Rock Hill schools promote 3 to administrative posts

The Rock Hill school district has promoted two elementary school teachers to assistant principal positions and an assistant principal to a postition in which he will oversee discipline districtwide.

Johneka Simmons, a Rosewood Elementary fourth-grade teacher who was an administrative intern at the school, will become Rosewood's assistant principal. Nakia Barnes, a Sunset Park Elementary teacher since 2000, will become assistant principal at York Road Elementary.

Sullivan Middle School Assistant Principal Keith Wilks will become executive director of student services, administering school discipline districtwide.

Wilks said he plans to place more focus on preventing discipline problems.

"I also am working on mentoring programs for underachieving students," he said. "We focus a lot of effort on middle and high school, and I look forward to starting programs in elementary school and moving on up."

Wilks earned Rawlinson Road Middle School Teacher of the Year honors during six years there as a math teacher, then became an assistant principal at Rock Hill High from 1997 to 2002. After three years as principal at Darlington High School, he joined Sullivan as assistant principal in 2005. He has a master's degree in secondary level administration and supervision from Winthrop University and is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Gardner-Webb University.

The Rosewood assistant principal job is a new position in part mandated by a State Board of Education regulation that requires either a curriculum coordinator or an assistant principal at any elementary school with an enrollment of more than 600, according to Beckye Partlow, director of human resources. Principal Stephen Ward opted to hire an assistant principal after the school's program teacher left.

Simmons taught fourth grade at Rosewood for five years and also taught at Old Pointe Elementary and Northside School of the Arts. She has a master's degree in educational administration from the University of South Carolina.

York Road's program teacher transferred last year, and Barnes was named assistant principal to fill the vacancy, Partlow said. Barnes was a fifth-grade teacher at Chester Park Intermediate School for two years before coming to Sunset Park. She earned National Board certification in 2005 and was Sunset Park's Teacher of the Year that same year. She holds master's degrees in educational administration and in teaching elementary school from USC.