By Lanier Laney
After a 24-year-long career with Beaufort County schools, Bill Evans, current chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Education, probably knows more about our county schools, its teachers and students than anyone.
Bill says with confidence, “We have both great students and teachers and there is nowhere we cannot go in being a dynamic district providing students with a tremendous education.”
Bill came to his chosen field early. During a summer stint working as a substitute teacher while in college, he found he really enjoyed teaching and has subsequently found it to be an extremely rewarding career. He said, “Students are always interesting, their energy is so contagious and the work
that so many of our teachers are doing is really inspiring.”
In Beaufort County he also credits the parents adding, “The support that our schools get from parents and the community is really outstanding.”
After college, Bill, who grew up outside of Philadelphia, attained two master degrees — one from Penn State in Education and another from the University of Southern California in Education Administration. He began his career as an elementary teacher in California, then moved on to middle school, where he became an assistant principal then later a high school principal. After 10 years in California, he decided to take the position of principal at Hilton Head High School to be closer to his East Coast family.
Bill even met his wife Melissa at a parent/teacher meeting at Beaufort High. Says Bill, “I met my wife Melissa actually through her daughter who was a student at Beaufort High School when I was principal. We had both lost our first spouses to cancer at roughly the same time. We starting dating and married in July 2004.”
Melissa works as a Realtor for Coldwell Banker Platinum Partners, and is originally from Spartanburg, SC
Bill has three children: Kate, age 40, Rob, 38, and Kristien, 35, and two stepchildren, David, 29, and Jenna, 27.
Bill, who lives with Melissa on Lady’s Island, has the warmest of feelings about Beaufort and its citizens. Bill says, “It is such a friendly community with a deep sense of pride in its history and natural beauty. I am very impressed with the volunteerism that takes place here and the great mix of people who have lived here all their lives and those that have come more recently.”
After moving here, Bill got involved with local charities, working for United Way and supporting Beaufort Memorial Hospital. “The new emergency room is a great addition to our community,” Bill said. He’s a past president of the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry and is proud of the work the Rotary Club does for Beaufort.
Something that you may not know about Bill? “I rowed crew in high school and traveled to Henley, England, where we won an international title,” he admits. “I also got to play in the NCAA golf tournament while in college. I really enjoy musical theater and think the movie version of Les Miserables is fantastic.”
About his role as chair of the Beaufort County School Board in charge of coordinating the work of the district to benefit the development of children, Bill has this to say: “I had the good fortune to live on Hilton Head and in Bluffton before moving to Beaufort, so I believe that after 24 years working in county schools here, I have a very good sense of the different communities and their expectations. I am very proud of the work that the district has done over the last several years with improving student achievement; we still have lots to do to get to where we should and can be.”
As far as the future of the school district is concerned, Bill says, “The children come first. As long as we keep that as our mantra, we will do the right things.”