SC ’08 school board chief practices what’s practical

Bill Robinson:

Lost in the hubbub over a home-school educator’s election to chair of the S.C. Board of Education in 2009 is the man who will precede her in the post — Al Simpson of Lancaster.
Simpson takes over the gavel as state school board chairman from John Tindal of Manning when the panel convenes for its next meeting in mid-January. State board members follow a policy of picking their future leader a year in advance.
Simpson cast a critical preliminary vote Dec. 12 that enabled Kristin Maguire of Clemson to defeat Fred “Trip” DuBard, a Florence businessman.
“We had two good candidates,” he said. “I don’t think this vote is going to cause any problems with the board.”
Maguire, he said, “has a whole year to prepare to move up. She’ll do a fine job. She’s shown me she’s dedicated to public schools.”
So is Simpson.
A product of South Carolina public schools, Simpson’s three children attend Lancaster County public schools, where he said he has seen choice work for families.