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Meet Mack Burgess, the newest member of the Williamsburg County School Board

Mack Burgess

Mack Burgess

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The Williamsburg County School Board is now back to having a representative from each district after having a vacancy for a year.

Mack Burgess was elected to fill the vacant seat left by Gladys Dorsey, who passed away in July 2021. Burgess was elected on July 12, in a special election that needed Gov. Henry McMaster to provide clarity to the situation.

McMaster needed to provide clarity as there was some confusion as to how to fill the vacant seat with the state still in charge of the school district. McMaster signed the executive order calling for a special election May 2.

Burgess, who lives in Nesmith, has been the principal at McDonald Elementary in Georgetown since 2018.

Burgess said that he is in favor of the merger of C.E. Murray and Kingstree High schools, and believes that the merger will help attract better teachers and give students a more rigorous curriculum.

“[I want to] ensure our children are staying up with progress and learning the fundamentals they need to succeed in today's world,” Burgess said. “Today’s world is ever changing with technology.”

Williamsburg County schools is one of the lowest performing school districts in the state and scores well below state average on college and career readiness assessments, according to state report cards.

Burgess believes that now is the right time for the state to give control of the district back to the local board.

Burgess said his first priority will be school safety, followed by the curriculum. Burgess also made it a point to bring up often over looked issues like the school cafeteria.

“There are a lot of children in this county that only eat one meal a day,” Burgess said. “We need to give the power back to the cafeteria workers to cook good home cooked hot meals for our children.”

Burgess also said he wants to make sure all school district employees, including custodial workers and bus drivers, can earn a living wage.

Burgess comes from a family heavily involved in education. Both his parents worked for the Williamsburg County School District, and three of his four brothers are also in education. Before being named principal at McDonald Elementary, he was an assistant principal at Andrews and had previously worked at both Kingstree and Hemingway High Schools.

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Brandon Alter covers the town of Kingstree and Williamsburg County for The Kingstree News. He is from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of South Carolina's school of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2021.