Rock Hill's newest school gets principal

Mount Holly Elementary School might not be opening until the fall of 2008, but the school's principal is ready to get started.

Chris Beard was appointed the principal of Mount Holly at the Rock Hill school board meeting Monday night.

Beard currently serves as the principal of Mount Gallant Elementary School.

The prospect of opening a new school seemed like an adventure to Beard, who grew up in the Mount Holly community.

"I think the most exciting part about it is you begin your own history," he said. "You're starting your own foundation and not following someone else."

Beard will make the shift to his new job in January. He will spend the months leading up to the school's opening buying furniture, hiring staff and working with a parent committee to make plans for the start of school.

"I think my primary goal for that first year is to make everyone feel welcome and that they're part of that school," he said.

Beard said his planning and organizational skills will be key to his success.

Beard has been the principal at Mount Gallant since 2001. He also has served as an assistant principal and a teacher in the district.

His wife, Karen, teaches English to speakers of other languages in the Rock Hill district, and he has two children, Jenna, 12, and Chandler, 9.

At Monday's meeting, the school board also appointed three new assistant principals.

Richard Ball will become an assistant principal at Castle Heights Middle School, Jennise Knight will become an assistant principal at Sullivan Middle School, and David Gray will become an assistant principal at Rock Hill High School.

Gray's position is a new one, which was created because of the school's high enrollment.