Pickens, SC. – On Monday, March 27, 2023, the School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees approved the Superintendent’s recommendation for Mr. Jacob Nelson to become the next Director of Project GO Alternative Education Program. This follows the departure of the current director, James Adams, as Adams was previously announced as the Director of Student Support & Interventions at the end of the 2022-23 school year.
“I am thrilled to announce that we have found an exceptional leader to head our district’s alternative program,” said Superintendent Danny Merck. “With his passion for student success and commitment to providing every student with an advocate who cares deeply for them, I am confident that Mr. Nelson will inspire and empower our students to achieve their full potential. We are excited to welcome Jacob back to Pickens County.”
Mr. Nelson is currently the principal of Gilbert High School, where he has served since 2018. Prior to this, Nelson was the assistant principal at Gilbert from 2014-2018. During his time as assistant principal, he participated in the Lexington School District One Aspiring Principals Academy. During the 2017-18 school year, he was named a finalist for the SC Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Secondary Assistant Principal of he Year. Before becoming an Assistant Principal, he served as an Assistant Administrator at Carolina Springs Middle and Lexington High and also taught English at Lexington High School. This appointment marks a return to the School District of Pickens County as Nelson began his educational journey as an English teacher at Pickens High School in 2008.
He earned a B.A. in Secondary Education – English from Clemson University. In 2012, he obtained his Masters in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Nelson shared, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead alongside the staff of Project Go and leaders across SDPC to focus on establishing and maintaining relationships that raise expectations for all students. I look forward to building upon the strong foundation of Project Go as we serve the students and families of Pickens County with dedication and heart. My family and I are excited about this new opportunity!”
Mr. Nelson and his wife Blair have three children. Annabell is in 4th grade, Hadley is in 1st grade, and Walter is 18 months old.
Mr. Nelson begins his new role on July 1, 2023.
More about Project GO Alternative School Program
The Project GO Alternative School Program is located at the former AR Lewis Elementary site in Pickens. It serves middle and high school students from across the entire district. Teachers work in small groups with students addressing academic, personal and behavioral deficiencies. Students also receive instruction in life skills such as anger management, social interactions, drug avoidance and self discipline. Students attending the alternative program are either placed by the district hearing officer or recommended by the school or parent (with support of school). They maintain a full academic schedule taught by certified teachers. Students may return to their home school when their academic and behavior goals are met.