ANDERSON — Finding a permanent successor to Felix Chow as superintendent of Anderson Community Schools has taken longer than anyone expected, but the board of trustees finally found a candidate who's already earned high marks for leadership.
Barring any last-minute complications, the school board next Tuesday is expected to vote on and confirm Anderson High School Principal Terry Thompson as the next ACS superintendent.
The packed hearing room erupted in applause for Thompson after he was officially identified as the candidate Tuesday night during a public hearing to get public comments on the proposed contract for a new superintendent.
Board President Ben Gale said there were two strong finalists from a pool of 15 applicants, "but it appeared Terry had the experience necessary to make an impact on Anderson. He's really formed some very positive community partnerships, and is popular and respected by the AHS staff."
Mayor Kevin Smith, who was in the audience, said the school system and the city are joined together, because schools play such an important role in economic development.
Thompson, Smith said, "has worked with us already on some important issues where the school system and the city have common ground."
Thompson was named principal at Anderson High just a year ago, but has nearly 30 years experience as a teacher, coach, principal and adjunct professor.
Board member Stephanie Moran said she was surprised by the spontaneous applause from the audience when Thompson was named.
"When patrons make a statement like that, they're demonstrating confidence," she said. "I was thrilled to see students, parents, staff, city officials and business folks there. That was the response of the community."
Gale added that the audience's reaction "speaks to the impact he's already had."
Tom Forkner, president of the Anderson Federation of Teachers, said Thompson has done a good job as principal at the high school and worked well with staff.