Letter: Reform education funding laws

Special thanks to The Post & Courier for publishing TCCC CEO John C. Read’s letter to the editor, titled “Reform education funding laws.”

“All of the reports and studies are explicit: The vestiges of racial biases pervade the existing system and must be eliminated before every child can succeed,” Read said.

Click here to read the letter.

TCCC recommends changes to innovative schools, teacher salary, early childhood

Note: A previous version of this press release included an error in the teacher pay recommendation. The mistake has been corrected, and TCCC sincerely regrets the error.

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative announced the first of what will likely be a series of actions needed to support the reformation of public education in the tri-county region and across the state. Education attainment in the region has shown almost no progress over the past six years, and TCCC has expanded its advocacy work to press for change.

These first three actions are the result of deliberations by TCCC’s staff and Board of Directors, as well as ongoing consultation with various community groups.

1. We believe that to reform public education from within, local school boards should be permitted, supported and encouraged to create more than one innovative school per district. Legislative language should be included that directs this flexibility toward innovative models serving high-poverty areas and with community representatives at the decision table.

For example, districts are limited to one such innovative school under the terms of the School of Choice Law. In the tri-county region, only the Charleston County School District has created an innovative school.

2. We believe an increase in teacher pay to the Southeast region market average is the first step in improving teacher recruitment and retention. A 5% salary increase is required immediately, followed by a 15% increase over time to move toward the national average. Salary increases should be fully funded by the state.

The teacher shortage in schools and in the teacher-training pipeline has reached crisis proportions, and there is no doubt that pay is a critical factor. If the tri-county region is unable to assure a pipeline of qualified teachers, there is no possible way to close workforce gaps in other occupations.

3. We believe that focused attention by the state on early childhood development and education is a necessary step in support of education attainment for all. We support the reorganization of state agencies to place programs supporting early childhood in a single department.

The state of South Carolina has early childhood support programs spread across multiple departments, making coordination and alignment of these initiatives impossible. Reorganization is the first step toward increasing evidence-based programs, especially for children and families at risk.

“We strongly encourage our state lawmakers to make these necessary changes and to make education reform a meaningful priority,” said Laura Varn, a member of the TCCC Board of Directors and chair of the Board’s Advocacy Subcommittee. “It’s time we stand up for our teachers and our children as an investment in our future.”

Additional recommendations on more complex system-reform issues are likely, especially solutions intended to address inequity.

“The Post & Courier’s ‘Minimally Adequate’ series has set the stage for real reform to take place in South Carolina public education, and we cannot afford to squander the opportunity,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “These recommendations are first steps in the systems-change process. We intend to make additional policy and legislative recommendations, in partnership with grassroots community groups in the tri-county region, to the point of disruption.”

“The Teachers Voice for Change” event planned for Feb. 28

The College of Charleston’s School of Education, Health, and Human Performance is hosting an event at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center, Room 101, for teachers to share their vision for the future of education.

Town hall scheduled in North Charleston for Feb. 11

A North Charleston Area Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. on February 11 at 4441 Durant Avenue to discuss closing the gap in the school district.

Rally for reform planned for Monday, Feb. 11

Regional school boards will hold a rally for reform at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11 at Lightsey Chapel at Charleston Southern University (9200 University Blvd., North Charleston).

Come together for a public meeting with legislators, teachers, community members and parents to learn more about education reform in South Carolina. The event will feature:

  • In-depth discussion about the need for education reform
  • Individuals sharing real-life experiences
  • Questions and answers

The event is sponsored by the South Carolina School Board Association’s Region 1 (Beaufort, Colleton, Dorchester Two, Dorchester Four and Jasper) including Berkeley and Charleston.


National nonprofit StriveTogether awards $150,000 grant to TCCC

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all students in the region, has received $150,000 from StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working to bring communities together around data to make decisions and improve results for children.

TCCC will use the grant funds – in partnership with Father to Father Inc., Metanoia and Trident United Way – to ensure that the region’s students are ready for kindergarten by aligning organizations, individuals and resources and committing to a shared vision.

The grant is part of StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Community Challenge, which seeks to create local change to enable economic mobility. The program’s goal is to strengthen and align the many systems, such as education, employment, health and housing, that shape opportunity for children and families in America.

