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New Chief of HR to prioritize employment experience

Published Monday, September 19, 2022

As a child, Dr. Andrea Sturkey would observe her father, a school principal, working to make sure his faculty and staff felt valued. He would often hold special events for school employees, sometimes even at the family’s home. The goals – to make sure employees had an enjoyable work experience and that students had the best learning environment possible.

Those observations of her father are what have driven Dr. Sturkey in her career, with the last 15 years, focused heavily on employee relations in human resources leadership roles.

In August, Dr. Sturkey began a new chapter in her journey, after being named Berkeley County School District’s Chief Human Resources Officer. There are new faces and new places, but Dr. Sturkey says her focus remains the same.

“Both of my parents were educators,” she said. “My father was a principal who began his career as a high school math teacher, and my mother was a high school science teacher who ended her career as a school counselor. They were both passionate about making sure children were safe and educated. They were also committed to taking care of the people they worked with. Their beliefs framed how I approach leadership and service.”

It should come as no surprise that the family atmosphere of BCSD is what lured Dr. Sturkey to 107 E. Main Street in Moncks Corner. She says the family theme across the district is compelling, and she hopes to build upon it as she aims to ensure more employees feel like they are a part of something bigger than their daily tasks and responsibilities. She hopes to also aid in extending that family theme into the rapidly-growing community.

“Our employees need to have a great employment experience, but they also need a great community experience. Our employees are not just giving back to the students. What they do impacts the whole community. Although we must ensure that our employees operate in a great work culture, we also have to engage our stakeholders and community partners. We value their thoughts and ideas on how best to enrich our communities.”

Dr. Sturkey believes that employee engagement is a key factor in an organization's success. Making sure employees feel valued begins with collaboration, honoring employee voice and making sure school and district leaders are approachable and receptive to innovative ideas.

"When we are focused on developing high levels of employment engagement,  we experience high levels of talent recruitment, retention, and organizational performance. When employees  feel comfortable, they feel they are connected and valued members of the district’s team. They feel their voices will be heard and they will be treated fairly,” she said. “It also builds trust, which allows us to be more effective in our efforts to provide comprehensive services that will ensure we are meeting the needs of the students and staff.”

When it comes to meeting those needs, Dr. Sturkey has prioritized employee development, retention and recruitment efforts. She has a vision that includes BCSD being a leading district in those areas and becoming known for cutting-edge, high-yield recruitment and retention strategies.

The vision also includes a focus on strategic partnerships and collaboration.

Dr. Sturkey is a 1990 graduate of Francis Marion College. She obtained her M.Ed from Winthrop University in 1999 and her Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University in 2015.