New Daniel Island School principal addresses islanders at monthly DINA meeting; DINA votes to incorporate
***image1***More than 50 Daniel Islanders have met the woman who will lead the new K-8 school planned to open in August. Berkeley County School District leaders introduced Carolyn Morris to the community Tuesday evening at the monthly Daniel Island Neighborhood meeting.
After Berkeley County School Superintendent Chester Floyd announced Morris’ new position earlier that day, the school district scrambled to get the word out quickly, according to district officials. The neighborhood meeting seemed like the perfect place to make a first impression, they said.
Morris has 30 years experience as an educator, here and in Florida. She has worked as a school administrator for 15 years, 10 of them as a principal. She will leave her post as principal of Sangaree Intermediate School in Goose Creek next month. After Christmas break, she will set up shop in the NBSC building on Daniel Island, and begin meeting with community members to develop a plan for the school and begin hiring teachers and staff.
“To have a happy school, I need to have happy parents,” she told the crowd. “That means I’m going to have to have some good teachers.”
Morris is a sharp-witted, confident speaker. When a resident asked about her position on corporal punishment, she said she absolutely does not allow it in school.
“I wouldn’t want someone to spank me,” she said as the crowd roared with laughter.
The school she leaves, Sangaree Intermediate, has been recognized by the SC Department of Education as a Red Carpet School and a Palmetto Silver Award recipient since Morris became principal in 2000. The school has also earned a Distinguished Arts Program Grant and an Arts in Basic Curriculum Grant under her leadership.
Morris and her husband Urquit Morris live on James Island. They have an adult daughter who is a television writer in Los Angeles.
The DINA education committee is looking for volunteers for several subcommittees that will help make sure residents have the kind of school they want, according to the committee’s chair, Karen Smith. She said the most immediate need is a welcoming committee to organize events to allow residents to meet and greet Morris. Other committees will identify potential after-school programming, look into possibilities for sports and recreation, develop a plan for a parent/teacher organization and explore details of a high school that likely will be built to serve island residents at some point.
In other news, DINA members voted to form the organization into an LLC, or limited liability corporation. It was clear, after a few moments of heated banter among audience members and political action committee chair David Cobb, that this move came in light of the ongoing controversy surrounding the Humanities Foundation’s 72-unit affordable apartment complex under construction. Cobb said that incorporating not only better equips the organization for potential litigation, but also is financially smart for fund-raising purposes.
This move is not unprecedented in the city of Charleston. At least one other neighborhood residents’ group has incorporated, the Eastside Community Development Corporation.
DINA also voted to allow Cobb, who is an attorney, to move ahead on behalf of DINA in discussions with other local attorneys about further legal challenges regarding the Humanities project. DINA has a complaint and an appeal, both against the city and related to the Humanities project, pending in Berkeley County state court.
One resident asked whether DINA bylaws allow for the organization’s money to be used for legal fees. Cobb pointed out that DINA only has paid for court filing fees and that all legal counsel has been pro bono.
DINA president Franklin Medio answered the question, saying the bylaws state that DINA funds may be spent in any way the membership approves.
DINA member Tim Callanan, who addressed the membership, said that the new DINA newsletter, which hit the streets just prior to the meeting, is seeking contributors and advertisers. The newsletter is designed to keep DINA members better informed about DINA and other island matters, Callanan said
At next month’s DINA meeting, new officers will be elected.
And next week, there are two annual homeowner meetings. The Daniel Island Park Association meets Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at Providence Baptist Church. The Daniel Island Community Association meets at 7 p.m., same night and place.