“We appreciate StriveTogether’s financial support and confidence in our work,” said TCCC CEO John C. Read. “Although TCCC has begun the work of building the capacity of community-based organizations, the grant will help TCCC continue to infuse equity into the work and help deepen community engagement efforts by authentically engaging the region’s grassroots, parents and students.”

Since launching in 2018, the Community Challenge has committed to investing nearly $30 million in 35 communities over the next three years.

“StriveTogether launched the Cradle to Career Community Challenge because we refuse to settle for a world in which a child’s ability to thrive is dictated by factors like race or income,” StriveTogether President and CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “From partners across the country, we know the urgency of this work and the value of creating lasting change in communities.”

TCCC, a member of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, was selected for the Accelerator Fund of the Community Challenge. The Accelerator Fund will advance equity and systems change in communities that are close to achieving proof point, an important measure of progress along StriveTogether’s framework. The fund also provides an intensive leadership development program with targeted training and technical assistance.

You’re invited to attend Charleston Shared Future presentation on Monday

Over the past several months, about 30 individuals have been working to co-create a set of four scenarios about the future of education in Charleston County.

This community effort, called Charleston Shared Future, took into account previous studies, including the Clemson Study on Diversity and Inclusion, The Post and Courier’s “Minimally Adequate” series, The Avery Institute’s Racial Disparity Study, the 1998 Harvard Study on Charleston’s Education System, the recent Charleston County School District (CCSD) strategic plan and other relevant data and experiences.

After several months of work, the four scenarios are ready to be shared.

Community members are invited to the Charleston Shared Future Scenario Team’s initial presentation to the CCSD Board of Trustees from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, January 28 at Burke High School. Click here to reserve your seat.

Additionally, the Charleston Shared Future team will host community conversation sessions for citizens to speak with members of the team. Those sessions will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29 at the following locations:

  • Ashley River Creative Arts School – 1841 Wallace School Rd, Charleston
  • Stall High School – 3625 Ashley Phosphate Rd, North Charleston
  • Wando High School – 1000 Warrior Way, Mt. Pleasant
  • St. Johns High School – 1518 Main Road, Johns Island

Space may be limited at each site, so attendees are encouraged to reserve a spot in advance.

For questions or additional information, please visit https://www.ccsdschools.com/about_us/shared_future_project.

Racial Equity Institute

We’re thrilled that so many members of the TCCC Board of Directors went through Racial Equity Institute (REI) training today!

In attendance, among many others, were: The InterTech Group CEO Anita Zucker, Charleston County School District Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait, Volvo Car University’s Katarina Fjording, Coastal Community Foundation’s Darrin Goss, Community Volunteers Larry Lautenschlager and Paul Kohlheim, Nelson Mullins’ Eli Poliakoff, The Boeing Company’s Jessica Jackson, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance’s David Ginn, C&A Unlimited’s Carolyn Hunter and College of Charleston Dean Frances Welch.

The YWCA of Greater Charleston first brought the Racial Equity Institute (REI), nationally recognized for helping communities address institutional racism, to Charleston in January 2017 with seven supportive partners, including TCCC. Click here to learn more about this incredible training.



Get Your Tickets Now for Steeplechase of Charleston Charity Gala

It’s time to get dressed up for a night of live music, dinner, drinks and much more!

There’s only 8 tables left, so purchase your tickets now for the Steeplechase of Charleston Charity Gala benefitting Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative!

Here are the details:

When: 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2019

Where: Hibernian Hall, 105 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Attire: Black tie optional

Tickets: Click here

TCCC welcomes applications for CEO

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative welcomes applications for the position of Chief Executive Officer.

The Opportunity

A national movement has been building all across the country, rooted in a shared commitment to improved educational outcomes for all our children. By bringing together a wide range of partners—not just families and educators from early childhood, K-12 and higher education, but also businesses, government entities, philanthropy and nonprofits – these communities are transforming the way they work together across often siloed sectors to achieve better outcomes for every child, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

In 2012, a group of regional leaders joined forces to create the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC), which brings together partners from across the region to address large-scale social issues surrounding education. TCCC is a community movement in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, committed to improving educational outcomes for ALL students. Using data and focused community collaboration across a continuum from “cradle-to-career,” TCCC works to build and implement strategies that will facilitate widespread systemic change, with the ultimate goal of increased student success and economic prosperity.

