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Columbia attorney picked to lead SC’s disabilities, special needs agency

·1 min read

A Columbia attorney will become the next director of the South Carolina agency charged with overseeing services for residents with disabilities and special needs, replacing the department’s former chief who was initially fired in February over the handling of a sexual harassment allegation.

Michelle Gough Fry will start Oct. 11, the state’s Department of Special Needs and Disabilities Commission announced Monday.

Fry succeeds Mary Poole, who was fired earlier this year for the way she handled a sexual harassment allegation, the commission had alleged.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Fry directing our team at DDSN,” said Stephanie Rawlinson, chairwoman of the commission. “Her executive leadership experience will help us move the agency in the right direction and solve complex problems so that we can provide the very best services to assist all people with disabilities and special needs in our state.”

Fry previously served as general counsel to the Indiana State Board of Education, the Indiana Charter School Board and the Indiana Department of Education.

In 2014, she was appointed by former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to serve on the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.

The commission’s announcement said Fry has spent most of her career advocating for equity and access for students with disabilities and she’s worked with historically marginalized populations.

This article will be updated.

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