Following Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, Superintendent Dr. Bill Cook, Jr. announced a series of administrative changes, including naming his successor for executive director of secondary education, new principals for Northwestern High School and Rawlinson Road Middle School, and a new athletic director at South Pointe High School. Additionally, five schools will have new assistant principals for the 2018-2019 school year.
Jennifer Morrison fills the position vacated by Cook following his promotion to superintendent in April. For the past three months, Cook has held positions of superintendent-elect and acting superintendent while maintaining his responsibilities as executive director of secondary education. The addition of Morrison completes Cook’s administrative team.
She will work closely with all aspects of the middle and high school instructional programs to identify areas for academic growth. Further, she will support the secondary schools curriculum and choice programs and work alongside guidance counselors, instructional coaches and program coordinators. She joins Rock Hill Schools after serving as the chief strategy officer at the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) for the past two years. Morrison previously worked as the director in the office of school transformation, also at the state department, for two years.
Among other achievements in her time at the state level, she wrote an managed the vision, educator quality, and stakeholder participation components of the recently approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), built an on-demand, competency-based professional learning system to improve the capacity of internal leadership to and staff to better understand academic return on investment and program evaluation. Morrison also facilitated development and execution of the department’s strategic plan across 30 offices. Additionally, she led the initial statewide roll-out of South Carolina’s comprehensive literacy law, Read to Succeed, which included the introduction of teacher endorsement requirements, state reading plans and summer reading camps.
She has also taught and been an administrator in Newberry School District and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
Morrison holds degrees from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she attended on a Fulbright Grant, and the University of South Carolina. She is a doctoral candidate at USC with an anticipated graduation in December, and her dissertation is focused on teacher recruitment strategies in difficult-to-staff South Carolina districts.
At Northwestern, former assistant principal Hezekiah Massey will replace James Blake who retires this week after 34 years at the school. Massey returns to Rock Hill after spending the past six years as the director of alternative programs and student intervention at Blue Eagle Academy in the nearby Clover School District. He also served as principal of Hunter-Kinard-Tyler Schools, a kindergarten through 12th grade campus serving approximately 800 students, in Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four for two years after leaving Northwestern in 2010. At H-K-T, he was able to pilot the Schools to Watch middle school recognition program for the South Carolina Department of Education.
In Clover, he has served as a board member with the Clover Area Assistance Center and worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of York County to establish the Clover Teen Center.
He also helped to establish a transition program for middle school students entering high school. Prior to Rock Hill, Massey worked as a teacher and administrator in Virginia. He holds degrees from Fayetteville State University and George Washington University.
At Rawlinson Road, Heather Andrus will follow Dr. Jean Dickson as principal after Dickson moved earlier this month to become the principal at Rock Hill Schools’ Lesslie Elementary School. Over the past 20 years, Andrus steadily increased her leadership roles at Northwestern High School where she has served as assistant principal overseeing curriculum and instruction since 2013. In this role, she has been actively involved in creating the school’s master course schedule and development of the school improvement plan. Andrus has also become well-versed in teacher evaluation using a variety of district and state-mandated instruments.
In the classroom, she was an American government and economics and American history teacher. Recognizing real world applications enhance retention and increasing students’ interest, Andrus frequently used current events to address content while collaborating with peers in the department to improve instructional strategies, assessments, and curriculum. She also served as a program coordinator at Northwestern, a role in which she facilitated an advisory program for grade level needs and implemented professional development to address areas of improvement as shown on the school report card.
Having served at Northwestern High for many years, Andrus brings a familiarity to the community and with the families who attend Rawlinson Road. She holds degrees from Winthrop University and Western Governor’s University.
At South Pointe High School, Adam Hare, who has taught physical education at Sullivan Middle School since 2008, has been named the as the Stallions athletic director. He replaces Lance Roberts who retired earlier this month. While at Sullivan, Hare balanced a full-time teaching job, coached three sports and managed all aspects of the Sullivan athletics program.
He has served as the president of the York County Middle School Athletics Conference since 2017. In this role, he has been responsible for creating schedules for county’s 13 middle schools, organizing and facilitating coaches meetings, managing membership dues and conference-related booking fees.
Prior to coming to Rock Hill, Hare taught and coached at the middle and school levels in Greenwood School District 51 and Lancaster County School District. He holds an undergraduate degree from Erskine College.
Additional administrative changes include:
- Susan McNally is moving from Dutchman Creek Middle School to Castle Heights Middle School as assistant principal. McNally has served as assistant principal at DCMS since July 2008 and previously taught math at Rawlinson Road Middle School.
- Jennise Knight, who has been an assistant principal at Sullivan Middle School since 2007, is moving to Rawlinson Road to become assistant principal. She returns to RRMS where she was a science teacher for seven years before moving into administration at Sullivan.
- Brian Hollingsworth is moving from the assistant principal post at Ebinport Elementary to the assistant principal position at Saluda Trail Middle School. He has worked in Rock Hill since 2006 and has taught at Independence Elementary, Oakdale Elementary and Dutchman Creek Middle School.
- Carie Lowdermilk, who has been a middle school assistant principal for the past 10 years, is leaving Saluda Trail Middle to replace Hollingsworth as assistant principal at Ebinport. In December 2015, she was named middle school assistant principal of the year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.
- Leigh Grimsley, who has served as assistant principal at Oakdale Elementary School since 2012, will be transitioning to a new role of Lead STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) coach to oversee the choice program available to students at Oakdale. Additionally, she will assist in the district’s personnel department as a teacher support specialist. In this role, she will work with new teachers to Rock Hill Schools through the New Teacher Institute.
- Derek McQuiston, who has held a variety of positions in Rock Hill Schools, has been named as the assistant principal at Oakdale Elementary School. Since the development of the inquiry program at Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School, he has served as the lead teacher and technology specialist. He has previously taught at India Hook Elementary School and York Road Elementary School in addition to serving as a district level instructional specialist for four years. McQuiston brings a wealth of experience to Oakdale that will be an asset to the STEAM instructional philosophy as it has many parallels to the inquiry-based instruction.
- James Daigle, who has taught fifth grade at Ebenezer Avenue since moving to Rock Hill in 2003, will replace McQuiston as lead inquiry teacher. For the past two years, Daigle has taught in the inquiry program and will now be able to lead other teachers in the program designed for students in third through fifth grade. In 2016, Daigle was selected by his peers as the Ebenezer Avenue teacher of the year.
This series of transfers and hires creates assistant principal vacancies at Dutchman Creek Middle, Sullivan Middle and Northwestern High. Additionally, assistant principal vacancies remain at York Road Elementary and the new Cherry Park Elementary School for Language Immersion set to open in January 2019.
If interested in applying for current and future vacancies in Rock Hill Schools, please visit www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us/jobs.