GCSD’s Gaskins: The Mill Village, The School House and The Helping Hands

Georgetown County School District (GCSD) Board Chair William “Bill” Gaskins
Georgetown County School District (GCSD) Board Chair William “Bill” Gaskins

Clinton, S.C. natives, including Georgetown County School District (GCSD) Board Chair William “Bill” Gaskins, pronounce the name of the town “Klin-non.” The “t” remained silent until Gaskins made his way to the College of Charleston where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Upon graduation, Gaskins returned to the textile mill in Clinton, where he was employed for five years. Having been reared in a mill village, Gaskins found it to be the best place for helping him determine the next steps.

“It was a tough time to find a job, so I chose the path of working a mill. I was trained to manage a supply room,” said Gaskins. “I worked the second shift.

“After about two years, I started substituting in Lauren District 56. In (those) years, I discovered my calling.”

Gaskins immediately enrolled in Converse College, where he earned a master’s in elementary education, a teaching certificate and met his wife of now 35 years. He got his start in teaching in Spartanburg and Greenwood counties. His first teaching job in GCSD was at Rosemary Middle School. He invested eight years teaching sixth grade English/Language Arts (ELA), Social Studies and as a reading interventionist before another 8-year stint teaching fourth and fifth grade. Gaskins also worked as a technology coach at Carvers Bay Middle School.

“Having this experience has helped me with (the) decision-making our district faces,” said Gaskins. “I have a big heart for every student, staff member, teacher and administrator. All staff members have a special role in making sure our students have a great Pre-K through 12 experience. 

“Our focus has to center around the student.”

By the time he became employed in Berkeley County School District (BCSD), Gaskins could be found wearing many hats. He began working there as a Teaching American History grant facilitator and was then promoted to ELA coordinator. He became known for his technological skills, which led to yet another promotion.

“With my tech and literacy background, I led a virtual learning initiative for the district,” said Gaskins. “Before retiring in 2018, I developed a virtual learning program for high school students that included homebound instruction, make-up credits (and) students who transfer in from other states or countries.”

In 2015, Gaskins joined the board of directors for Helping Hands of Georgetown County, Inc. After retirement from BCSD, he became an active volunteer with Helping Hands. In 2019, Gaskins was named the assistant director, where his responsibilities included the day-to-day operations of the food pantry, dental clinic, job program and youth empowerment program.

“So many of the clients I encountered have lost hope and the ability to dream (of) a better life,” he said. “Many got to this place with circumstances that they were not able to control. I have always seen myself as a person who tries to instill hope in others, to provide help with the circumstances they live in and provide ways for change.”

In 2020, he was elected to the GCSD board. In his work as a school and non-profit board member, employee and as a volunteer at the Caring and Sharing Food Pantry in Hemingway, S.C., Gaskins intimates God has always been at the center.

“My strong Christian beliefs have taught me to live a life with a servant’s heart,” said Gaskins. “I believe in servant leadership. God has been so good to me and blessed me in so many ways that I am constantly looking for ways to give back and be a servant to others.”

For the past few years, Gaskins has served on a committee to bring Teach My People, a Christ-centered, academically focused afterschool and summer program, to Andrews Elementary School.

Gaskins and his wife, Martha Lynn, have two children – William C. Gaskins Jr., a corporate tax attorney in Durham, N.C. and Anna Riley Gaskins, a 2022 Clemson University graduate who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina.