- Associated Press - Monday, March 29, 2021

PICKENS, S.C. (AP) - A school district in northern South Carolina has hired its first Black principal since the district desegregated decades ago.

The Greenville News reported Monday that Ashley Anderson-Murray has been the interim principal of Forest Acres Elementary School in Pickens County since December. On Friday the district announced that she would be the permanent principal.

“I’m really excited about today, this moment in time, but I’m more excited about what the future has to hold for our students,” Anderson-Murray told the newspaper.

She said she was inspired to go into education by her first grade teacher and hopes to inspire children as well.

A spokesperson for the school district, John Eby, said the district has not had a Black principal since 1970 when schools were segregated by race although Black educators have filled other leadership positions such as assistant principals.

“It’s historic and it’s meaningful, and it’s long overdue,” Eby said.

Superintendent Danny Merck said in a statement that Anderson-Murray has done a good job taking up the principalship in the middle of the year and during a pandemic. The former principal, Darian Byrd, became the director of the state’s virtual academy.

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