The Aiken County Public School District is adding a seasoned educator as its new director of high schools.
Alvin D. Pressley, of Irmo, was named as the new executive director of high schools for the Aiken County Public School District on May 9.
Pressley, who currently serves as principal of W.J. Keenan High School in Columbia, is a veteran educator with nearly two decades of experience in high school classrooms as a teacher, assistant principal, academic dean and building principal, according to a press release.
“In doing my research on Aiken County, I saw that they had excellent schools, the district’s leadership team came from a diverse set of backgrounds and they just seemed to be on the cutting edge with everything they were trying to do while being focused on student achievement and building community involvement and support,” Pressley said in the press release. “Looking at the direction and the plan set forth by the District's leadership, it just seemed to be aligned with a team that I wanted to work with and for.”
As a former Teacher of the Year at W.J. Keenan High School while serving as a science instructor, Pressley has grown and developed as an educator with an eye for innovation and a talent for implementation.
A member of the initial planning committee for Project REAL (Raider Engineering and Academic Leadership), a STEM-focused effort, Pressley later became the program’s coordinator while also leading Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum training for teachers and administrators.
He also oversaw the creation of Keenan High’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Team during the 2003-04 school year and helped form lasting partnerships for the school with the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the University of South Carolina.
Academic achievement has been at the forefront of his career as an administrator, according to the release.
As a building principal, Pressley led efforts to address areas of weakness in his schools that saw an overall increase in student achievement for eight consecutive years, including winning a prestigious Palmetto Gold Award and posting the best absolute report card rating in the history of North Middle/High School in Orangeburg County.
Pressley’s tenure as principal at W.J. Keenan High has also seen academic highlights reached, and Palmetto Gold and Palmetto Silver awards attained.
“The reason we were so successful at those schools is that we identified where our weaknesses were and we made certain that everything we did addressed those areas that needed improvement – whether they were related to transportation or after school tutorials, we did that,” Pressley said. “We honed in with a laser-like focus and determined that we were not going to let anything stop us.”
He said he looks forward to his new role in Aiken County supporting high school principals and spurring the continued development of students for future success.
“My role will be one of support. I will be the support system for our high school principals, who have a very tough and demanding job to do,” Pressley added. “I am going to make certain I work closely with them to ensure they have the support they need, that they have access to the resources necessary for new initiatives, and that the focus remains on student achievement and preparation for life and success after high school for all of our students.”
Pressley earned an educational specialist degree and a Master in Education degree in educational administration from the USC, in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree, also from USC.
He holds multiple South Carolina state certifications in categories including superintendent, secondary principal, secondary supervisor and as an ADEPT and SAFE-T Evaluator.
Pressley, who will begin work with the District in July, follows the service of the district's interim Executive Director of High Schools Scott Newman.