The Sumter School district's new interim superintendent is speaking about her new job.
Trustees named retired Richland Two Superintendent, Dr. Debra Hamm, as the interim superintendent on Monday night.
This comes just one week after Dr. Frank Baker retired from the district amid ongoing financial concerns.
Dr. Hamm says she wants to get the district prepared for the future.
"As the interim superintendent, there are some things that you want to accomplish,” says Dr. Hamm. “One of them is to make sure that the school district continues to move forward and that it is in the absolute best shape it can be when the next superintendent comes in."
Dr. Hamm was a part of the state’s Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive program (TERI), meaning she can retire with the state and return and be a working retiree.
She says she has four goals for the district -- learning, character, community and joy.
"Happy students are better learners and I think happy employees are more productive," says Dr. Hamm. "So I want that positive vibe to continue to grow here in Sumter."
She is no stranger to Sumter Schools. Early in her career she taught at what was then Eastern Elementary School.
"It's kind of an interesting set of book ends to a career to be able to come back here and do this,” says Dr. Hamm.
School Board Chair Rev. Daryl McGhaney says they were considering three people for the role and Dr. Hamm’s experience stuck out.
He hopes she can work with the board to help restore confidence in the district, after more than $6.8 million in budget cuts and talks of school closings this past year.
"Let's leave the past behind and let's move forward because it's time for healing,” says Rev. McGhaney. “We're looking forward to seeing what the outcome is for her and what she can do. And with an understanding, as she stated, that working with board members, together we can move the district forward."
"I am absolutely positive it is going to be a successful school year,” says Dr. Hamm.
She's set to start in her new role on August 1st.