He flunked the third grade. Now he’s the best high school principal in the nation.” This was the headline from the local newspaper after he was announced the National Principal of the Year. Dr. Akil Ross’ story is a testimony of the power a community has to transform a struggling student into a high performing student. Akil grew up in Washington, DC during the height of a drug and crime wave that claimed the potential of many young people in his community. In the midst of these conditions, transformational elements were made available that empowered him to maximize his potential. He credits his home, his elementary school and a recreational center for teaching him how to face adversity and overcome obstacles early in his life. As a result of the high expectations set in his home, school and on the playing field, Akil was able to earn a full scholarship to Duke University. Upon graduation from Duke University, Akil moved to South Carolina, where he taught Social Studies for three years at Eau Claire High School in Columbia, SC. In 2005, he obtained his M.Ed. in Secondary Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina and joined Chapin High School as an assistant principal in July of 2005. After 5 years as an assistant principal, he was named principal in July of 2010. In July of 2012, he earned doctorate degree in Curriculum Studies from the University of South Carolina. As principal of Chapin High School, Dr. Ross was named the 2017 SC Secondary Principal of the Year and the 2018 NASSP National Principal of the Year. He and his wife Jocelyn live in Columbia, SC and have two children, Alyssa (9) and Akil Jr. “AJ”
Empowered people empower people. This address provides educational leaders with a framework to improve teacher retention and increase student engagement. The “Empowering Leadership Framework” gives school leaders a practical guide for improving school outcomes by aligning the mission of the school with the shared vision of the educators. The alignment of mission with an empowering vision has proven to renew the passion to teach in teachers and revive the love of learning for students. Attendees will learn how to create a shared vision as well as four (4) key “Heart-Needs” which must be included in a school mission to empower teachers and students.