Columbia Star

Farewell, Mr. McClure!

Richard McClure resigned as principal at A.C. Flora High School after 11 years.

Richard McClure resigned as principal at A.C. Flora High School after 11 years.

Richard McClure resigned as principal of A.C. Flora High School Friday, June 2 and leaves a legacy of success.

A number of factors led to the longtime Flora principal’s decision to step down including the long commute. His home is in Greenville. Another factor was financial.

McClure also felt he had accomplished everything he set out to do at A.C. Flora. When he met with a parent group 11 years ago, he promised he would stay five years. While more than doubling his time commitment, McClure’s tenure as principal at A.C. Flora will be remembered for more than just honoring his word.

A.C. Flora students have excelled in the classroom and on the athletic field under McClure’s watch. In athletics, the Falcons have won state championships in at least ten sports: boys’ golf, boys’ tennis, baseball, and boys’ basketball. They have also competed for state titles in lacrosse and football.

It has been nearly impossible over the last 11 years to attend a sporting event without seeing McClure. It is something he takes pride in.

“I feel like that’s an important part of what being a principal of a high school is about,” McClure said.

“It’s not all about sitting down talking about problems students have or the problems of the school: it’s the sharing in the joy of sports.”

He didn’t just attend sporting events. He also attended art, band, orchestra, dance, and chorus performances.

However, his proudest accomplishment is what the students achieved in the classroom. During his tenure, McClure has seen the number of students taking at least one AP class more than quadruple from 140 to 580. The National Honor Society has grown from approximately 40 kids with at least a 3.25 entry level GPA to as high as 115 students with no less than a 3.75 GPA.

The amount of scholarship money A.C. Flora students have earned has almost tripled.

“We’ve gotten the students and parents to buy in,” McClure said. “I think the culture of the school has changed enormously. It’s hard to identify just one thing I’m most proud of. Clearly the academic improvement in this school has been remarkable.”

Word began leaking of McClure’s resignation. A letter he sent to the A.C. Flora parents circulated on Twitter. In the letter, he thanked the parents and spoke highly to be associated with so many who have brought an incredible energy in support of the school mission and himself.

McClure feels A.C. Flora is well-positioned for the future when a new principal will be patrolling the hallways.

“I think our kids have so many opportunities,” McClure said. “It’s important to take advantage of those opportunities. We have a very rich, diverse, and challenging curriculum with the IB, the AP honors level classes, Heyward Career Academy, and opportunities to go into the military. I think we are giving kids opportunities to be successful in life if they’ll take advantage of it. It’s all here.”

McClure said he will be moving into the private sector.

While he turned in his resignation June 2, he will remain at A.C. Flora through most of June to help with the transition.

“I feel like we’ve got Flora where we’ve wanted it to be,” McClure said. “It’s a good time to pass the baton. I think everybody has a shelf life wherever they are, and this is just a good opportunity and time for me to make a change.”

A.C. Flora’s PTSO, SIC, and Booster Club will host a drop-in reception for Principal McClure Thursday, June 15 in the school atrium from 5:30–7:30 p.m.

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