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Richland School District Two has hired a staff attorney. Karla McLawhorn Hawkins is the first to hold the position of General Counsel for Richland Two. As General Counsel, Hawkins is responsible for providing legal services to the district’s Board of Trustees and providing legal counsel to the superintendent and district staff.

Hawkins joins Richland Two most recently from the South Carolina Department of Education, where she served as Deputy State Superintendent for six years and Deputy General Counsel for seven years. She began her legal career in 1997 as an assistant public defender with the Richland County Public Defender’s Office. She has been a staff attorney for the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee and the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation; and an associate for Duff, White and Boykin, L.L.C., and partner in Boykin, Davis and Hawkins, L.L.C.

Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Baron R. Davis says Hawkins has provided legal services for many school districts and she possesses a vast knowledge of laws that pertain to public education. “Counsel Hawkins will use her expertise to execute a broad list of duties and responsibilities for Richland Two that includes providing legal opinions, legal interpretations, and recommendations to ensure the district maintains compliance with local, state, and federal regulations,” said Dr. Davis.

“As general counsel and a Richland Two parent, I value the well-being of the Richland School District Two community. I plan to utilize my 20-plus years of legal and senior management experience to provide effective legal representation in furtherance of the district’s mission,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins will coordinate compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); maintain the district’s policy manual and participate in the development of district policies and regulations, ensuring that policies are current and accurate in form. She will provide leadership in many areas to include risk management, administrative investigations, contract negotiations, and she will represent the district in student disciplinary and personnel matters when required.

Hawkins graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English Education from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. She also received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina, School of Law in Columbia.