CCSD announces three new school-level leaders

Vanessa Brown

Charleston County School District (CCSD) recently announced that Vanessa Brown, the Principal at Baptist Hill Middle High School, has been appointed as principal at the new North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) opening in August 2020. Brown replaces current North Charleston CAS principal, Lee Runyon, who recently announced his retirement.

Brown will continue to spearhead the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of the CAS, ensuring alignment of the CAS’s development with the district’s strategic plan.

Brown will be responsible for the creation and management of a master schedule which serves all feeder schools including North Charleston High, Garrett Academy, R.B. Stall, Military Magnet, and Burke, as well as all communication, public relations, and development of relationships with postsecondary and industry partners.

Additionally, she will develop programs of study, recruit and hire highly-qualified staff, and create professional development for middle and high guidance counselors within the North Charleston CAS zone. Brown will work to implement work-based learning opportunities, integrate common skills currently in high demand into programming, and establish educational, administrative, and career counseling services at the center. She will also create and manage the CAS’s budget, coordinate all transportation logistics with feeder schools, facilitate CTE Center Accreditation, and oversee the construction of the facility and the safety and security of all students and staff on campus.

In addition to serving as principal of Baptist Hill since 2015, Brown has served the district since 1998 as a teacher and an assistant principal at Garrett Academy and R.B. Stall High School.

Charles Benton

Charles Benton has been named the Interim Principal at Baptist Hill Middle High School. He replaces Vanessa Brown who has served the school since 2015. She was recently appointed as principal of the North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies.

Benton started his career at R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina teaching distributive education and business math. His next assignment was as assistant principal at Carver High School in the area where he served 1,500 ninth and tenth graders. Following these posts, Benton became the principal of Mount Zion Elementary School in Greensboro Public Schools for six years before becoming the principal of General Greene Science Magnet Elementary School where he implemented the school’s science magnet program.

Benton served an additional four years at Mendenhall Middle School in Greensboro before joining Guilford County Schools as principal of Northeast High School and later Eastern High School. Benton spent one year as the Director of Student Services supervising the district ESOL program for Guilford County Schools and two years as Principal on Special Assignment working with new principals.

Benton joined CCSD in 2006 as the principal of Burke High School until 2011. He has since served as a CCSD Principal on Special Assignment.

Dottie Brown

CCSD also announced and welcomed Dottie Brown as the principal of Memminger Elementary School. Brown has served as an educational consultant in the greater Charleston area for the past several years. She has supported elementary schools in Charleston with its Open Court phonics implementation and has been instrumental in supporting teachers in the Summer Teacher Residency program.

Brown began her career as a second grade teacher at Lakewood Elementary in 1984. She went on to teach fifth grade at Forestbrook Elementary in 1988 for eight years before joining Horry County Schools (HCS) administration as a district learning specialist.

In her role as a specialist, Brown worked with elementary teachers in the classroom on initiatives such as model teaching and group coaching, as well as assisted in the facilitation of strategic planning sessions. Brown next served as assistant principal at St. James Middle and principal of Myrtle Beach Intermediate School. Subsequently, Brown was hired as the Executive Director for Elementary Education for HCS where she supervised and supported the district’s 27 elementary schools for the next 11 years.

Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education, and her administration certification all from the University of South Carolina.

For more information, contact the Office of Strategy and Communications at (843) 937-6303.

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