SDPC announces Leadership changes for 2023-24

The School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees approved three leadership positions at the April 17, 2023, called meeting. These positions include:

  • Dr. Ashley Anderson-Murray – Director of Teacher Evaluation and Coaching
  • Andy Holliday – Principal at Forest Acres Elementary
  • Andrew Shipman – Principal at Crosswell Elementary

These leaders will begin their new positions at the conclusion of the 2022-23 school year (they begin on July 1).

Dr. Ashley Anderson-Murray, currently the principal of Forest Acres Elementary, has been selected as the Director of Teacher Evaluation and Coaching for the  School District of Pickens County.  

Dr. Anderson-Murray currently serves as principal of Forest Acres Elementary. She joined Forest Acres Elementary as assistant principal in 2018.

Prior to joining Forest Acres, Anderson-Murray was an assistant professor of education at the University of South Carolina Upstate, and an adjunct professor of education at TriCounty Technical College. Her prior school leadership experience includes serving as an assistant administrator at Mauldin Elementary School. She spent ten years as a classroom teacher at Monaview Elementary School and Wren Elementary School.

Dr. Anderson-Murray continues to be a lifelong learner as she maintains her certification as a National Board Certified Teacher since 2010. She was also recently selected as a member of the Educator Advisory Board for the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET). In March 2023, Forest Acres’ work with NIET earned national recognition as Forest Acres was named as a Finalist for the prestigious NIET Founder’s Award. 

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ashley Anderson-Murray as Director of Teacher Evaluation and Coaching,” said Dr. Seth  Young, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. “Dr. Murray has experience in many educational roles and will bring her  vast instructional knowledge to a role focused on supporting teachers. In a time when recruiting and keeping effective teachers  is vital, this role will be crucial in providing support and advancing teacher leadership and practices that deliver solid results for  students.” 

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College at Claflin University and her Master of  Arts degree in Learning Disabilities from Furman University. Anderson-Murray earned her Doctorate of Education in Educational  Leadership from the University of Phoenix. 

When teachers feel they are supported in making instructional decisions, they are empowered,” said Anderson-Murray. “The  intentionality that SDPC has for building the capacity of schools and teachers to meet the needs of all students is admirable! Collaborating with teachers to ensure high-quality instructional strategies are transferred to every classroom will result in  sustained improvements. I am honored to be a part of this commitment to excellence. It is humbling that I get to extend my reach  to positively support teachers and student learning across Pickens County. “ 

On Monday, April 17, 2023, the School District of Pickens County (SDPC) Board of Trustees approved the Superintendent’s recommendation for Mr. Andy Holliday to become the next principal at Forest Acres Elementary, beginning July 1, 2023.  

This follows the departure of current principal, Dr. Ashley Anderson-Murray, as she was announced as the Director of Teacher Evaluation and Coaching at the end of the 2022-23 school year. 

Mr. Holliday is currently the principal of Crosswell Elementary School, also in Pickens County, where he has served since 2014. Prior to this, Holliday was assistant principal at Crosswell from 2012-2014. Prior to joining Crosswell, Holliday was a Special Education teacher at Pickens Elementary for 6 years and also served as an assistant varsity football coach at Pickens High School. He earned a B.S. in Special Education from Southern Wesleyan University and obtained his Master of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from Clemson  University. 

We have been very impressed with Mr. Holliday as principal at Crosswell Elementary over the past nine years,” said  Superintendent Dr. Danny Merck. “Having deep roots in Easley, he is well prepared as a successful veteran principal with  relationships already developed in the Forest Acres community. We are very excited to see what he will do as the leader of  Forest Acres in the future.” 

I am extremely excited about this opportunity – I feel like I am returning home,” said Holliday. “As an alumnus of Forest Acres, I  never dreamed that I would one day be able to serve as principal at the place that had such an impact on my life. I look forward to working with the Forest Acres family to continue a tradition of excellence for students in our community. I am humbled and blessed that the School District of Pickens County has entrusted me to be the next principal of Forest Acres.” 

Holliday, his wife Libby, and their son Brock (16) currently reside in Easley. 

On Monday, April 17, 2023, the School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees approved the Superintendent’s recommendation for Mr. Andrew Shipman to become the next principal of Crosswell Elementary School beginning July 1, 2023.

This follows the departure of the current principal, Andy Holliday, as Holliday will become the principal at Forest Acres Elementary at the end of the 2022-23 school year. 

“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Andrew Shipman as  the new principal of Crosswell Elementary School,” said Superintendent Dr. Danny Merck. “As a successful assistant principal at McKissick Academy, Mr. Shipman has shown great  leadership. His deep experience with special education brings a skillset that is very valuable in administration. Mr. Shipman has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, a strong  commitment to education, and a genuine passion for working with students.” 

Mr. Shipman is currently the assistant principal of McKissick Academy of Science and Technology, where he has served since  2019. Prior to this, he was an assistant principal at Robert Anderson Middle School in Anderson, SC. Before moving into  administration, Shipman was a self-contained and resource/inclusion Special Education Teacher at Pickens Middle School and  Pickens High School. He earned a B.A. in Special Education from Clemson University, a M.S.S. in Sports Management from the  U.S. Sports Academy, and a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Anderson University. 

When I began as a student teacher, Mr. Holliday was my supervising teacher. I am honored to be selected to follow him as  principal to serve the students, faculty, staff, and community of Crosswell,” said Mr. Shipman. “I believe in the power of  collaboration and communication, and I’m committed to working closely with the Crosswell team to develop innovative solutions  to the challenges we face. I am committed to fostering a culture where we are always striving to be better and do better for our  students.” 

Shipman is married to his wife Megan who is a fellow educator in the School District of Pickens County. Andrew and Megan  have two children, Anna (8) and JP (7).