MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. - Parkersburg native Kim Wilson has been named the 2014 South Carolina High School Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.
Wilson, 61, a 1970 graduate of Parkersburg High School, is principal at R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston, S.C.
During Wilson's four years as principal, Stall has added golf, rugby and swim teams, has tripled the fine arts program, including adding steel drum, drama and choir classes, and increased the number of school clubs from five to 65.
From left, Kim Wilson, his wife Betsy Welch Wilson and their son Wesley Wilson at the announcement of Kim Wilson’s award. Their daughter Whitney lives and works in Nashville as a teacher and coach.
Under his guidance, Stall has worked to improve academic assistance and professional development, Wilson said Sunday.
R.B. Stall High School is a Title I, urban school with 87 percent of the students participating in the free and reduced lunch program. Most of the students ride buses to school.
Wilson said the students, parents and teachers are responding well to the challenge of achieving school improvement.
"We have great kids," he said.
The additional sports teams, fine arts classes and tutoring opportunities are ways to try to get "hooks" for the students so they will want to attend school and achieve, Wilson said.
Stall has partnered with the Boeing plant in North Charleston to offer an aerospace program that ties into college classes.
All students are given iPads to take home for school work.
The first step in improving R.B. Stall High School when he became principal in 2010 was to secure a school improvement grant, Wilson said. The school obtained $4 million from the federal government.
Next, Wilson said he had to change the culture of the school.
This involved capturing the kids' hearts and building a strong academic connection between students and adults, he said.
Forty-five minutes a day at Stall are spent on academic assistance for students and professional development.
Literacy improvement is a challenge at Stall, Wilson said.
As the state principal winner, based on school improvement and achievement, Wilson advances to the national competition in October in Washington, D.C. He will receive his South Carolina award in June at Myrtle Beach.
"The education I received in the Wood County public schools and then Glenville State and Marshall prepared me well," Wilson of Mount Pleasant wrote in an email. "I am very proud of my West Virginia heritage."
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in education in 1974 from Glenville State College, a Master of Arts, Counseling and Rehabilitation from Marshall University in 1975, a Master of Science, Physical Education from Marshall in 1980 and a Specialist in Education degree from The Citadel in 1998.
Wilson, the son of Lucille Wilson of Parkersburg and the late Julian "Judy" Wilson, taught at Franklin Junior High School in Parkersburg from 1975-80. His brother Tad is a member of the Wood County Board of Education.
Kim Wilson's wife, Betsy, is the daughter of Mickey Welch of Parkersburg.
During his 39 years in education, Wilson was named Outstanding Counselor of the Year by the South Carolina Association for Counseling and Development in 1989 and Assistant Principal of the Year by the Secondary Principals Division of the S.C. Association of School Administrators in 2002-2003.
"It's been fun trying to help kids achieve their goals," Wilson said.