Coastal Community Foundation hosts Philanthropic Engagement series

Special thanks to Coastal Community Foundation for inviting TCCC CEO John C. Read to participate in a panel discussion on education during CCF’s Philanthropic Engagement series on May 14 at Blackbaud! 

Berkeley Independent: Applications due May 10 for art scholarship

Thanks to the Berkeley Independent for sharing details about the StriveTogether art scholarship!

Because of the work of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC), students in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties are eligible to apply. Applications are due by May 10.

Read the Berkeley Independent story at:


Mission Critical – North Charleston meeting planned for May 14th

To Members of the North Charleston Community:

As most of you are aware, the Garrett Academy closure announcement had made it necessary to “pause” the Mission Critical work in North Charleston while we sought clarification of the announcement from the superintendent and school board members.

There is agreement on all sides that the district could have made more effective use of this process in releasing the Garrett information and may yet do so in addressing what happens next with that facility and for those families.

We would now like to re-start the Mission Critical – North Charleston process. The previously scheduled meeting on May 7 has been rescheduled to May 14. We will meet from 6:00 until 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14 at North Charleston High School (1087 E Montague Ave, North Charleston).

We are especially interested in gathering input and feedback from parents, so we encourage you to help us spread the word by sharing this with your family, friends and colleagues.

We look forward to seeing you then!


John C. Read, Co-facilitator               Thetyka Robinson, Co-facilitator

Opinion: ‘We have an obligation to right a wrong in education’

Special thanks to The Post and Courier for publishing an Op/Ed by TCCC CEO John C. Read!

“We know that the fundamental issue impeding the progress of so many of our children is the one we have the greatest difficulty talking about, let alone acting upon here: racial bias and racism. The data may point toward poverty, but they also irrefutably point through poverty to race,” Read wrote. “Confronting and resolving the racial bias of public education will resolve just about everything else in the system that isn’t working.”

Click here to read the Opinion piece.

Academic Magnet named best high school in United States

Congratulations to Academic Magnet High School in Charleston County School District for being named the best high school in the country by U.S. News and World Report!

More than 17,000 schools were ranked on six factors based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

Read more:

TCCC supports SC for Ed protest

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) fully supports the SC for Ed rally and protest scheduled for May 1 in Columbia as a necessary disruption.

“Inaction by Gov. Henry McMaster and the S.C. Legislature on comprehensive education reform is deeply disappointing and warrants a grassroots response,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “We agree with SC for Ed that S.C. teacher pay should move toward the national average on a fixed schedule but with increased accountability for student academic growth.”

In the recently released Regional Education Report, TCCC identified specific recommendations to support the reformation of public education including: the increased use of the School of Choice Law to allow for additional innovative schools, redrawing attendance zones to increase diversity in schools, reforming school funding policies, increasing teacher salaries and providing all families access to quality, affordable pre-school (3K and 4K).

“This spring, there were encouraging signs that education reform was possible. With just days left in this legislative session, it now appears there will be little to no action,” Read said. “This means that necessary changes in education funding and other policies that are at the root of inequity and inequality – changes that will prove highly controversial and potentially divisive – will be left to next year, an election year.”

TCCC’s Math Pathways Project Team announces new convener

John M. Cooper, Ed.D, who served in several positions at Harvard University and has extensive experience in education and government, has agreed to serve as the new convener of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s Math Pathways Project Team (MPPT).

John Cooper

John Cooper

He replaces Geoffrey L. Schuler, a retired Boeing Company executive who has served as convener since the team’s creation in 2015.

MPPT, a group of math professionals at the high school and college level who are supported by TCCC, works to improve the tri-county area’s math curricula and ensure every child graduates high school ready to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce.

Cooper, who became convener of MPPT on March 19, earned a doctorate in education from Harvard University in Administration, Planning and Social Policy in 1995. He also has a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina and a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University.

He served as associate director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education after working in both the executive and legislative branches in North Carolina and South Carolina. Later, he served in several positions at Harvard, including assistant dean for finance for the faculty of arts and sciences. Cooper also was the chief financial officer and faculty member of the Institute of Health Professions at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cooper retired as the associate director of the Accreditation Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in 2016 and has been active as a community volunteer in Charleston as part of Social Venture Partners Charleston.