The Board of TCCC has launched a search for a CEO to build on the considerable work achieved to date. The incoming CEO will have the opportunity to expand capacity regionally to further accelerate the progress of local communities in the improvement of educational outcomes across the tri-county area.

The Position

The incoming CEO will join a team that is proud to serve such a critical mission and fully committed to implementing the goals of the organization. The CEO will work closely with the Board of Directors to develop and cultivate relationships and will lead cross-sector collaborations in using data and metrics as elements of a highly disciplined approach to inform decision-making. The CEO will grow the Collaborative by encouraging new stakeholders to align their work around TCCC goals and encourage investors to align human capital and financial investments in support of the evidence-based strategies of the organization. Along with the Board of Directors, the CEO will establish short and long-range action plans, timelines and strategies to ensure the TCCC meets established goals and objectives. Other responsibilities include fundraising, board stewardship, public relations and outreach, financial oversight and staff management.

The Ideal Candidate

Experience: The ideal candidate to become CEO of TCCC will offer…

  • Experience with results-based leadership; experience with collective impact and large-scale constructive change is a plus.
  • The gravitas to enlist other leaders in service to the mission while relating well to all stakeholders.
  • A record of considerable success working through a network of relationships and strategic partners to achieve a specific goal.
  • A strategic perspective, combined with clear respect for the power of data — both quantitative and qualitative.
  • An authentic leadership style, preferably born of a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; someone whose personal journey informs the commitment to our mission.
  • Superior communication skills, whatever the medium; genuine comfort in an external-facing role; the ease of a natural relationship-builder.
  • Experience in developing donors and raising funds to support an organization. Not afraid to ask for money.
  • An understanding of the public education system and a passion for improving the lives of children.
  • A pervasive commitment to data-driven decision-making; a results-oriented leadership style.

Culture: Our CEO should be…

  • A well-organized, systems thinker genuinely passionate about improving educational outcomes.
  • A mission-driven proponent of continuous improvement.
  • Tenacious in the face of intractable challenges.
  • A true servant leader, ambitious for the mission rather than for oneself.
  • A discerning listener who understands our local culture and history.
  • Experienced in managing ambiguity.
  • Respectful of the power of diversity and persuasive in eliminating disparities.
  • Respectful of team members’ expertise and committed to their personal development.
  • A natural delegator who embraces transparency.
  • A senior colleague people enjoy working with.
Our Community

Consistently named among Condé Nast Traveler’s top 10 US destinations, Charleston, South Carolina is a world-class city. Beautifully preserved historic sites, outstanding resorts and recreational facilities, and its premier waterfront location attract millions of visitors and new residents to the Charleston area each year. With a mild year-round climate, miles of beaches and waterways, a burgeoning young professional scene and several up‐and-coming neighborhoods, the region is thriving, even during difficult economic times. This influx of diverse people of all ages, backgrounds, and origins also sustains an incredible array of world cuisine, shopping, and cultural amenities rarely found in markets of similarly sized communities. The Tri‐County region is also home to several colleges and universities, which greatly influence the vibrancy and diversity of the community. Growth in the economy has been spurred by the recent addition of The Boeing Company, along with a growing number of high tech and entrepreneurial companies.



A bachelor’s degree or higher, management experience and the ability to demonstrate success in leadership roles.


Significant senior management experience in a non-profit or NGO (including leading a small internal team and a large, diverse board) and/or a track record of leading large-scale social change initiatives.


To apply, please send a compelling letter/case statement describing why you have an interest in this position and making the case that you are the best person to lead this initiative. Letters should not exceed three pages. Please also attach a resume that outlines relevant qualifications and experience, and your availability. All applications will be confidential.

Coastal Community Foundation is leading the CEO search. All applications should be submitted to ceosearch@coastalcommunityfoundation.org.  The deadline for submission is Thursday, January 31, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact David Galvin at ceosearch@coastalcommunityfoundation.org.