Columbia County schools Deputy Superintendent Sandra Carraway is the lone finalist to replace retiring Superintendent Charles Nagle.
School board members spent more than an hour interviewing Carraway for the superintendent position in closed session before emerging to vote Carraway as the finalist.
“I’m excited and humbled at the same time,” she said.
Carraway was one of 18 candidates who applied for the job. A 14-member search committee narrowed the list to two on Nov. 8, including Carraway and an out-of-state candidate.
The other candidate withdrew, said board attorney Pete Fletcher. That finalist’s name was not disclosed.
Carraway, a Harlem High School graduate, received her doctorate in education administration from Georgia Southern University in 2001.
Having worked all but three years of her education career within the county, Carraway has spent the past five years as deputy superintendent.
“I couldn’t work for a better school system,” she said.
Carraway’s aspirations of one day becoming the superintendent began nearly six years ago when she was hired to serve under Nagle, she said.
“I’ve been studying for a long time,” said Carraway, calling Nagle a great mentor.
Carraway said she looks forward to continuing the “tradition of excellence” in the county’s schools.
“My primary goal will be to ensure that every day when the students and teachers come to school that they have what they need to get the best education possible in a great school system,” she said.
From early on, Carraway appeared to be the front-runner.
“To say she was the strongest ... without a doubt, she was,” said board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco.
Carraway’s experience within the school system as well as her strong leadership ability made her an ideal finalist, Buccafusco added.
“We’ll see a different person than we see as Sandra Carraway, deputy superintendent,” Buccafusco said.
By state law, a decision to formally name Carraway as the next superintendent can’t be made until 14 days elapse.