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Executive Directors

In alignment with principal supervisor research conducted by Vanderbilt University and Mathematica Policy Research, and the University of Washington's DL2 Principal Supervisor Performance Standards, Beaufort County School District executive directors supervise our district principals with a focus on instructional leadership.

With a combined 60 years of culmulative experience serving in our school district, Chad Cox, Ed.D., Mona Lise Dickson, Ed.D., and Celestine LaVan, Ed.D., are tasked with a portfolio of schools to effect change and liaise between the district office and their assigned schools. Their exposure and presence affords them both central office and school-based perspectives, ensuring policies and procedures are effective and efficient.

Their No.1 priority is to ensure principals have what they need to move student learning and achievement forward.

— Dr. Frank Rodriguez, Superintendent

Email Dr. Cox or call 

Email Dr. Dickson or call

Email Dr. LaVan or call

Chad Cox, Ed.D.

Executive Director of Secondary Education

Chad Cox has 18 years of educational experience, all at Beaufort County School District schools. He started his education career as a social studies teacher at Battery Creek High School in 2003 and went on to serve as freshman academy assistant principal.

Chad has also served as the assistant principal of instruction at two district schools, Robert Smalls International Academy and Whale Branch Early College High. He was the principal at Whale Branch Middle from 2015 to 2017, and most recently, the principal of Battery Creek High, which is recognized as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School. Chad was a member of the SC Army National Guard from 1999 through 2006, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Chad earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Clemson University and a master’s degree in secondary education from Cambridge College. He holds an education specialist degree from South Carolina State University and recently earned a doctorate degree in Education Leadership from South Carolina State University.

Mona Lise Dickson, Ed.D.

Executive Director of School Transformation

Mona Lise Dickson has 28 years of educational experience, 27 with the Beaufort County School District. She began her career teaching mathematics at Beaufort High in 1994 where she went on to serve as the dean of academics and as an assistant building principal.

Mona Lise has served as principal at three district schools, Whale Branch Middle, Lady’s Island Middle (which became STEM certified under her tenure), and Whale Branch Early College High where she proudly lead the Warrior Nation since 2015. While there, Dickson expanded the Early College Program by adding CTE courses, and spearheaded the first high school dental program in SC.

Mona Lise earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Rollins College and a master’s degree in education in administration licensure from Cambridge College. She holds an education specialist degree from The Citadel and a doctorate degree in Educational and Organizational Leadership Development from Clemson University. Mona Lise is an award-winning leader, having been honored with the TAP Founder’s Award, the National Change Leader’s Award, and the Gene Bottoms Pacesetter Award from the Southern Regional Education Board.

Celestine LaVan, Ed.D.

Executive Director of Elementary Schools

Celestine LaVan has 17 years of educational experience. She returned to the Beaufort County School District after serving as Director for Elementary & Middle Schools in Darlington County. Prior to this, she spent eight years at Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary, two as an assistant principal, and six as principal.

Under Celestine's direction, Joseph S. Shanklin earned Leader in Me Lighthouse status and Palmetto Gold and Silver Growth and Achievement awards.

Celestine also has higher education experience, teaching curriculum and instruction courses as an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University since 2016. LaVan served in the United States Navy as an analyst from 1993 to 1997.

Celestine earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in Education from Ashford University. She holds an education specialist/leadership degree and a doctorate degree in educational leadership, both from Liberty University. She is a frequent presenter at education conferences across the state and was named a SC Educator of Excellence 2019 awardee by the SC Association of Black School Educators.