Meet Our Superintendent
Dr. Craig Witherspoon began his duties as superintendent of Richland County School District One on March 23, 2015. Richland One serves more than 24,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at 52 schools and centers in Columbia, South Carolina. Prior to joining Richland One, Dr. Witherspoon was the superintendent of Birmingham City Schools in Birmingham, Alabama and Edgecombe County Public Schools in Tarboro, North Carolina.
He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, his master’s degree from Old Dominion University and his education specialist and doctorate degrees in education administration from The George Washington University. He has been an educational practitioner for over 27 years. His professional experiences include being an instrumental music teacher, a middle and high school principal, an instructional improvement officer and a superintendent, working in urban, suburban and rural settings in Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama.
As a chief executive officer, Dr. Witherspoon has experienced many successes improving student outcomes, enhancing academic programming and increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness. In his previous district, he realized a 24-point increase in the graduation rate and a four-point decrease in the dropout rate. His additional successes include doubling the number of Advanced Placement test takers and implementing International Baccalaureate programming at the primary, middle and diploma program levels. He also implemented a dropout recovery program, increased pre-K classrooms by 40 percent and led strategic processes to realize increased student outcomes through district-wide instructional focus and accountability processes.
Dr. Witherspoon has been instrumental in the implementation of data-driven systems and processes that improved effectiveness and efficiencies, including zero-based budgeting methodologies, work to complete a $400 million capital program and $22 million in technology upgrades, and the digitization of over 8.5 million paper documents. He also worked collaboratively with the Alabama Department of Education to improve the school system’s fund balance from $2 million to over $22 million, while continuing to augment academic offerings, including seven career academies as a part of high school redesign reform efforts.
His other prior successes include the implementation of a 1:1 laptop program in the high schools and efforts to introduce more rigorous instructional programming to include increasing SAT and PSAT participation, adding Algebra I in the middle grades and enhancing programs for academically gifted students.
Dr. Witherspoon is a strong and passionate advocate for public education and its role in improving student outcomes. He has worked as an adjunct professor and served on the Council of the Great City Schools Executive Committee and on accreditation teams for schools and school systems in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. He was selected as the Alabama District 5 finalist for Superintendent of the Year, and he was named one of the Top 10 Tech-Savvy Superintendents by eSchool News.
Dr. Witherspoon is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities. He is married to Dr. Monique Gardner Witherspoon and has one son, Cameron.