120717 Schools: Waccamaw Intermediate principal is best in the state
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Tim Carnahan learned of the award this week on a visit to the cafeteria.

Schools: Waccamaw Intermediate principal is best in the state

By Emily Topper
Coastal Observer

Tim Carnahan thought the students were quiet as he walked to the cafeteria where students were eating lunch Wednesday. Too quiet.

“There should have been a lot more noise,” Carnahan said. “I knew something was up.”

Walking through the cafeteria doors, Carnahan was greeted by the cheers of students, faculty, staff and school board members. A banner reading ‘Congratulations!’ was taped to the wall.

Carnahan has been Waccamaw’s principal since the school opened 10 years ago. He was named the 2018 South Carolina Elementary Principal of the Year by the S.C. Association of School Administrators this week.

“I am really speechless right now, but very appreciative,” Carnahan told the crowd. “Thank you so much.”

Carnahan was nominated for the award by Dee Marshall, who teaches science lab.

“As a veteran teacher, it’s nice to work with the best,” Marshall said. “I don’t have enough good things to say about this man. He’s supported me 100 percent, and it’s not just me. It’s every teacher in this school. The students here come first and he does what’s best for kids.”

Carnahan is currently in his 26th year working in the Georgetown County School District. He taught third and fourth grade at McDonald Elementary in Georgetown, later becoming assistant principal.

He worked at Sampit and Pleasant Hill elementary schools before spending three years at the district office.

“But that was not me,” Carnahan said. “I appreciate the support and what they do in the district, but I’m a principal. I want to be hands-on with students.”

When Waccamaw Intermediate School opened its doors 10 years ago, Carnahan was named principal by Superintendent Randy Dozier, who was on hand for the award. “I knew it was the right thing to do when I hired [him] 10 years ago to be the principal here,” Dozier said. “We’re very proud of him. I think it speaks well of Waccamaw and their achievements.”

Barbara Nesmith is the assistant principal at Waccamaw, and she has known Carnahan since their time working together at McDonald Elementary.

“I certainly think he’s deserving,” Nesmith said. “He’s there for the children. There’s no stopping in what he’ll do for the kids and their success.”

In 2016, Waccamaw Intermediate was named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

For Carnahan’s wife, Michelle Carnahan, both awards are a testament to her husband’s dedication to students.

“I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “He works tirelessly. He’ll be in bed at three in the morning answering emails. Tim is always going to do what’s best for the children.”

“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Carnahan said. “This is my second home.”

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