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Waccamaw Middle: Principal leaving for private sector job

By Roger Greene
Coastal Observer

Bill Dwyer will step down as principal at Waccamaw Middle School at the end of the year to take a job in business. He sent a letter of resignation this week to Superintendent Randy Dozier.

Deciding to end a 13-year career in public education was not easy for Dwyer. But when an opportunity presented itself with Gray World LLC Dwyer felt it was too good to pass up. Gray World is an asset protection company with offices in Chicago, Austin, Texas, and San Diego as well as Charleston.

“It was certainly not an easy decision to make,” said Dwyer. “It was a very deliberate process that I went through. I was not looking to leave. This opportunity just kind of fell into my lap. But once I saw what it was about, I didn’t think I could turn it down.

“I’ve been blessed to be at Waccamaw Middle. We have great students, parents, faculty and staff. And this is such

a great community. It’s hard to leave all that. But this is something I feel that I need to try.”

“I was a little surprised by it,” Dozier said.

When he hired Dwyer in 2008, Dozier told him he was looking for a long-term commitment. Dwyer was the third principal at the middle school in three years, and the fourth since the school opened in 2001.

“This is something that he had been considering for awhile,” Dozier said. “He’s a young guy, and I understand that.”

Dwyer, 40, will remain until the end of the school year and will start his new endeavor on July 1.

“One of the things I told them is that I would not leave until school is over,” Dwyer said. “Leaving any earlier would have had a negative impact on the school and those involved and I didn’t want to do that.

“We have a great school. And I certainly want to be on hand to help with the transition for the person who is chosen to replace me.”

The district will post the Waccamaw Middle School opening next week and Dozier hopes to have a new principal named by June. The process will include a community meeting with the finalists, Dozier said.

Dwyer will assume a management role with Gray World, being involved with aspects like threat assessment and risk management, as well as helping to develop strategies for estate planning and asset protection. He expects the skills he has learned as principal will serve him well in his new career.

“A lot of the skills are transferable,” Dwyer said. “At school, we’re given mandates from the state and we have to engineer the process by which we will meet those standards.

“What I will be doing is not that much different, at least in terms of the process. There will be goals and measures that we have to attain and I will be aligning things to make sure those are reached.”

Travel will be a part of Dwyer’s new job and there is the possibility that he will have to relocate to Charleston.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to travel and network with people I ordinarily wouldn’t get to meet,” Dwyer said. “I’ll be working one-on-one with clients to help them meet their needs.”

Dwyer grew up at Pawleys Island and graduated from Georgetown High. He came to Waccamaw Middle after two years as principal of an alternative school in West Virginia.

Dwyer originally applied for principal at Waccamaw High, but that job went to David Hammel, who had been principal at the middle school for a year. Dwyer was picked to replace Hammel.

“I didn’t know what to expect when we first started, I’m not sure anyone did,” Dwyer said. “I just wanted to help give something back to the community I grew up in.

“I think we have exceeded most expectations. I’m proud of the work we’ve done, from making AYP in 2010 and 2011 to winning Palmetto Gold awards three years in a row. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

When asked what he’ll miss most, all Dwyer had to do was look down the hall.

“Definitely the people,” Dwyer said. “I’ll miss the relationships I’ve built with students and the level of support and friendship that I have received from the faculty and staff.

“I think the last couple of years I was hitting my stride as principal. I think we’ve done some of our best work during that time. I feel fortunate that I got to spend four years of my career here.”

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