Dr. Deonia Simmons, a 1988 graduate of Denmark-Olar High School, was recently selected to serve as principal at Kingstree High School in Kingstree. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Voorhees College in Denmark. He earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and his Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Dr. Simmons began his educational career in Nassau County, Florida. While employed in Nassau County, Dr. Simmons served as a science teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, and middle school principal. He admits that one of the highlights of his professional career was leading his school to earning an “A” school designation from the Florida Department of Education for four consecutive years. It should be noted that, during his tenure in Nassau County, he also coached football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, and track. After several successful experiences in Nassau County, Florida, he relocated back to his native South Carolina to serve as superintendent of Hampton County School District Two. In his first year as superintendent, he directed all strategic efforts and academic programs designed to substantively improve student academic performance among the district’s entire student population, which resulted in double-digit academic gains on standardized tests (PASS, HSAP) at Estill Elementary School and Estill High School. When his tenure as superintendent in Hampton County School District Two ended, Dr. Simmons was hired to serve as the director of the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence in Ridgeland. Under Dr. Simmons’ leadership, the school saw an approximately 40 percent increase in the number of student who completed various career and technology programs. Due to his varied educational experiences, Dr. Simmons was recruited by Atlantic Education Partners, a national educational consulting firm in Chicago, Illinois, to serve as a senior education consultant. His primary responsibility was to provide leadership to the schools the organization served in Chicago, Illinois. He led the turnaround efforts in some of Chicago Public School’s lowest performing high schools.
In his role as principal at Kingstree High School, Dr. Simmons envisions his responsibilities to include, but not limited to, providing effective, consistent and visible leadership for all staff and students; supporting educators in examining pedagogical practices and student data to enhance teaching effectiveness; overseeing the efficient operation of each facet of the high school, including non-academic services; hiring, coaching and evaluating education-professionals; providing education-professionals with supports in analyzing and using student academic performance data to tailor instructional practices; and ensuring site compliance with all regulatory and legal requirements governing the school and its staff.
Dr. Simmons says that he accepted the principal’s position at Kingstree High School because the position affords him the opportunity to use his various school and district level administrative experiences to make a positive difference in the lives of this country’s greatest resource – our children. His vision for Kingstree High School is to make it one of the premier high schools in the state of South Carolina. He believes that the fulfillment of the vision for Kingstree High can be accomplished though prayer, hard work, and commitment by all stakeholders.
Dr. Simmons’ philosophy of education is rooted in a strong belief that it matters “not from whence one has come, but what matters most is his desire to take the gifts that have been divinely bestowed upon him and make the most out of them!”
Dr. Simmons’ philosophy of education is that anyone who plays a role in educating a child must make every effort to encourage, enlighten, and educate every child to their fullest extent – no excuses, no exceptions!
Throughout his career, Dr. Simmons has attended various professional development opportunities at Harvard University, Illinois Superintendent’s Academy, Tapping Executive Educators, and he successfully completed Abilene Christian University’s Superintendent Certification program. Dr. Simmons is a member of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA).