On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the Lexington County School District One Educational Foundation presented the 2020 Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award to Melissa C. Rawl, the retiring principal of Lexington High School. Established in 2005, the award recognizes an outstanding administrator in the district and honors the late Joseph M. Bedenbaugh who was an esteemed administrator from the original Lexington District One staff of 1952. Bedenbaugh worked in the district for 36 years, serving as a seventh-grade math teacher, principal and assistant superintendent for personnel and federal programs. He was also a World War II veteran who served in the United States Air Force.
For more than 20 years, Rawl exhibited outstanding servant leadership and loyalty to education in our district. She began teaching in 1978 at Brookland-Cayce High School in Lexington School District Two. She moved to Airport High in 1979 as a teacher and department chair, then joined Lexington District One as a teacher at Gilbert High School in 1997. In 1998, she moved to Lexington High School, where she served as a teacher and the district’s secondary summer school coordinator before becoming an assistant principal in 2001. She was promoted to LHS principal in 2011.
Rawl’s colleagues shared many kind words about her legacy in her award nomination. They said she builds “intentional connections with everyone, and exemplifies school spirit and good sportsmanship.” Other nominations stated she was committed to leading with the three P’s: positivity, professionalism and public relations. Another LHS teacher said Melissa Rawl, an LHS alumna, is “the true definition of a Wildcat,” and makes teachers and students feel appreciated, safe and valued.
Rawls was a 2000 Lexington High School Teacher of the Year finalist, the 2008 South Carolina Association of School Administrators Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year, the 2014 Palmetto Center for Women TWIN Award recipient, the 2017 Lexington Rotary Club Lee Bullington Spirit Award winner and the 2018 South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association 5A Principal of the Year.