Staff changes at the RPSEC

The RPSEC has seen some significant changes over the past few months.
A grant called the Center of Excellence for the Advancement of Rural, Under-Performing Schools (CEARUPS) was awarded to the USC Aiken School of Education. This project is working with schools and teachers in Allendale County. A main component of this grant project is to create a professional development school. The professional development school will provide a close association between USC Aiken School of Education, USC Salkahatchie and Allendale Elementary School. In order to ensure the success of this program, Gwen Johnson has refocused her efforts and is now the director of the CEARUPS grant and the Professional Development School at Allendale Elementary School. During the interim period when Ms. Johnson is refocusing her efforts in Allendale, Dr. Gary J. Senn will serve as the director of the RPSEC.
Dr. Elisabeth Schussler has been in the position of Student Programs Coordinator for the past year. In this permanent position, Dr. Schussler was scheduled to work 20 hours per week. It became abundantly clear that it was impossible for her to perform the requirements of this position with the limited time so the position was changed to full time status.
After significant time without a mathematics specialist, the Central Savannah River Area Mathematics and Science Regional Center (CSRA MSRC) was able to secure funding to fill this position. We are happy to welcome Mr. William (Bobbie) Cue as the new mathematics specialist. Mr. Cue comes to the RPSEC from a mathematics teaching position at South Aiken High School. His experience will be very beneficial to the teachers who are served by the CSRA MRSC.
The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness in Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is now in its sixth year at USC Aiken. For the past few years, Haneefah Cobbs has been in the role of administrative assistant for GEAR UP. Ms. Cobbs has recently left her position with GEAR UP to begin a position as a mathematics teacher. In fact, she went to South Aiken High School to take the place of Mr. Cue. This worked out well for the MRSC because Mr. Cue could not be released from his teaching contract until a suitable replacement could be found. This was great for Ms. Cobbs who has been exploring her interest in becoming a mathematics teacher. However, this created a void for the GEAR UP Program.
Gloria Allen and Gwen Johnson have acted as the co-directors of the GEAR UP program since it was first funded here. Both of these ladies have invested many extra hours to make the GEAR UP program the success that it has been. With Ms. Johnson’s new duties in Allendale and Ms. Allen’s need to focus her attention on her coordination duties for the CSRA MRSC, they have both had to step back from GEAR UP.
This created a significant understaffing crisis for GEAR UP. Fortunately, two wonderful people crossed our path and we have been able to fill in the void. Ms. Jenifer Ramseur is the new GEAR UP Director and Ms. Joyce Johnson is the new GEAR UP Administrative Specialist. We are delighted to welcome these two very gifted ladies into their new roles.
We are happy to welcome Deborah McMurtrie to the staff as a new student programs specialist. Deborah is a veteran teacher with 15 years of experience. She has been a teacher in Aiken County, Lexington County and, most recently, with Aiken Preparatory School. At Aiken Preparatory School, she also served as director of development and the lower school coordinator. Deborah is taking the place of Alicia Brinton who recently moved to Australia.
Finally, one of our planetarium specialists, Pam Hadsell, is moving to Alabama and will be unable to commute back here to fulfill her planetarium duties. Pam was a great asset to our staff and will be sorely missed. If you know of anyone who is interested in a part time position to present planetarium programs, please contact the RPSEC.
As you can tell, there have been quite a few changes. With these changes, we are confident that the RPSEC and its associated programs will continue to provide the quality educational experiences that the people of the CSRA have come to expect.