Charleston County School District appoints new Academic Magnet principal

Note: Jacob Perlmutter, photo above, earned a Master’s of Education degree from The Citadel in 2009. The college recently asked him to reflect on the value of education from The Citadel Graduate College.

In my studies in the graduate program at The Citadel’s Zucker Family School of Education, I learned about school law, educational policy and project management, but I was really learning about character, about conviction and about integrity. The school has a reputation for leadership but for me, those late night classes in Capers Hall were all about service…about finding a way to make a meaningful contribution to the world.

Jacob Perlmutter, The Citadel Graduate College Class of 2009

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Libby Stanford

Academic Magnet High School will be under the leadership of Jacob Perlmutter, starting July 1. 

The Charleston County School District announced Perlmutter as the new principal on June 3. Perlmutter is taking over the position from Catherine Spencer, who is leaving the school to open an international school in Cairo, Egypt. 

Perlmutter is no stranger to the district or Academic Magnet. He graduated from the high school in 1995 before going on to study at the College of Charleston, Fordham University and The Citadel. 

Most recently, he worked as the principal of Jerry Zucker Middle School in North Charleston, a position he has held since 2011.

In Perlmutter’s time as principal, the school was awarded four consecutive National Showcase School Awards from Capturing Kids Hearts, a program that helps schools improve social and emotional learning and culture. 

The middle school was recognized for having outstanding focus on social-emotional well-being, relationship-driven campus culture and student connectedness, according to a news release.  

The principal also teaches as an adjunct professor in the school of education, health and human performance at the College of Charleston. 

Before returning to Charleston to teach, Perlmutter taught at Harry S. Truman High School in New York City. In all, he has taught students from sixth grade to graduate school, according to the news release. 

Perlmutter will be entering Academic Magnet after the school experienced four years of success under Spencer’s leadership. In 2020 and 2021, the school placed second in the U.S. World News and Report’s ranking of high schools across the nation. In 2019, it placed first. 

In 2021, the school produced 16 of the district’s 21 National Merit Scholars, who competed against students across the country to receive college scholarships. One of those scholars, Lily Lassiter, was also awarded the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholarship.

Lassiter was one of 14 students from the school to be a semifinalist for the scholarship program, which is only awarded to one male and one female student in each state. She is also the second student from the school to receive the distinction in the past four years.

In the news release, Joseph Williams, the district’s associate superintendent of secondary learning, said the district chose Perlmutter because of his experience as a former student of the school and as “his natural ability to build community.”