Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Jacob Perlmutter, Principal

Academic Magnet High School is happy to welcome its new principal, Jacob Perlmutter. Perlmutter, an alumnus of Academic Magnet, most recently served as the principal of Jerry Zucker Middle School in North Charleston, where he has led since 2011. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston in the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance.

Under his leadership, Zucker Middle School has been awarded four consecutive National Showcase School Awards from Capturing Kids Hearts for exemplary outcomes with transformational processes focused on social-emotional wellbeing, relationship-driven campus culture, and student connectedness. He was also a national finalist for the prestigious National 2015 Escalante-Grandillas Best in Education Award.

He has taught students from sixth grade to graduate level college classes, with high school teaching experience at Harry S. Truman High School in New York City where he also coached soccer. Perlmutter holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston, a Master of Arts from Fordham University, and a Master of Arts from The Citadel. He is a graduate of the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Connections SC, the Center for Creative Leadership (Greensboro NC), the South Carolina Department of Education School Leadership Executive Institute, and the New York City Teaching Fellows Program.

As a 1995 graduate of the Academic Magnet School, he has a unique familiarity with traditions and legacies that define this special school. “We are confident that Mr. Perlmutter will continue the school’s tradition of academic excellence,” said Dr. Joseph Williams, CCSD Associate Superintendent of Secondary Learning. “He has a natural ability to build community in addition to his instructional gifts. He also brings a unique perspective as a former student and graduate of Academic Magnet.”


Ms. Lucy Pinckney, Associate Principal

Academic Magnet High School is delighted to announce that Ms. Lucy E. Pinckney will assume a new role as the Associate Principal with our administration team for the 2021-2022 school year. She is familiar with the responsibilities of this role having
previously served as Assistant Principal at AMHS from 2010 - 2021. During those years, Ms. Pinckney has demonstrated unparalled devotion in her service and principled leadership for our AMHS school community.

A native of Charleston, Lucy E. Pinckney, has served Charleston County School District for over 30 school years. From 1991-2000, she was an 8th  grade math teacher at Brentwood Middle School, where she was also the math lead teacher for the CCSD grow-your-own teacher initiative.

During her teaching years, Ms. Pinckney always sought additional avenues to work with students including summer school, night school, and the GEAR-Up program at the Citadel.

She became an Assistant Principal at Rivers Middle School from 2001 until its closure in 2005, the Military Magnet Academy from 2005 until 2010, and then the Academic Magnet High School from 2010 until 2021.

Ms. Pinckney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the College of Charleston and a Master of Education degree in Secondary Leadership and Supervision from the Citadel. 

In her free time Ms. Pinckney unwinds from the demands of the school day with jazz music and says that “MyMagnet is a place full of positive energy and school spirit!”


Dr. Kimberly Zerbst, Assistant Principal

Academic Magnet High School is delighted to announce that Dr. Kimberly Zerbst will be transitioning to the administration team for the 2021-2022 school year as an Assistant Principal.

Charleston is an adopted home for Dr. Zerbst who will always consider herself a farm girl from upstate New York. Dr. Zerbst holds degrees from The Citadel in Secondary Social Studies education and Secondary Educational Leadership and a doctorate in Leadership from Charleston Southern University. 

Education is a second career for Dr. Zerbst, who built a successful pottery business before finding her purpose in the classroom. Dr. Zerbst has taught Social Studies over the course of the past twelve years in courses that range from 7th grade World History to AP Psychology, AP US History, and AP World History. While her passion remains teaching students to love history, her life’s work is centered around finding ways for students to find success and joy in learning. She has served as both an Assistant Administrator and Assistant Principal at Charleston County School of the Arts, and as Instructional Coordinator and 9th grade team lead at AMHS. Her broad instructional experience and devotion to students make her a natural candidate for this new role with the AMHS leadership team.

Although Dr. Zerbst would rather be at AMHS than just about anywhere else, she does enjoy spending time with Chip (her formerly feral cat), kayaking with her daughters, and traveling, “anywhere with water and a museum will do.” In reflecting about Academic Magnet, Dr. Zerbst said “These are my people- Brilliant students, dedicated staff, committed families, what an honor to learn together in this place! #MyMagnet is a place where learning is fun!”


Ms. Monica Vallejo, School Counseling Director

Academic Magnet High School is delighted to announce that Mrs. Monica Vallejo will be joining the administration team for the 2021-2022 school year as School Counseling Director.

Monica Vallejo is a native of South Texas where she was born and raised in Corpus Christi. She attended the University of South Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. While at USC, she was a member of the Coquette dance line and is an avid Gamecock fan. After graduating, she worked as a Continuum of Care behavior specialist for
Carolina Children’s Home in Columbia. She earned a Master’s of Education in school counseling from The Citadel and received her first counseling position at Northwoods Middle School formerly Alice Birney Middle. She was the lead counselor there for 25 years prior to joining the Academic Magnet High School team.

Family has always been very important to Ms. Vallejo who is the 9th of 10 children. Her family now includes her spouse and two furbabies and her hobbies include attending Burn Boot Camp, boating in the lowcountry, and traveling to see family. Ms. Vallejo believes that all children benefit from guidance and support when it comes to developing social and emotional skills to be successful, productive and happy. #MyMagnet is a joyful place full of good health and positive energy!