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Chapin High principal earns national recognition

Chapin High School Principal Akil Ross (File photo)

CHAPIN, SC (WACH) – Chapin High Principal Dr. Akil E. Ross was named the National Association of Secondary School Principals 2018 National Principal of the Year.

The announcement was made during a surprise assembly Friday morning, which was attended by Governor Henry McMaster and South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

“Dr. Ross is an exemplary leader who challenges both his students and staff to achieve at the highest level,” stated Spearman. “I congratulate Dr. Ross on being named the 2018 National Principal of the Year and look forward to his continued dedicated service to the students of South Carolina.”

The announcement comes as part of the 2017 celebration of National Principals Month.

Chapin high was recognized as a South Carolina Palmetto’s Finest Award recipient in 2015 under Ross’ leadership.

Ross also challenged his faculty to aim for a 100 percent graduation rate. That challenge sparked the analysis of trend data to identify students most at risk of dropping out, then soliciting funding for a “school after school” to extend instructional services for those students.

Chapin’s graduation rate then went from 82 percent to exceeding 96 percent, with proficiency rates continuing to climb.

Members of the selection panel said they were impressed by how Ross embraces the principal’s primary role as, in his words,” “the number-one driver for institutional change” who consistently builds a culture that promotes social justice while preparing students to lead productive lives.

“It did not take long to recognize that Dr. Ross is an agent of infectious change,” said Susanne Thompson, vice president for professional development at Discovery Education and a member of the selection panel. “He focuses first on helping people understand and value their purpose. Then, by binding their purposes, Dr. Ross leads a group of professionals to act to improve learning for each student at Chapin High School.”

Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Duke University and a doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina.

Ross joins a prestigious list of South Carolina colleagues previously honored as NASSP National Principal of the Year: Sharon Buddin of Columbia’s Ridge View High School in 2002, and Lucy Beckham of Wando High School in Charleston County in 2009.

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