St. Anne Catholic School's new principal said she is ready to learn the school's traditions and increase enrollment.
Bonnie Polewski, a veteran educator and administrator, will start work on Monday.
Principal Larry McLaughlin is stepping down to go back to teaching. He plans to teach algebra at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School in Charlotte.
"That's my passion," he said, "in the classroom with the students."
Polewski comes to Rock Hill from Notre Dame Catholic School in Texas. She holds a bachelor's degree in music education and music therapy with minors in psychology and education from Maryville University and a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Polewski said she values Catholic education because of its emphasis on teaching the whole child -- not just the mind, but also the heart.
"We give them something that they will keep for their entire life," she said.
She described herself as a leader who likes a lot of input from teachers and others who are affected by her decisions.
"I'm not going to make heavy-duty classroom decisions without their input and their words of wisdom," she said.
Polewski is the mother three boys and two girls who range in ages from 14 to 27. She said her family has moved around a lot because of her now-retired husband, Ron's, career in the military.
"No matter where we've been, we've really embedded ourselves in the parish community," she said.
Janet Norton, St. Anne school board president, said she is excited about what Polewski and her husband, an active member of Knights of Columbus, will do in Rock Hill.
"I really feel like she's going to bring a lot to the table for us," Norton said. "She had lots of innovative and creative ideas that really got our attention."
Norton said the board got about 10 applications for the job, half of which were local and half of which were from out of state.
Polewski's experience in Catholic education made her stand out from the crowd.
She is the school's third new principal in four years. Susie Hinton started in 2005, and McLaughlin started in 2006. Finding a principal who wants to stay for a while also was part of the search criteria.
"We're tired of moving," Polewski said, "and we're hoping that this will be a final move."