IRMO – Dr. Akil Ross has been named Lexington-Richland School District Five’s next Director of Secondary Education.
Ross has served as principal of Chapin High School since 2010 and in October was named the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) 2018 National Principal of the Year. He will replace Reggie Dean, who will retire at the end of the school year.
“After accomplishing amazing things in my career and at Chapin High School, I have now come to a point in my leadership that calls me to coach and mentor principals,” Ross said. “The success we have had at Chapin High serves as a model for schools across the state and country, and this position will allow me to coach and mentor instructional leaders.”
Under Ross’ leadership, Chapin High was recognized as a South Carolina Palmetto’s Finest Award recipient in 2015. He 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. Graduation rates at the school reached a high of 96 percent in 2016.
“Dr. Ross is a great visionary, an extraordinary leader, a highly-skilled manager, and a phenomenal culture builder,” said District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner. “Watching him mold Chapin High School into what it’s become has been a delight to see, and we are beyond ecstatic to now see him lead all of our principals at the secondary level.”
As Ross prepares for this next step, the man behind Chapin High’s mantra of “a thousand passions with one heartbeat” took a moment to reflect with staff and students.
“While this is certainly a day of mixed emotions for me, one thing holds true. I love Chapin High School with all of my heart and the heartbeat we started will never fade,” Ross wrote in a letter to staff.
District Five Superintendent-elect Dr. Christina Melton was all smiles after the announcement was made saying, “Dr. Ross brings a proven record to success to our team. He will coordinate and lead the support of our secondary schools, and will also influence system level decision making to ensure that students are prepared for secondary success and ultimately post-secondary accomplishments. Congratulations to Dr. Ross!”