A new group, calling itself Citizens Working Together for Great Schools, is working to get four members elected to the Charleston County School Board.
The group is backing candidates John Barter, Jim Ramich, Mattese Lecque and Todd Garrett.
"They all want the School Board to stop the in-fighting and start focusing on helping our kids succeed," CWTGS Chair Ginny Deerin said in a press release announcing the endorsements. "That’s why a group of concerned citizens has come together to work hard to elect these four great candidates on November 6."
The group says a divisive and combative atmosphere has existed on the School Board for a number of years and that the candidates it is supporting have the qualities to change that dynamic.
The group's Executive Committee includes Deerin, JA Moore, Bill Hewitt and Theron Snype.
The CWTGS' positions are summed up as generally supportive of Superintendent Nancy McGinley's, but with a focus on implementing the School District's Vision 2016 plan and providing accountability for District leadership. The group also wants to keep the Board's primary focus on the traditional public school system, and focus less on charter schools.
John Barter spent 25 years with AlliedSignal Corp. (now Honeywell) including six years as chief financial officer and three as president of the automotive products sector. He also serves on the boards of Charleston Promise Neighborhood, the Charleston Education Network and the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation.
Todd Garrett served two tours in Iraq and is a major in the Marine Corps Reserve. He is also president and founder of MicroCapital, LLC, which is a nonprofit bank that makes microloans to businesswomen in Peru. Garrett also serves as vice president of Amazon Missions for Medical Missions, Inc., and he received the 2010 "Service Above Self" award from Rotary International.
Mattese Lecque is a member of the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission. She had a 24-year career in the U.S. Department of Justice and retired after 30 years as a major in the Medical Service Corps of the Army Reserves.
James Ramich is a former Executive Vice President with Corning and has worked with start-up companies in a venture capital capacity. He is also a member of the board, and former chairman of the MUSC Heart & Vascular Hospital, and he serves on the board of OLM Outreach.
Citizens Working Together for Great Schools is a non-candidate committee, which means it is required to register with the South Carolina State Ethics Commission if it expects to spend more than $500 in the current election cycle. It is also allowed to act as a bundler for candidates, collecting checks from multiple donors and transferring them to candidates.