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Kennedy named CCSD Superintendent

Don kennedyCharleston County School District’s (CCSD) Board of Trustees voted Monday, June 27, 2022, to name Donald R. Kennedy, Sr., the Superintendent of Schools.  Kennedy has served as CCSD’s Interim Superintendent since January 2022.  

Over the last six months, Kennedy has initiated and led work around Vision 2027–where all students will read on grade level by grade 5; he has also emphasized the need for root cause analysis, detailing what has prevented CCSD students, particularly those of color, from growing and achieving at high levels for decades. In addition, Kennedy has initiated training around systems thinking, acknowledging publicly that systemic change is needed in order to improve the achievement of all students.

A native of Winnsboro, South Carolina, Kennedy comes from a family of educators who emphasized the value of education and believed in the opportunities it provides. In particular, his mother, Viola Kennedy, began work as a teacher at the age of 54 after a career serving as a Food & Nutrition Services Manager in public schools.  Additionally, his wife, Pam, is a retired educator of 30+ years, with recent service at Clark Corporate Academy, and his sister is a retired teacher with 30+ years’ experience. 

Throughout his career in public service, Kennedy has supported urban education all over the country as the chief financial officer (CFO) for Baltimore City Public Schools; CFO for Boston Public Schools; Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut; as well as the Chief Financial and Operations Officer for Seattle Public Schools. He served as CCSD’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer on two separate occasions, first from July 2004 to September 2007, and second, from January 2018 to December 2021. He also is recognized as a volunteer peer review consultant for the Council of the Great City Schools. 

A father of five, Kennedy’s passion is working collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure students have access to address all needs, including wrap-around and mental health services; rigorous, grade-level instruction; and opportunities to expand their learning beyond the classroom.  In preparation for the new school year, he has committed to focusing on restorative disciplinary practices, to ensuring that both core instruction and intervention services are a priority in all schools, to expanding Pre-K, and to aligning central office support to and for schools.  

Kennedy holds a South Carolina Superintendent certificate, a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Newberry College, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Systems Renewal from Seattle University; he also holds a certified public accountant certificate. Prior to public service, he held corporate finance positions with Boeing and Science Applications International Corporation and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force.  Kennedy will serve as the Superintendent until the Board of Trustees selects a replacement following a national search.