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North Charleston High School principal resigns

After five years at the helm of North Charleston High School, Principal Bob Grimm has stepped down.

The Charleston County School District attributed Grimm’s sudden resignation Monday, one week into the new school year, to “urgent family health matters” requiring him to move to Ohio.

Grimm was hired as principal of North Charleston High in 2011 amid some resistance from community groups, such as the Charleston branch of the NAACP, who claimed he lacked the experience to tackle the challenges of one of the district’s most troubled high schools. At the time, Grimm was the school’s eighth principal in 11 years.

He vowed to stick around longer than his predecessors while raising the graduation rate, reducing suspensions and luring back students who had transferred to other schools through the district’s school-choice policies.

Under Grimm’s leadership, the school’s four-year graduation rate rose from 44 percent in 2011 to 66 percent in 2015. Test scores also steadily improved. In 2011, roughly 38 percent of students passed their end-of-course tests in all subjects with a score of 70 or higher. By 2015, the portion of students passing their end-of-course exams jumped to nearly 70 percent.

Last fall, North Charleston High welcomed its largest freshman class in five years. Meanwhile, the percentage of students suspended or expelled for violent or criminal offenses rose from 5 percent to 9 percent.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of demonstrating that we’re not a second-choice school,” Grimm told The Post and Courier earlier this year. Grimm did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, who threw his support behind Grimm in 2011, when controversy stewed over his appointment, said North Charleston High experienced “dramatic improvement in academics and school pride” during Grimm’s tenure.

“We hate to see Principal Grimm leave North Charleston High School, but we certainly understand his reason for departing,” Summey said in a statement to the newspaper. “Principal Grimm leaves large shoes to fill, but we are confident that CCSD will find a replacement who is equally talented and passionate about the students of North Charleston.”

Charles Benton, a former Burke High School principal who works in the district office, will be reassigned to assist at North Charleston High until the district determines how to fill Grimm’s position. According to a district statement, Grimm apologized to his staff for “the inconvenience associated with his departure during this time of year.”

Bob Grimm provided the type of leadership, consistency and compassion that North Charleston High School needed to succeed,” Anthony Ludwig, a history teacher at North Charleston High, told The Post and Courier. “More important than numbers or statistics, he made the students feel valued, important and cared for in a way that made those achievements possible.

Paul Bowers contributed to this report. Reach Deanna Pan at (843) 937-5764.

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