Hankins fills spot on board

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

School board members knew finding a replacement for Rock Hill legend Carl Gene Large was never going to be easy, so the board opted for a very familiar face — longtime educator Dennie Hankins.

The board voted 3-1 to appoint Hankins to fill the approximate 17 months remaining on the first two years of Large’s seat on the school board. Large died earlier this month. The position will be put on the November ballot for someone to fill the final two years.

The 61-year-old Hankins is no stranger to Rock Hill school leaders or district voters. Hankins taught history in the district for more than 20 years, served as high school assistant principal for another five and was acting principal for a short time last year while Steve Lambert filled in as acting superintendent.

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Hankins also served as principal at Symmes Valley High School and later to found and currently serve as pastor at Franklin Furnace Christian Academy. He ran for the school board in 2003, falling short by less than 75 votes.

“It is very humbling to come back to such a noteworthy position having started at Rock Hill as a fledgling teacher in 1971-72,” Hankins said. “I was born and raised here and always had an affinity for my home district I graduated from in 1963.

“It is not only humbling, it is exciting to be able to work with a united board and begin exploring ways competent teachers and administrators can take district to next level.”

By focusing on technology, quality curriculum and professionalism, the district has the potential to lead the way in the county and rise to its full potential, Hankins said.

Four other candidates had expressed interest in the position — residents Rick Rogers, Lawrence Bailey, Phyllis Mullins and former board member Troy Hardy.

Superintendent Lloyd Evans proposed calling a special meeting to interview candidates, but board member Lavetta Sites cited state law that states the vacancy should be filled at the next regular meeting if it falls past 10 days but less than 30 from vacancy.

Board member Wanda Jenkins agreed and made the motion to hire Hankins.

“I feel we have made a wonderful choice,” Jenkins said, with Sites agreeing.

Board member Paul R. Johnson also voted in favor of Hankins. Board president Jackie Harris cast the dissenting vote and said she thought all the candidates should have been more carefully considered.

“I would have preferred to have interviewed all the candidates and give them equal consideration,” she said.

Though Hankins was greeted with rousing applause from the audience, vocal resident Mullins may have also hit on a note that many seemed to agree with.

“None of us will able to fill Carl Large’s shoes but they might take his seat.”

Hankins will have his shot and got right to work, voting on a few issues before heading to executive session with the rest of the board to discuss the district’s head basketball coach vacancy.