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Sumter school board votes to begin search for a new superintendent

The board voted to begin moving forward with their search for a new superintendent.

SUMTER, S.C. — The Sumter School District Board of Trustees voted Monday night to begin moving forward with their search for a new superintendent.

The move comes after current superintendent Dr. Penelope Martin Knox said she's leaving after the school year is over. 

At Monday night's meeting, dozens of parents appeared before the Sumter School Board demanding answers, but the board stayed quiet.

"She [Martin Knox] has displayed and continues to display commitment to our precious children," one community member said during the public comment time.

RELATED: Sumter School superintendent to leave district at the end of school year

About 55 community members attended the meeting at Furman Middle School.

Parent Rosa Hilton says Dr. Martin Knox has made a lasting impact on the community.

"I came here for answers," Hilton said. "She's propelled this district forward. My nieces and nephews that go through, they know Dr. Knox. They have those good stories to tell."

However, Dr. Martin-Knox is not seeking an extension to her contract, opting instead to leave at the end of the current school year. 

Sumter resident Sandra Burgess wants to know why the superintendent isn't re-signing her contract, and she wasn't alone. Others questioned the decision, as well. 

"So why are you going to go behind closed doors and do something that is so private that's going to affect us so publicly that's going to affect our children," said Burgess.

RELATED: DHEC updates COVID-19 guidance for South Carolina schools

Board members listened, but did not respond to any of the their questions. 

"Let Dr. Knox know that we support her, that the community is behind her and we just want a peaceful resolution to this," Burgess, who explained while the turnout at the meeting was substantial, many chose to watch virtually, due to the current COVID-19 surge. 

Dr. Martin Knox's contract is set to end on June 30, 2022.

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