Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Three additional School District Five schools achieve national magnet school certification

Lexington-Richland School District Five has announced H.E. Corley Elementary School Leadership Magnet and Montessori Magnet, Leaphart Elementary STEAM Magnet, and Nursery Road Elementary School-Arts Magnet have been named nationally certified magnet schools by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), the national association for magnet and theme-based schools.

The Lexington-Richland School District Five schools successfully completed a rigorous year-long evaluation process and demonstrated through evidence, reflection, and strategic action they have established the best practices entailed in the Magnet School Standards of Excellence.

“We are overjoyed to receive this recognition,” said Jason Pollock, H.E. Corley Elementary School principal. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication our faculty and staff have given to the students and families of H.E. Corley over the years. We have been committed to instilling the values of our Leadership magnet and Montessori magnet into our curriculum and our daily lives. I am proud to work with such an amazing group of teachers and staff that always puts students first. I am equally proud of the time and effort our staff gives to ensure that our students have a first-class education. H.E. Corley truly lives up to the vision of this district of ‘Loving and Growing our Students.’”

Leaphart Elementary School principal Courtney Sims said, “We are thrilled to be a nationally certified demonstration magnet school. The collective efforts of our faculty and staff have contributed to the overall success of our STEAM magnet program. We believe in our mission, and it’s an honor to receive national recognition!”

“Being named a national certified magnet school is such an honor,” said Nursery Road Elementary School principal Love Ligons. “It speaks to the amazing things that take place within the four walls of Nursery Road each day. Our teachers are teaching at the highest standards for magnet schools, and the support from the district and families helps make it all happen. It is a celebration of teaching and learning for our students, teachers, and staff, families, and community!”

The national certification process is based on the Standards of Excellence and the five pillars of magnet schools: diversity, innovative curriculum, and professional development, academic excellence, leadership, and family and community partnerships. Together, these qualities define the common elements of exemplary magnet programs.

The new certification means School District Five now has seven nationally certified magnet schools. Irmo Middle School International Academic Magnet, Dutch Fork Elementary School Academy of Environmental Sciences, and Spring Hill High School Career Pathways Magnet became certified in 2019. Irmo High School International School for the Arts became certified in August of 2018.

“I am so proud of the commitment and dedication of H.E. Corley Elementary School Leadership Magnet and Montessori Magnet, Leaphart Elementary STEAM Magnet, and Nursery Road Elementary School-Arts Magnet for recently receiving National Magnet Certification from Magnet Schools of America,” said Sara Wheeler, director of Magnet Schools/ Program director for School District Five. “This rigorous process recognizes and highlights the achievements of exemplary magnet schools throughout the country.”

To learn more about the Magnet Schools of America Standards of Excellence Certification program, please visit

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