ALL4SC Partner Named State Superintendent of the Year

J.R. Green is celebrated for his Superintendent of the Year award (📸: The Voice of Fairfield County)

Dr. J.R. Green understands more than most the need to transform education outside of schoolhouse walls. As the superintendent of the Fairfield County School District, Green’s mission is to work with and inspire young people while providing them with an education that forms the foundation of their future.

In recognition of his leadership, the South Carolina Association of School Administrators  recently named Green the 2021 South Carolina School Superintendent of the Year. SCASA gives the award annually to a district superintendent as a component of the National Superintendent of the Year program of the American Association of School Administrators. 

William Frick, chair of the Fairfield County School Board, has had the opportunity to observe Green’s leadership as an educator and community builder. “Dr. Green talked about having a ‘culture change’ in the Fairfield County School District,” said Frick. “Our students graduate with two years of college as they graduate from high school, overall test scores are improving, and financially we are operating with a balanced budget.”

ALL4SC is partnering with the Fairfield County School District in a pilot project to begin prototyping a model for the transformation of education in South Carolina and the nation. 

“J.R. is the quintessential exemplary school superintendent — leading with his values what matters most for children as well as leading by listening to and learning from others,” notes Barnett Berry, research professor and founding director of ALL4SC at the UofSC. 

Green works closely with many education leaders, like ALL4SC, to increase academic and economic opportunity for his students and the overall community. “If we are really being forward thinking, we recognize that in order to change the trajectory of young people’s lives, we have to address more than what happens within the schoolhouse walls,” noted Green when asked about the need to address out-of-school factors in South Carolina. These opportunities are significant in accelerating advancement in his school community, as 90 percent of Fairfield County School District students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

A product of two parents who instilled the value of education in him, Green spent several years in education administration before becoming FCSD superintendent in 2012. He received his doctorate degree, two master's degrees and a bachelor’s degree from the UofSC. He currently serves on the State Board of Education and is a member of the Providence Health Board of Trustees and a director for the Midlands Education and Business Alliance.

Mentoring as a Proven Strategy to Close Achievement Gaps

Jasmine Carter

Jasmine Carter, a 2016 graduate of Fairfield Central High School, is a quintessential introvert — quiet, reserved, and thoughtful. Jasmine, 22, is not one to seek attention. Thankfully, she agreed to tell her story about how an insecure, young girl from rural Jenkinsville, South Carolina, developed the mindset and skills to graduate second in her class and earn a much-needed scholarship to college.

Jasmine’s story captures what effective mentoring looks like and how it helps young people, particularly those from under-represented communities. Her story is one about a better future for every young person — how our public education system, from cradle to career, can help students reach their full potential. Her story shines a light on a whole child and whole community approach to teaching and learning and illustrates how our universities and colleges can do more to close opportunity and achievement gaps.

This fall, ALL4SC is working with the Fairfield County School District and UofSC President Bob Caslen’s Mentoring Initiative to pair UofSC mentors with local students with the goal of exposing them to higher education opportunities.

Read more about Jasmin’s success story here.

National Partnership Supports ALL4SC Goals

ALL4SC works with organizations in South Carolina and around the country that share the goal of transforming how students are educated in highest-need school communities. 

Universities around the country are playing a key role in this plan for transformation by connecting educators, policy makers and other agencies that support student success, starting from a child’s birth through career. ALL4SC and UofSC have joined with the University-Assisted Community Schools Network to expand resources available in SC and share successes with more than 20 institutions of higher education around the country. 

“Being part of larger national partnerships like UACS can only bring more creative thinking and new ideas to our work at ALL4SC,” said Barnett Berry, founding director of ALL4SC.

This month’s UACS newsletter highlights a UCLA partnership and focuses on strategies being used at a community school in Los Angeles that is teacher-led and locally governed. This unique structure is leading to more engaged students because of a structure that encourages teachers to try new ways of doing things. Read more about this partnership here.

Mentor Moment

Sedrick Sweat, a senior in the South Carolina Honors College, has a knack for inspiring those younger than he is. 

As a UofSC Multicultural Assistance Peer Program mentor, Sweat donated his time to mentor a diverse group of first-year students at UofSC. This service helped set the stage for leadership in his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., for which he serves as president. 

Plus, Sweat is using his mentor skills as part of President Bob Caslen’s Mentorship Initiative that has a goal of getting more high school students to attend college. The Mentorship Initiative is one of the programs integrated into ALL4SC to support the state’s highest need school communities.

“I strive to meet a diverse group of students and create a safe space to lead them down the best path possible,” said Sweat when asked what he expects from this initiative. “The challenge to mentor middle school students offers me the opportunity to adapt my leadership style to their needs.”

To accomplish his mentorship goals, Sweat is working to create common ground with his mentees by leading with emotion and by the example that has been ingrained in his character.

Facebook Interview Features Tips for the New School Year from 2020 SC Teacher of the Year

Facebook interviewed Chanda Jefferson, a biology teacher at Fairfield Central High School and 2020 Teacher of the Year, seeking her advice for parents navigating the virtual school experience.

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