RSS Board of Education names elementary, middle school directors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools has named three administrators to oversee its schools at the elementary and middle levels.

Knollwood Elementary Principal Shonda Hairston, a two-time winner of RSS’ Principal of the Year award, and Landis Elementary Principal Brooke Zehmer will both serve as directors of elementary schools. Ronald Dixon, principal at South Asheboro Middle, will serve as director of middle schools. All three will start their new positions in July.

The three new hires were approved as part of the RSS Board of Education’s personnel report during its Monday meeting. The board spent about an hour in closed session at the beginning of the meeting before approving the report.

The three directors will report directly to Chief of Schools Officer Kelly Withers. Withers will continue to directly oversee the district’s high schools.

Hairston and Zehmer will split oversight of the district’s elementary schools. RSS Director of Marketing and Communications Tracey Lewis said the decision to split direct oversight between several directors is based on research showing the maximum number of schools an administrator can effectively oversee is about 10.

Hairston has been with the district for 28 years and has been principal at Knollwood since 2007. Zehmer is a 24-year RSS veteran and has been at Landis since 2015.

Dixon is a newcomer to the district, but he’s spent 20 years in the field and took his current position in 2016.

“Each of these highly competent professionals possesses the skills and abilities to support schools and educators in their work to advance the directional system and support student outcomes,” Superintendent Tony Watlington said. “I look forward to working with each of these new executive directors to support the emerging priorities coming out of our strategic planning work.”

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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