recommendations tonight to the Board of Education.  

Elizabeth Rivera (new principal at Shanklin Elementary) began her education career in 2002 as a math and science teacher at Robert Smalls Middle School, a position she held for seven years.  She was honored as the school’s 2006-07 Teacher of the Year.  Rivera worked for four years at Beaufort Elementary, first as an Advanced Math, Engineering and Science program teacher and later as a TAP Master Teacher.  She was an assistant principal at Shanklin Elementary from 2013 to 2019.

Rivera earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of South Carolina-Aiken and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of South Carolina-Columbia.

Alvilda Graham (new principal at Beaufort Middle) began her career teaching fifth-grade science and social studies – and later high school biology – in Florence, S.C.  She went on to teach middle school science courses in Durham, N.C. before becoming a principal intern at an elementary school and later dean of students at a middle school in Durham.  After moving to Beaufort County, she served as an assistant principal at Hilton Head Island Middle School from 2013-2015, and since 2015 has been an assistant principal at Hilton Head Island High School.

Graham earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Claflin University in Orangeburg, a master’s degree in technology education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. and a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  She expects to complete work next year on an educational specialist degree from The Citadel in Charleston.

Steven Schidrich (new principal at Hilton Head Island High) began his career at Beach Channel High School in Rockaway, N.Y., where he taught social studies for three years.  He worked at Hilton Head Island High from 1999 through 2012, serving as a social studies and International Baccalaureate teacher and later as a department head.  He served on the school’s leadership team and helped to evaluate and mentor teachers.  He has served as an assistant principal at Bluffton Middle School since 2012.

Schidrich earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York, as well as a master’s degree in secondary education-social studies from Queens College of the City University of New York.  He also has completed the Master of Educational Administration program at the University of South Carolina.

Mary Stratos (the district’s new Chief Instructional Services Officer) began her teaching career as an adult education teacher in Haverstraw, N.Y. before teaching secondary-level bilingual language arts and social studies at the North Rockland School District in Thiells, N.Y.  After relocating to South Florida, she worked as an English Language Learner coordinator at Gold Coast Community High School in West Palm Beach and later as a dropout prevention teacher in Delray Beach.  For the past 21 years, she served in a variety of secondary-level assistant principal and principal positions at a diverse group of schools in Palm Beach County, Fla.  She also served as an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University.

Stratos earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education/bilingual education from St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York, a master’s degree in English Speakers of Other Languages at Nova Southeastern University in Florida and an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.  Her educational background also includes leadership studies at Barry University and organizational instructional studies at Teachers College at Columbia University.