Anna Dassing has been named the new principal of Lucy Beckham High School (LBHS). Beckham High, named after former Wando High School Principal Lucy Beckham after her sudden passing in December 2015, is slated to open in Mount Pleasant in fall 2020.
"I am really humbled. Lucy was my mentor, and I worked very closely with her throughout my career. Immediately she and I were on the same page. She loved working with kids and I love working with kids," said Dassing. "She has been a pillar in our community for so long. So naturally I would go to her for guidance and advice and ideas. Walking in her footsteps and being around her was pure pleasure. I learned something new from her every time we had a conversation."
This is Dassing's second dream job. The first was being principal of Moultrie Middle School — long before LBHS was even a thought.
She served as principal of Moultrie Middle School before being appointed interim executive director of college and career readiness in summer 2016. Shortly after her appointment, Dassing was called to serve as acting principal of Burke High School for a majority of the 2016-2017 school year.
She said administration was not originally a career goal. But she learned early on that she could have more of an impact on her community in a leadership position. She called it a natural progression.
"I began as a teacher, and I believe that the best leaders come from classrooms. Great teachers make great leaders," she said.
Dassing began her career as a middle school teacher in Rock Hill School District 3 before moving to Charleston in 2002, where she worked as a teacher specialist on site at Military Magnet Academy through the State Department of Education. She then had the opportunity to serve children as a learning specialist for CCSD and Dr. Lynda Davis and later as assistant principal at R. B. Stall High School.
Dassing holds a Bachelor of Science in biology with a teacher certification, as well as and a master's degree in education for administration and supervision. She earned a National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science in 1999.
Dassing said that the second high school was a vision and dream that Beckham was helping to spearhead. And now, Dassing is ready to lead the charge to bring it to fruition.
A planning team for the new school has been in place for quite some time. Charleston County School District officials convened a task force led by Beckham. "Lucy was always looking into the future, and we knew as a district that we needed another comprehensive 9-12th high school. Work stalled when she passed away because everyone was just shaken to the core in losing her."
However, the group reconvened and initial design plans are done. The next steps are putting all the pieces together, working with contractors, architects and the community.
Dassing said that a multitude of stakeholder and community meetings are planned and that students will be directly involved with choosing their mascot and school colors.
"We want the students to choose what they want their new high school to be."
In addition, Dassing will write occasional posts for a blog called "Building Beckham" to keep those interested up to date. Look for it to be unveiled this summer.