“Dr. Cooper’s strong background in education, administration and government makes him an excellent choice to continue MPPT’s important work,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “We look forward to seeing his leadership help to improve math education and outcomes for all tri-county children.”

Geoff Schuler

Under Schuler’s leadership, the MPPT implemented many initiatives, including:

  • Spearheading the implementation of Algebra Nation, an online math enrichment tool, which is now fully funded by the State of South Carolina for use by all school districts statewide.
  • Establishing the Excellence in Mathematics Teaching awards to recognize and honor mathematics teachers and administrators from the four regional school districts.
  • Reviewing the high school math curricula of the four tri-county school districts and recommending requirements for all high school students to complete at least four credits of math: Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry and a fourth higher-level math course beyond Algebra 2.
  • Proposing that high school math courses beyond Algebra I and Algebra 2 (e.g. Geometry and Precalculus) should include an end-of-course (EOC) exam common across each school district, that each EOC exam should align exclusively to the priority standards set for that course and that these exams should count for at least 15% of the student’s final grade for the course.

“Geoff Schuler has done an amazing job leading the Math Pathways Project Team in its work with local school systems and the state to improve math education attainment for all our children,” said Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group and chair of the TCCC Board of Directors. “We are very grateful for the team’s many accomplishments under his guidance, and we look forward to further MPPT achievements as Dr. Cooper transitions into the role.”

Zucker voted Best Community Activist and Best Philanthropist

Anita Zucker

Anita Zucker

Our wonderful Founder and Board Chair Anita Zucker has been voted Best Community Activist and Best Philanthropist by readers of Charleston City Paper in this year’s Best of Charleston Awards!

Congratulations, Anita!

Check out the winners:

Lowcountry Center for Educational Leadership (LCEL) – The Case for Support

Quality of life and long-term economic viability in the Lowcountry rest on the availability of a well-trained and ready workforce. Public education and the more than 150 public schools in the region serve as the talent supply chain for employers. The three essential elements for education attainment are highly skilled instructional leaders as principals leading highly qualified teachers who are setting high expectations for students.

Two years ago, on the heels of a successful collaboration in early literacy, we, the four school superintendents in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, initiated a project to create a pipeline of aspiring principals ready to fill vacancies as they arise. High turnover, especially in the region’s most challenging schools, too often leads to individuals being placed in these positions with too little time to prepare. We are determined to do something about it.

A nationwide review of best practices in principal preparation was conducted on our behalf by Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC), with support from the Wallace Foundation, over a one-year period. Three evidence-based programs emerged whose representatives were invited to the region to make a proposal. Of these, the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) was selected.

There are two components to this superintendents’ initiative:

Instructional Leadership Training – Sitting Principals and Principal Supervisors

This summer, 45 sitting principals from the four districts will begin a year-long training, conducted by CEL in the Lowcountry and paid for entirely by the districts. A second training for principal supervisors is available and will be delivered in the future. Both program components will be managed by the LCEL going forward, once the center is established.

Aspiring Principals Training

The development of an aspiring principals training is intended to serve the needs of the four districts and yield candidates who are state-certified and ready to serve. Candidates for this program will be identified by each district, and principal vacancies within each district will be filled as much as possible by its graduates.

The development work will be supported by consultants working with CEL and completed by representatives of all four districts to assure not only a common core curriculum but also responsiveness to the distinctive practices of each district.

The cost of this development work and a turn-key approach to launching the center is $400,000. Of this amount, $350,000 is intended to cover the cost of developing the program with support from the CEL and consultants who will be working with CEL and district representatives to adapt the CEL model to the Lowcountry. The remaining $50,000 constitutes a down payment on the cost of the LCEL staff.

We do not contemplate a brick-and-mortar center but a virtual organization, with one to two staff managing logistics and equipping themselves to serve as trainers. Once established, the center will be overseen by the districts and be self-supporting, based on tuition paid by each district. Establishing a relationship with a college or university serving the Lowcountry will be considered as the work develops.

We are seeking support from multiple sources: national foundations, the state government and individual support. However, we are also looking to our business and community leaders who have the most to gain from a well-educated and trained workforce.

