2020 Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award
June 24, 2020: On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the Lexington One Educational Foundation presented the 2020 Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award to Mrs. Melissa C. Rawl at the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees meeting. Established by the Foundation in 2005, this award recognizes an outstanding and deserving administrator in the district, while also honoring an esteemed administrator from the original Lexington School District One staff of 1952, the late Mr. Joseph M. Bedenbaugh.
Mr. Bedenbaugh worked in the district for 36 years serving as a seventh grade math teacher, principal and assistant superintendent for personnel and federal programs. He was also a World War II veteran who served in the United States Air Force. The Foundation honors Mr. Bedenbaugh as its leadership presents the award to a contemporary administrator at the end of each year.
Mrs. Rawl has exhibited outstanding servant leadership and loyalty to education in Lexington School District One for more than 20 years. She began her teaching career in 1978 at Brookland-Cayce High School in Lexington School District Two. She moved to Airport High in 1979 as a teacher and department chair, and joined Lexington District One’s Gilbert High School in 1997 as a teacher and department chair. In 1998, Mrs. Rawl moved to Lexington High School, where she served as a teacher and the district’s secondary summer school coordinator before becoming an assistant principal in 2001, then principal in 2011.
Mrs. Rawl’s Lexington High School colleagues shared many kind words about her in the Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award nomination packet. One said that she builds intentional connections with everyone and exemplifies school spirit and good sportsmanship. Another said that Mrs. Rawl’s constant smile demonstrates her supportive and encouraging attitude as she celebrates success and personal growth. Many also mentioned her commitment to leading with the three Ps: positivity, professionalism and public relations. A Lexington High School graduate herself, one LHS teacher said that Melissa Rawl is “the true definition of a Wildcat” who makes teachers and students feel appreciated, safe and valued.
Mrs. Rawl’s list of accomplishments are long, but highlights include 2018 S.C. Athletic Administrators Association 5A Principal of the Year; 2017 Lexington Rotary Club Lee Bullington Spirit Award winner; 2014 Palmetto Center for Women TWIN Award recipient; 2008 SCASA South Carolina Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year; and 2000 Lexington High School Teacher of the Year finalist.
Due to social distancing guidelines implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic, friends and colleagues were unable to join Mrs. Rawl to celebrate the award presented to such a deserving Lexington One administrator. However, her family did attend to show their love and support.