School briefs for October 26th-November 1st

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Retired businessman newest member of board

A retired businessman and school board veteran took his oath of office as the newest member of the Beaufort County Board of Education.

John Dowling was elected to fill the District 6 seat vacated by former board member Patricia Felton-Montgomery, representing portions of Okatie and Sun City Hilton Head. Felton-Montgomery resigned her seat earlier this year.

Before retiring and moving to Sun City, Dowling worked as a program manager at a computer company in Massachusetts.

He has also been a special education office manager in the Wachusett (Mass.) Regional School District and a staff member at the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (School Boards).  

He served three terms on the Narragansett Regional School Committee in Templeton, Mass.  

In addition, he served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1969.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity that the voters have given me, and the trust that they’ve placed in me,” Dowling said. “I plan to hit the deck running and open a dialogue with my fellow board members to make a strong contribution to moving the school district forward.”

Polaris Tech seeks executive director

As architects and engineers finalize construction plans for the new Polaris Tech Charter School in Ridgeland, the steering committee is seeking an executive director to lead the school and prepare for the August 2018 opening.

“It’s an exciting step to have the executive director/head of school job being advertised at the same time our developer is working on final plans to get the school under construction,” said Sandra Chavez, chair of the Polaris Tech Steering Committee.

The executive director will be the only employee of the Polaris Tech board and will work closely with the board on matters such as hiring staff, finalizing curriculum, reviewing documents such as student and employee handbooks, and adding input to the school facility construction.

“This is our leadership position, and we are seeking a very special person to lead our very special school,” Chavez said. “Polaris Tech will be a different type of school for the Lowcountry and we are excited to show what we can do.”

The Polaris Tech academic emphasis will be on six career areas: aerospace, health science, information technology, logistics, advanced manufacturing and business management. It will serve up to 250 students in grades 6-10 when the school opens, and then will add one high school grade each year until it serves the span of middle and high school and offers diplomas.

The full job description is available at the Polaris Tech website, .

The new state charter school will be built in Ridgeland on the site of the former hospital, near the airport and near existing public schools.

Polaris Tech is a state-approved charter school to serve middle and high school students from Jasper County and the Lowcountry.

It is a free school with no tuition that will focus on preparing young people for successful work.

State of the Schools to be held Nov. 1

The Beaufort Regional Chamber has rescheduled its annual State of the School event due to Tropical Storm Irma.

It will be held from 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at Holiday Inn & Suites, 2225 Boundary St.

South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and the leaders from the area school systems will share information concerning education in Beaufort County and the impact on the local community.

Speakers will include Spearman, Dr. Jeffrey Moss, superintendent of the Beaufort County School District; Dr. Richard Gough of the Technical College of the Lowcountry; and Dr. Al Panu of the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

Guests will also hear from a panel of leaders representing the area’s private and charter schools including: Beaufort Academy, Bridge Preparatory School, Holy Trinity Classical Christian School, John Paul II High School, Lowcountry Montessori School, Riverview Charter School and St. Peter’s Catholic School.

The cost is $20 for chamber members; $25 for nonmembers; and $160 for a table of eight.

Contact LaNelle at

Local student named to symphony orchestra

Janelle Vernoy of Beaufort was recently named to the 2017 Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra (BJUSO).

Vernoy is a junior majoring in Church Music.

“It’s been great to welcome so many new members this year,” said conductor Michael Moore. 

“In addition to our music majors, we have several very talented musicians majoring in accounting, communications, computer science, education, health sciences, graphic design and Christian ministries.”