New head of The King’s Academy school wants to build on success
FLORENCE, S.C. – Rob Van Ness began work early this month as the new head of school for The King’s Academy.
Van Ness moved to Florence after completing a 26-year stint as head of school at Chapelgate Christian Academy in Marriottsville, Maryland. For the past couple of years, Van Ness said he and his wife felt God leading them toward a change.
Van Ness jokes that a school bus brought him to The King’s Academy. Last October, a Chapelgate Christian Academy bus driver drove a school bus purchased by The King’s Academy to Florence. Van Ness connected with the school and learned that Head of School David Wolff planned to retire.
“He’s been very gracious in this transition,” Van Ness said of Wolff.
During his first few months of work, Van Ness said he plans to listen well and learn.
“As I see things that may be advantageous to make change for, we’ll look at that, but we’ll do it as a team,” Van Ness said.
Van Ness said there is wisdom in the saying, “doing good better.”
“You look for ways to do good things better, and there’s a lot of good things happening at The King’s Academy,” Van Ness said.
“One of the things that attracted me early on to the school was their focus on helping kids to think outside of themselves through mission trips and through service in the community,” Van Ness said. “I think that’s a rare thing, and to watch these kids embrace that and to love that, that to me says something about the school.”
Van Ness is originally from Upstate New York. He attended The King’s College in New York City, and his first job after graduation was as a physical education teacher. However, Van Ness said that as is the case in many Christian schools, he assumed additional duties such as bus driver and coach. But he would not change his more than 40 years of experience in education.
“I think that’s what God has called me to do,” Van Ness said.
Van Ness said he enjoys interacting with students, understanding who they are, listening to questions and offering advice or sharing life experiences.
Some of his greatest achievements in his most recent post at Chapelgate, which is 30 miles west of Balitimore, included completing three accreditations and growing the advanced placement and international student programs.