Could South Carolina’s “It” teacher become the state’s next superintendent of education?
FITS has confirmed that several GOP leaders and at least two of the state’s top political consultants have contacted Dutch Fork High School teacher Kelly Payne to gauge her interest level in the job.
No Republicans have filed for the position and the Democratic incumbent, Jim Rex, certainly appears to be fumbling for the exit door.
Payne and her students – the “It” kids – have become South Carolina political sensations after turning their current issues classroom into the state’s preeminent political forum. Among other S.C. political luminaries, Payne’s students have welcomed S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Attorney General Henry McMaster, former Democratic leader Gilda Cobb-Hunter, S.C. Policy Council President Ashley Landess and S.C. Reps. Nikki Haley and Nathan Ballentine.
Previously, Payne has been politically active in the Alive @ 25 campaign, which teaches safe driving techniques to teenagers.
Frankly, we can’t think of a better choice for this position. Payne – who was a recent guest on FITS radio – would bring a level of energy to this role that’s been sorely lacking under the previous two adminsitrations. She’s also previously expressed an openness to any idea that will move the ball forward on academic achievement – including parental choice.
Dutch Fork High School has consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in America – obviously one of the few S.C. schools to earn such a distinction. Teachers like Payne have been a huge part of Dutch Fork’s success – which is something you’d think the education establishment would like to see duplicated statewide. You know, rather than duplicating failure – as seems to be the current policy.
Payne was non-commital when we spoke with her Wednesday about the job, saying only “I’m flattered.”
We hope she gives it strong and serious consideration …