Return to Headlines

Khaalid & Chandler Win Principal and AP of the Year Honors

Congratulations to Ms. Denise Khaalid of Oakdale STEAM Elementary School for being named the first-ever District Principal of the Year. Khaalid has served as principal at Oakdale for seven years, and she has been on the Rock Hill Schools team since 1995.


As this year’s honoree, Khaalid will move on to the state recognition program managed by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA).


Previously, she has been named the SC Assistant Principal of the Year by SCASA and the 2012 National Assistant Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She earned both recognitions while an assistant principal at South Pointe High School. Before moving into administration, Khaalid taught English/Language Arts at Sullivan Middle School and Saluda Trail Middle School.


Khaalid is a graduate of Winthrop University and holds a B.A. in English and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Supervision. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from Gardner-Webb University.


Her thoughts on leadership:

Being named Principal of the Year is a tremendous honor and validate the extremely hard work that our school has done. We certainly are not where we want to be; continuous improvement is real. But, we have the right people and are definitely headed in the right direction.


What they're saying:

Ms. Khaalid is the hardest working person in the field. She knows every student by name and supports the staff beyond what most would imagine. Her level of professionalism is unmatched, and I have learned so much from her over the past two years. She is knowledgeable about issues and trends within the field, but specifically, she is knowledgeable about special education processes and laws. She makes coming to work enjoyable, and I know that I will have learned something new from her every day when I go home. She is constantly pushing the staff to grow professionally and personally.



Congratulations to Mr. Chris Chandler of Rock Hill High School for being named the first-ever District Assistant Principal of the Year. Chandler has served the students, staff, and community as an assistant principal at Rock Hill High since 2016. He joined the Bearcats staff in 2004.


As this year’s honoree, Chandler will move on to the state recognition program managed by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA).


Before moving into administration, Chandler has taught social studies and history, including Advanced Placement and college-level dual credit courses through York Technical College, for 12 years at RHHS. As Rock Hill Schools has advanced its technology implementation in recent years, Chandler has been instrumental in both the selection of devices and the training of teachers.


He holds degrees from Winthrop University. Chandler earned a B.A. in history in 2002, a Master’s in history in 2004 and a Master’s in educational leadership in May 2013.


His thoughts on leadership:

Greatness is only possible because of the collective effort of our leadership team who implicitly trusts each other and leaves our egos at the door.


What they're saying:

Chris demonstrates exemplary instructional leadership by not only maintaining positive professional relationships with colleagues and students alike. He celebrates growth and collaboration. His encouragement and expertise help teachers feel more confident in taking risks on new instructional strategies and honing their craft. He gives detailed feedback in observations and asks thoughtful follow-up questions. He leads by example and, when trying something new, he doesn't get discouraged if it doesn't go as planned. Rather, he reflects, seeks feedback, and tries again. I'm sure I speak for many when I say that he has directly helped me become a better teacher.