Special thanks to the panelists and all those who attended today’s Charleston Regional Business Journal Power Breakfast! The event focused on tri-county education and TCCC’s recently released Regional Education Report: Chapter 4.
TCCC CEO John C. Read did a short presentation on the report, and then panelists from the region fielded questions about what needs to happen to improve educational outcomes.
Get to know the speakers:
Cathy Almquist, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Trident Technical College
Cathy Almquist has been with Trident Technical College since 1990 when she joined the faculty as a chemistry instructor. She holds an associate in arts from Iowa Western Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the College of Charleston, a Master of Science in immunobiology from Iowa State University and a doctorate of management in community college policy and administration.
“We don’t want something that’s surface level. We need commitment, and we need that commitment from every sector of our society,” Almquist said. “It’s no longer OK to simply say, ‘We fund public education. It’s their job to crank out good, productive workers.’ The evidence shows us that’s not what’s happening. We’ve got to get a deeper commitment, and it’s got to come from everybody.”
Jessica Jackson, Senior Manager of Global Engagement, Boeing South Carolina
Jessica Jackson represents Boeing to ensure successful implementation of the company’s corporate citizenship mission by committing company resources for community investments in the areas of education, health and human services, arts and culture, civic and environment. She has a master’s degree from Georgetown University and previously served as a vice president at the S.C. Federal Credit Union.
“This is imperative for the business community. This is our future,” Jackson said. “Yes, generally speaking, we might not have trouble filling certain jobs right now, but that’s not going to be the case 10, 20, 50 years from now, so we’ve got to fix it now.”
Ted Legasey, Chair, Charleston Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors
Ted Legasey is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in math. He also holds a master’s in operations research from the University of Pennsylvania. He spent nine years on active duty as an Air Force officer. He founded and served as the operational leader of SRA International Inc. before taking the company public in 2002.
“There is one very big lever that, if pulled properly, could make a material difference in what’s happening in our schools. Every business leader who came here will get this right away. It’s called talent,” Legasey said. “If we could have, as John said in his remarks, a superbly qualified principal with highly qualified teachers who are on the same page about high expectations for the children and for each other, we would make a material difference in the way children are educated. How that happens is a tough issue, but that’s what needs to happen.”
John C. Read, CEO, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
John C. Read returned to Charleston in 2014 to serve as CEO of TCCC after serving as CEO for SeriousFun Children’s Network, Paul Newman’s global network of camps and programs serving children with life threatening illnesses. Read previously served as CEO for Outward Bound USA from 2001 to 2010. Read holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Harvard University and honorary doctorate degrees from Centenary College and Shenandoah University.
“Systems failure is complex. This one counts among its victims not only the generations of children who are and have been poorly served, but talented educators and administrators exerting practically heroic efforts to make things better,” Read said. “It is no longer sufficient, if it ever was, to leave the job of changing the system only to those who are a part of it. Complex systems change rarely happens that way.”
Anita Zucker, CEO, The InterTech Group
Anita Zucker is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. She also received a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of North Florida. Zucker taught elementary school for more than 10 years, and today serves as CEO for The InterTech Group Inc. in North Charleston.
“We don’t have time to lose another generation of children. That’s the bottom line,” Zucker said. “We are losing our children. Do we not understand they’re our greatest asset? We need to save children. I think the only way we can do it is by standing up and taking a stand, using our voices. We’ve got to save our children’s lives.”