Former principal returns for a year as interim – Coastal Observer


Former principal returns for a year as interim

David Hammel will keep his coaching job while serving as interim principal.

David Hammel never expected to be a principal again.

The former Waccamaw High School principal was quite happy being back in a classroom teaching science at Georgetown High School.

District officials approached Hammel after Adam George was removed as Waccamaw High’s principal last week after an investigation into a “school prank” in May, during which students entered and vandalized the school building.

“I have the utmost respect for Mr. George,” Hammel said. “He’s been a valued colleague of mine for the last seven years [and] he’s been a good friend of mine. I hate the circumstances, but I love this school and I love the community. I want to see it continue thrive and excel.”

Hammel took over as principal on Monday, two-and-a-half weeks before the first day of school.

“It’s been hectic, but Mr. George and the administration planned well over the summer and they’ve left it in great shape,” he said. “We’re going to tweak just a few little things and be ready to go forward.”

One of Hammel’s conditions on accepting the job was that he be allowed to remain as head coach of the school’s new boys volleyball team. He has been leading and molding the team since he was named its first head coach in February. 

He took a break from his principal duties to oversee practice on Tuesday and accompany the to team to a scrimmage at Hanahan High School on Wednesday.

Hammel said some of the challenges for any new principal are bringing everybody together and on board for a single goal.

“That’s our students having the best year they can have,” Hammel added. 

His one-year return to the classroom also gave him new insight on the job of a teacher.

“I know the challenges in the classroom and I want to be there for our teachers and our students,” Hammel said. “I want this senior class to have a year they remember with nothing but positives. And I want our teachers to have that too. I want to leave them in a better place moving forward so they can continue to go forward.”

Hammel’s son, Ben, is a member of the Class of 2024. His youngest daughter, Jessica, is an incoming freshman.

Hammel was principal of Waccamaw High from 2008 to 2018 before moving to the district office, where he worked for four years. For two of his years as principal, George was an assistant principal at the school.

When announcing the demotion of George, the district said it would wait until January to start searching for a permanent replacement. Hammel does not expect to be in the running.

“This is definitely a one-year gig for me and then I’m happily going back to the classroom to teach and coach again,” he said.

Hammel started his career teaching with the Georgetown County School District at Waccamaw High in 1994. Since then he’s also been a coach, athletic director, curriculum specialist and assistant principal. He was named the S.C. Athletic Administrators Association principal of the year in 2011. 

He was executive director of secondary schools and athletics for the district before stepping down at the end of the 2021-22 school year.



Georgetown County Board of Education: First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Beck Education Center. For details, go to Georgetown County Council: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Chambers, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. For details, go to Pawleys Island Town Council: Second Mondays, 5 p.m. Town Hall, 323 Myrtle Ave. For details, go to   , .