Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Farewell Ms. Pinckney

An Ode to the Former Vice Principal


After working for the Charleston County School District for 30+ years and serving as the associate principal of Academic Magnet for 13 years, Ms. Pinckney announced her retirement this summer. Ms. Pickney was known for many things: her mysterious nature, her intimidating demeanor, and her strong work ethic. But what truly made her so well-respected and cherished by all? The character of Ms. Pinckney can be best introduced through a single story:



Mr. Cosgrove: I was asked to do secret sister. But I’m not intimidating, so I gave the job to Ms. Pinckney. I told her to go to the student’s classroom and not blink. So, Ms. Pinckney goes to her class and knocks on the door. I am waiting down the hall with the gift. She asks for the student and beckons her to the door with her finger. Terrified, the student starts spilling the beans. She says, “I’m sorry for parking in so and so’s spot. I’ve been doing it for a few days, but I won’t do it again. Then, she went on to tell another confession. Ms. Pickney laughs and tells her to come to me to get her gift. After, she told me, “This is a really good tactic. I have to start using this.”

The purpose of this article is to present a true Academic Magnet legend to students who were not around during her tenure or did not realize her importance. We interviewed members of the Magnet faculty so we could best examine the legacy that Ms. Pinckney left at Academic Magnet.








What is something that you appreciated about her?

Dr. Zerbst: She had an amazing poker face. I couldn’t read her. She was just really good at keeping herself under control.

Ms. Lankford: One thing I really appreciated about her was her incredible work ethic. She worked hard into the night. She worked tirelessly on schedules, and testing, and textbooks, and countless other things that people didn’t realize she was doing in the background.

Dr. Altman: She would always come and talk to you; you know she came directly to you if there was a problem. She was very direct. Always professional, but always so, so nice. And you knew that she cared about the students.

What is something that you will always remember? 

Mrs. Yackey: When she dressed up as Mrs. Incredible. I will never forget that for the rest of my life. 

Ms. Hurt: When she came into the room, it got silent. In some classrooms, everybody clapped just because she was there.

Ms. Lankford: Ms. Pinckney dressed like a million bucks, even on jeans day. 


What made her so special? 

Mr. Cosgrove: I’ve been in education for about 15 years total, and she’s just been the consumate professional. She ticks all the boxes on what you want out of a leader and an administrator. Dutiful, loved her work, loved her students. She’s as good as they come. She’s had an indelible part of this school’s existence.

Dr. Altman: She did one of the most difficult jobs doing all of the scheduling, and she did so without complaining. I told her at the luncheon that she was one of the hardest-working people I have ever worked with. She knew all the rules of the district. So dedicated. She gave her whole self to what she did. 

Ms Orr: I would say her ability to be such a quiet, authoritative figure but in a loving and respectful way. She’s the embodiment of that kind of demeanor and integrity that you should strive to reach for.


If you could say anything to Ms. Pickney, what would you say?

Principal Perlmutter:  I really miss you, Ms. Pinckney. Daily. I wish you love and wish you well in your retirement.

Mrs. Yackey: I miss you. While we are still amazingly surviving, there is a piece of our heart that is missing.

Mr Percy: I hate that she left. She was supposed to ride out the rest of the days at Magnet with me. She left me behind. You know that I retired, and then I came back; she was one of the reasons I came back.

We will never know how much she gave us. She was here all the time; she was here 24/7. Her sacrifice to Charleston County was truly something special. She did everything.

— Dr. Zerbst


In her farewell letter to the Academic Magnet community, Principal Pinckney quoted Ecclesiastes 3.1: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” She then stated: “I came for a season to serve and support the Magnet community in all of its endeavors and maintain its excellence. A job is work, but your work is not a job. My work will always be serving others.” It is evident from her words and those of the faculty that Ms. Pinckney truly dedicated herself to Academic Magnet and its community. She is well deserving of a restful retirement, and we wish her all the best.


If you would like to leave a message of gratitude to Ms. Pinckney, we invite you to leave a comment below.

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  • W

    Wilson SwensonSep 26, 2023 at 11:36 am

    I will miss Ms. Pinckney forever. This was a beautiful tribute!

  • E

    Elisha venningSep 23, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    Ms Pinckney was my middle school teacher at Brentwood Middle..An awesome teacher,an awesome Mentor…It was Ms.Pinckney,Mrs Geddis and the late Mrs Quarrels-Thompson etc…They all really teached us..Ms.Pinckney stayed fly and mentored us with a dash of sense of humor…Calling our parents was the last last resort with Ms.Pinckney..