Todd Garrett tapped to fill empty Charleston County School Board seat
Todd Garrett told Charleston County lawmakers he first got serious about education when he got kicked out of high school. Moments later, they made him the newest member of the Charleston County School Board.
The county’s legislative delegation heard from five people hoping to be picked to finish the few months left in the term of Toya Hampton Green, who resigned her downtown School Board seat last month because she was moving to Columbia.
They picked Garrett, 36, an industrial real estate broker. During his pitch to lawmakers, Garrett also said he graduated third in his class at The Citadel, received a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University and served as a Marine in Iraq.
He received 59.6 percent of the delegation’s vote, a complicated calculation that factors in roughly how many Charleston County voters are in a member’s legislative district.
Garrett was backed by most every Republican lawmaker. Tony Lewis, a coach and civic leader, came in second with 31.3 percent and drew support from most of the delegation’s Democrats. Two other Democrats, Reps. Robert Brown and Leon Stavrinakis, voted for retired educator Jo Cannon, who received 9.3 percent and whose husband previously served on the school board.
Bruce Smith, a retired investment banker, and Dr. Louis Weinstein, who served on an Ohio school board and currently with a Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island, also sought the office, but neither was nominated by a lawmaker today.
Garrett, whose children attend St. Andrews School of Math and Science, said the board must hold the administration accountable. “Education in Charleston County shouldn’t depend on your zip code or lottery number,” he said, “but today it does.”
Garrett will serve only a few months, but he, Cannon, Lewis and possibly others are expected to wage write-in campaigns for the seat on Nov. 6.
No candidate qualified to be listed on the ballot, and while School Board candidates must live in certain areas, they are elected by voters countywide.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.