New D29 finance director hopes to find more revenue

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Staff Writer

The new finance director for Williston District 29 hopes to keep the district financially sound while finding additional funds to give students more opportunities.
Relocating from Virginia Beach, Va., Charles Everhart began his duties March 3 after the school board hired him in February. "I'm very grateful for the opportunity," said Everhart, who brings more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors of finance.
While this is his first time overseeing a school district's finances, he spent 12 years in the public accounting field where he performed audits of municipalities' finances. He oversaw the cash management and payroll of 4,500 employees for the company that built the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston. Most recently, he was controller and director of property management for William E. Wood & Associates in Virginia where duties included monthly reconciliation of bank funds in excess of three million dollars per month.
Everhart said the district has been "well managed", something he plans to continue as he prepares the budget for the 2014-15 school year, which will be presented to the board for first reading May 20. "I know budgets," he said.
As part of the ongoing budget process, Everhart said he wants to find additional funds to help the district institute more programs to benefit students. The father of four said he's seen how advanced courses and programs such as art have paid off in preparing his children for the real world, including getting his son into a competitive engineering program at Virginia Tech.
"The next generation is what's going to make the country strong," he said. "They need every tool possible. If what I do contributes to the overall success of kids then the kids are the winners."
Another aspect of Everhart's job involves making sure the district complies with federal and state guidelines, something he has experience with.
He pledges to keep the board and administrators updated on accurate numbers so they know where the district stands financially. "Communication is just not talking, but making sure they understand," he said.
Everhart said he is excited to be a part of District 29 and the community as a whole, and working with everyone to help the students. He has already met many people, including school officials, Barnwell County Treasurer Wendy Gibson, and business owners.
Besides the good things he's heard about the district, Everhart said the location drew him to Williston. He has family in Columbia, and his mother lives in his hometown of Thomasville, N.C., which is near Charlotte. Plus, South Carolina is warmer than Virginia Beach, said Everhart, who couldn't make his original interview with the district because of a storm that eventually dumped nine inches of snow in his yard.
Working for a school district is also meaningful to Everhart, who originally wanted to be a business and accounting teacher, however, Uncle Sam called. After serving in the military, including at Fort Jackson in Columbia, he went back to school and earned an accounting degree.