A Lexington County high school has a permanent leader once again.
Lexington County School District 2 has announced the hire of James “Vance” Jones as principal of Brookland-Cayce High, one of two high schools that serves students in the district that spans West Columbia, Cayce and Springdale.
James comes to the post from Spartanburg High School in South Carolina’s Upstate, where he has been the principal since 2019.
“It was evident throughout the interviewing process that Dr. Jones is passionate about students and believes that high school should be the best part of a student's life,” Superintendent Dr. Brenda Hafner is quoted in a release. “He brings a wealth of knowledge as a sitting high school principal at a high performing school, and he is eager to return to the area with his family. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Jones to the Bearcat Family.”
James arrives at Brookland-Cayce as the district looks to push past a period of uncertainty.
Nicolas Wade, the district’s previous superintendent, resigned suddenly in May 2022, a month before the state Department of Education downgraded Brookland-Cayce’s accreditation status following an audit that revealed errors in enforcing requirements for graduation. Veteran Lexington 2 administrator Barry Bolen stepped in to serve as interim superintendent and then interim Brookland-Cayce principal after the school board hired Hafner.
James inherits a school that had its accreditation status restored to the highest level last month after taking corrective actions required by the state.
“During his time at Spartanburg High School, U.S. News & World Report has named it among the top 12% of all high schools in the country, with a graduation rate exceeding the state average,” Lexington 2’s release notes.
The size of the Brookland-Cayce student body, 1,171 as of the most recent headcount available from the state Department of Education, shouldn’t intimidate James, as he currently leads a school with more than 2,000 students.
He will transition to his new post in July.
“I have high aspirations for Brookland-Cayce High School and for every student that walks our halls,” the new principal is quoted. “Together with the faculty, staff, and community, I look forward to building on the foundation of excellence that has been established in order to provide the best high school experience for our students and their families.”
In announcing James’ hire, the district emphasized his familiarity with Lexington 2, where he worked from 2001 to 2005, serving as a business education teacher before becoming an administrative assistant at Airport High School in 2003 and then an assistant principal at Busbee Middle School (now Busbee Creative Arts Academy) in 2004.
James made his way through administrative roles at other South Carolina schools in Allendale, Sumter, Barnwell and Newberry counties before being named principal of Newberry High School.
James then served as director of student services, operations and tech for the Lee County School District before being hired as assistant principal at Spartanburg High in 2018 and being promoted to principal the next year.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Wofford College, a master’s of education in secondary administration and an education specialist degree from Cambridge College, and a doctorate in education from Liberty University.
“It is a joy to interact with high school students,” he is quoted. “This unique time in their lives provides us with a tremendous opportunity to help them shape their interests, develop a personal love of learning, and build confidence as they take their first steps toward becoming young adults.