The new deputy superintendent for Charleston County schools says she’s focusing her time on trying to figure out ways for teachers and principals to have more success.

“My job is really to remove barriers so teachers and principals can do the work,” Anita Huggins said during a Tuesday interview. “My job is to support families and students and teachers so they can figure out how to navigate the K-12 [education] system to accomplish goals for their children.”

Huggins, an Horry County native who has a bachelor’s degree from Coastal Carolina University and a master’s degree from The Citadel, was appointed to the number two position in the school district earlier this month after having served as interim deputy superintendent since July.

“Ms. Huggins is a collaborative, humble leader who works to build consensus among teams while holding student outcomes at the forefront of all discussions, plans, and actions,” said Superintendent Donald R. Kennedy in a press release. “We are fortunate to have such an experienced, enthusiastic educator with a deep knowledge of CCSD (Charleston County School District) serving our community. Her proven leadership in the community is visionary, strategic, and outside-the-box.”

Huggins, 46, started as a classroom teacher two decades ago and has worked in Charleston County for the vast majority of her career. She then became a master teacher who supported and mentored professional peers. Also a past principal, Huggins most recently served as interim chief transformation officer to help to establish the school district’s vision and develop strategies to meet student needs. That included the Vision 2027 program, which seeks to have all students reading at grade level by fifth grade by the spring of 2027.

As the leader tasked with overseeing the district’s academic leadership division, Huggins says she spends a lot of time probing data to figure out “what’s going well and what needs to change.”

That means asking a lot of questions, such as “how we make working conditions improve for teachers … and how we compensate them so that more people want to go into the teaching profession.  We’re working on a lot of culture-building and how we can honor the work that teachers do.”

Huggins has worked in several district schools, including Simmons-Pinckney Middle School, Burke High School, Edmund A. Burns Elementary School, Fort Johnson Middle School and Moultrie Middle School. She is currently a fellow with the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative at Furman University.

“Ms. Huggins’ breadth of experience in Charleston and diverse skill set uniquely position her for this pivotal role,” Kennedy said. “A respected educator with a heart for kids, her enthusiasm and passion for making sure all students achieve at very high levels, regardless of their zip code, will serve students and schools well.”

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