2021 Administrator of the Year

Educational Foundation presented the 2021 Administrator of the Year Award

June 3, 2021


 Kathryn McPhail, Lexington District One Communications Director
PH: 803.821.1155
Julie Anderson Washburn, Lexington One Educational Foundation Executive Director
PH: 803.821.1008

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

June 3, 2021, LEXINGTON, S.C. — On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the Lexington One Educational Foundation presented the 2021 Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award to Mrs. Debbie R. Poole at the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees meeting. Established by the Foundation in 2005, this foundation 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 Educational Foundation honors Mr. Bedenbaugh annually as its leadership presents the award to a contemporary administrator at the end of each school year. 

Mrs. Poole currently serves as the Principal of Pelion Elementary School. She has exhibited an outstanding commitment to excellence in education in Lexington County School District One for almost 20 years. She began her teaching career in 1989 in Aiken County, SC, at Monetta Elementary. She joined the Lexington District One family in 2001 as a teacher at Oak Grove Elementary. In 2008, Mrs. Poole was promoted to Assistant Principal at New Providence Elementary and then was promoted and became the school’s Principal in 2015. 

In 2018, Mrs. Poole moved to become Principal at Pelion Elementary where she has embraced and uplifted the entire school family. Colleagues shared countless kind words about Mrs. Poole in the Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award nomination packet that was submitted to the Lexington One Educational Foundation. Individuals described her as a principal who sincerely loves the students and learning; demonstrates patience and kindness; genuinely cares for teachers, staff and students; balance personal fun and serious sides at work; meets the emotional and physical needs of her students; and is a great listener who is committed to educating students with a strategic vision in place. Mrs. Poole is also a leader inside and outside of the school and district, as is evidenced by a food drive she lead to support her school families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. She personally made home visits to deliver food to PES students and their families and was also instrumental in securing a therapy dog, Ren, to support the PES students. 

Mrs. Poole is a graduate of USC-Aiken with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Teaching. She also earned a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Teaching, as well as a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of South Carolina. 

Due to social distancing guidelines implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic, friends and colleagues were unable to join Mrs. Poole to celebrate the award presented to such a deserving Lexington One administrator. However, her husband and one of her two daughters was able to join us to show their love and support. 

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About Lexington School District One Educational Foundation Established in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Lexington One Educational Foundation is a source of growth and support for Lexington County School District One. Our mission is to support the district’s educational programs and enrich the quality of life in our community by raising and managing funds. Annually, the Foundation works to build partnerships with individuals and corporations in order to benefit our students, teachers, and schools. We plant seeds in our district that bloom into amazing educational opportunities for our students! To learn more about our mission and how to give, visit our website: www.lexington1.net/educationalfoundation. 

PHOTO: Julie Anderson Washburn, Lexington One Educational Foundation Executive Director; Debbie R. Poole, Pelion Elementary School Principal; Larry Poole, Pelion Middle School teacher and Pelion High Assistant Football Coach and Softball Coach; and Sarah Poole 


invested in Lexington District One in fiscal year 2022-2023


All K-2 students benefited from the Counting Collections for Mathematics Grant


Awarded in Scholarships and/or Higher Education Grants