There is every indication that for the first time in decades real education reform in the region and state is possible. Assuring our children and their teachers have highly qualified instructional leaders in every school is the surest means of sustaining transformation.

For more information, please contact John C. Read at or Terri Nichols at


Dr. Eddie Ingram, Superintendent, Berkeley County School District

Dr. Gerrita Postlewait, Superintendent, Charleston County School District

Mr. Joe Pye, Superintendent, Dorchester School District Two

Dr. Morris Ravenell, Superintendent, Dorchester School District Four

Panelists discuss education reform during TCCC event at CSU

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative released its fifth annual Regional Education Report on April 9 at Charleston Southern University.

During the event, TCCC hosted a panel discussion featuring Melanie Barton, executive director of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, Anjene Davis, a community advocate; Gerrita Postlewait, superintendent of the Charleston County School District; and Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group.

Melanie Barton

Melanie Barton

Barton said she is pessimistic about the S.C. General Assembly passing significant education reform during this session.

“What the General Assembly, I think, will end up doing is increasing starting salaries of teachers from $32,000 to $35,000 as the minimum. They’ll give all other teachers a 4% pay raise. That’s in both versions of the bill. I think it’s done,” she said. “There may be a reduction in end-of-year testing in social studies and science, and there may be legislation to force some smaller, multi-county school districts to merge or give them incentives to merge, because that’s also in the budget. And then we will call it a win; we’re done. That’s my greatest fear that nothing else will change and that’s what we’re going to call ‘we’ve addressed the issue.’”

Barton said ideas like “disruption” – the theme of TCCC’s newest Regional Education Report – require courage, leadership and a grassroots revolution to be accomplished.

“Honestly, in my talks – and I’ve been around the state a good bit – I honestly don’t think that the public believes we have a crisis,” she said.

Anita Zucker

Anita Zucker

Zucker, who founded TCCC, urged the business community to be courageous and take a leadership role in ensuring education reform is a priority.

“The business community better step up and stand up and get really loud. I know Boeing is always up at the Statehouse. They’re always in the middle of this,” Zucker said. “The rest of us might need to get on a bus and join them because they’re not hearing and not understanding. … If we, as a community, don’t stand up and have that sense of urgency and bias for action, we will never be able to create the necessary change.”

Davis shared that the region’s Black community has the sense of urgency but is fatigued.

Anjene Davis

Anjene Davis

“The unfortunate part about it is, though, that many people I represent will never set foot in this room, will never sit at the tables where the decisions and conversations will be made. … In the Black community, primarily, we’re fatigued with all the efforts, the change. It seems as though every year or every other year, there is some initiative coming down the pipe, especially as it relates to education. Some imperative,” Davis said. “When you look at the statistics as they’re reported, African American students and Hispanic students bear the brunt of the negative research and statistics that are out there.”

He said Black families feel that they are at a disadvantage because they are consistently asked to follow and do things that never seem to work.

“When you think about it, parents are the investors in our school systems. Every morning, parents get up and send their most precious gifts into our schools with the idea that the school, in turn, is going to do its best job to educate and make sure that our babies become the best people they can be,” Davis said. “It is very disheartening to consistently hear on a regular basis that the schools in which African-American students are the predominant populations are the failing schools.”

Gerrita Postlewait

Gerrita Postlewait

Postlewait – who provided an update on CCSD’s Mission Critical work, an effort to improve the education system – acknowledged that “what we have done in the past is not getting us to where we want to go.”

She said the district is now undertaking a kind of change that makes people very uncomfortable.

“It’s the type of change that is unpopular, the type of change that frightens people because they don’t know whether to trust that this time it will be different,” Postlewait said. “Very quickly, we have to show the community that we are earnest about listening to them, about taking some of their suggestions, about being malleable in our thinking, and our responses have to fairly quickly show that what we do differently will produce some results. … We must speak with one voice. We must find one courageous heart, and, when we take action, we cannot afford to fire inward on one another.”



Read the PDF version of the Regional Education Report.

Watch a short animated video about the report’s data.

Watch the full Community Leadership Council event video.

Check out photos from the April 9 event.