DCSD’s Dr. B. Jane Hursey to retire after nearly five decades
Sixty-four years after she entered the Darlington County School District (DCSD) as a student and 47 years since she began teaching there, Dr. B. Jane Hursey will retire.
She has spent a lifetime guiding and growing students and adults across a career that spanned from South Carolina to Tennessee, Virginia to Texas, and back again. Hursey has touched countless lives with her kind heart, fierce faith and grand intellect.
Oscillating between tears and joy, she sat in her office, searching for the words to describe her lifelong pursuit of promoting education.
“God surrounded me with so many wonderful people – committed teachers, custodians and secretaries – that often made me look good and taught me so much,” she said. “It was more than just a job. It was always a family. My career feels like a long string of callings and preparations from God. It is a very privileged platform to work in education
” Hursey spent the past 14 years as the director and assistant superintendent of Human Resources for DCSD. Her office, tucked away in the corner of her department, feels less like an office and entirely like an old, cozy den. Photos of students, parents, colleagues and friends from far and wide, young and old, stamp nearly every inch of the walls (and windows). There are handwritten letters and typed responses alongside comical figurines and inspirational quotes dangling from every corner and desk. Of course, there’s a mountain of paperwork one would expect in the workspace of a Human Resources executive, but that’s an afterthought to a visitor.
She tried to describe some of the lessons her career impressed upon her.
“Treat people the way you would want to be treated. That is the best philosophy when you hold a position in a school district,” she said. “If you lose sight of the relationship and the heart of a child, then you’ve missed the essence of effective education. We cannot raise a generation without heart, because then it wouldn’t really matter what you put in their heads.”
In the fall of 1974, Spring Elementary School in Darlington hired Hursey as a fourth grade teacher. Spring Elementary no longer exists, but a few years later she returned from Vanderbilt University, where she worked as a graduate assistant in the Department of Elementary Education, as a sixth grade teacher. In rapid succession, Hursey moved to St. John’s Elementary as the youngest assistant principal in the district and then back to Spring Elementary as acting principal. She eventually became principal at Spring Elementary and remained there until 1985.
From 1986 to 1988, she served as a graduate instructor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She returned to Darlington for a year as a director of Elementary Education before trekking halfway across the country to Houston. She spent 14 years as the superintendent of Second Baptist School, a three-school system that serves pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.
In the fall of 2005, Hursey returned once again to DCSD as a grant administrator, albeit briefly. She quickly became the district’s interim personnel director and, eventually, the director of Human Resources before a title change to assistant superintendent thereafter.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Furman University anda Master of Science in School Administration from the George Peabody College for Teachers at Vanderbilt University. Hursey earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Education from the University of Virginia in 1989.
Her professional accomplishments are varied and extensive, such as the 2012 Darlington County Educator of the Year and the 2003 Texas Educator of the Year as selected by the Texas Association of Baptist Schools. She has been a member of Coker University’s Teacher Education Advisory Committee, the Pee Dee Education Center’s Regional Board of Directors and the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. Of course, no portrait of Barbara Jane Hursey would be complete without sketching in the immutable love and respect she holds for her parents, the late Edward and Christine Hursey, and her brother, Steven.
The granddaughter of a man who rode his horse to St. John’s as a student, she will retire from DCSD at June’s conclusion. She began her career at Spring Elementary, and her replacement, Chuck Miller, traces his roots back to Spring, too. He was a first grade student there when Hursey was principal.
I have a deep and abiding affection for Darlington, this community and the people and children here,” she explained. “We are very fortunate to have such committed people here, and we are fortunate to have wonderfully gifted children here. There is nothing more wonderful than the journey to discover that gift in each and every child. My children will stay with me as long as I have breath, and even then, I believe love is eternal. So, I will look for them in heaven.”