During the February 16, 2021 meeting of the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees, the board approved the promotion of Mary A. Gaskins to chief academic officer, effective July 1. She replaces Dr. Gloria J. Talley who retires at the end of the academic year, following 46 years of dedicated service to public education.
Gaskins, who currently serves as leadership development and continuous improvement director, joined Lexington District One in 1998. Gaskins taught special education for six years at Gilbert Middle School and served as GMS special education department chair.
After becoming a literacy coach in 2003, she coached GMS and Carolina Springs Middle teachers in reading and writing strategies, and led professional learning.
In 2010, Gaskins transitioned to Instructional Services as the district’s professional development coordinator. In 2017, she was promoted to professional development director. In those roles, she developed and implemented professional learning for teachers and staff, including a districtwide “Whatever It Takes” team, which supported the district’s creation of standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment.
Gaskins also helped coordinate an effort to partner with colleges and universities to help teachers and other Lexington District One professionals participate in graduate-level courses.
In 2018, after assuming her current role, she helped create an executive leadership program that works to recruit, select, assess and develop leaders throughout the district.
Currently, she works to identify challenges in processes and systems across the district, advance initiatives that tackle those issues so the district runs more efficiently and helps facilitate the Reentry Task Force, a group responsible for planning steps needed to return students and staff to school safely during COVID-19.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in special education as well as a Master of Arts in divergent learning from Columbia College. She also earned an Educational Specialist in teaching with an emphasis in language and literacy from the University of South Carolina.
She holds certifications in K–12 special education and emotional disabilities, the Read to Succeed Literacy Teacher, and Read to Succeed Coach.
Gaskins, a past-president of the South Carolina Literacy Leaders, is a member of Phi Delta Kappan, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Learning Forward South Carolina, and the National Association for Professional Development Schools.