Dutch Fork teacher is "It" for State Education Superintendent race

Recently, chatter has been going around that Kelly Payne (pictured on the right with blogger Will Folks), a Dutch Fork High School teacher who has turned her current issues classes into a must-stop for many of the Palmetto State's biggest politicos, is being courted to seek the GOP nod for State Superintendent of Education next year.

According to Will Folks over at FITSNews:



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 http://www.aliveat25.us/ 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.


It's hard to find the kind of hands-on leadership that Payne has shown in the classroom, as well as the the ability to get the attention and participation of such a wide range of political players in state politics. Those are going to be key skills for a successful education leader, which this state sorely needs.

Payne should seriously consider this race ... and if she's in, we're on board.

7 Response to "Dutch Fork teacher is "It" for State Education Superintendent race"

  1. mg 22/7/09 17:20
    She is on Facebook
  2. Trinitytim 22/7/09 17:33
    I think Kelly would be the perfect choice for State Superintendent of Education. She is smart, dedicated to her students, and an excellent leader. Unlike other politicians, she is honest, ethical, hardworking, and totally committed to improving South Carolina's education system.
  3. Jimmy 22/7/09 18:54
    What about Faye Brown from Charleston? She's got the total package--wonder if anyone has ever approached her about running.
  4. Calhoun Fawls 23/7/09 03:27
    I can't join you on this one Earle. A high school teacher backed by the Rich crowd will likely be over her head politically in the race and will be more likely to take marching orders than to give them.

    What South Carolina needs is someone who knows how to reform, not just have the desire for it. We have learned that from Governor Sanford.

    Further, she did not run Dutch Fork High School. She ran one teaching job there. I don't want anymore of these face politicians in statewide office. Sanford and Ravenel broke me from that for good.
  5. Khalil Al Qinawy 23/7/09 09:28
    First, SC must appreciate those several GOP leaders and the at least two Political consultants for their vision and most appropriate choice for the position. Second and last of all, Kelly by no comparison, does not only qualify for the post, but certainly is capable of enhancing talents and expanding the horizon of the future generations of the State of South Carolina, and will be with no doubt a national Icon to look up to and learn from by all other states in efforts to upgrade their approach and conduct.

    Go Kelly, You Owe it to the future generations of SC and USA.
  6. AH 23/7/09 11:46
    I have been following this race closely and wonder if people are simply trying to draft her for the job or is she really wanting it? Other than the salary, I have no idea why anyone would want that job. First, the Supt has little more than a bully pulpit for reform. Second, say what you will about Rex, he has been more proactive in reforms and changes than Tennenbaum ever was - private school choice aside.

    Also, there are too many hands in the education "pot" with the Education Oversight Commissiom, State Board of Education, Supt of Ed and the local districs. Real reform in education must come from the local districts and most of the local boards have the absolute wrong people serving on them (Take Fairfield County as an example).

    With all of that said, I believe Ms. Payne would be a good candidate.
  7. Mike Reino 23/7/09 22:31
    Earl, I'll be the politically incorrect one here. I think someone who has an educational background , but not in the administrative sense would be a very good thing. She also seems to have the political savvy to not be a babe in the woods.

    Speaking of Babe, I've been her Facebook buddy for a couple of months, and I think I'm becoming quite smitten with her...

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