Thank you to our summer interns

It has been such a pleasure to have Riley Haas and Caroline Vail as interns with Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative for eight weeks this summer. The interns came to TCCC as participants of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Student Leaders program.

Haas and Vail worked on a number of projects and brought a fresh perspective on how to reach students.

The Student Leaders program is a significant component of Bank of America’s commitment to strengthening the economic and social health of communities. At its core, Student Leaders is designed to help develop the next generation of community leaders.

Haas is senior this year at Academic Magnet High School. Within the school environment, Riley is a member of many service clubs and organizations, including Key Club, Freshmen Peer Mentoring and National Honor Society.

Vail is a senior at Porter-Gaud School. She is involved in cheerleading, drama productions, mock trial teams, Model United Nations and the Senior Leadership Council.


TCCC submits position statements on education reform to SC legislators

In response to a legislative request for input on education reform measures, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative sent South Carolina legislators its views on what goals and guiding principles must be in place for overhauling the state’s education system.

Legislation S419, which is under consideration by the Senate Education Committee, proposes several measures to improve education statewide, and the committee has asked for input from key education stakeholders. The SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) Office also has sought comments on its May, 2019 Report on education funding reform.

TCCC recommends that legislators first establish a clear “Goal” statement for public education that goes beyond the “Profile of the South Carolina Graduate” by adding clearly defined achievement goals for education attainment as well as progress measures to assure that students receive a college- or career-ready education.

TCCC also identifies what it believes are the critical elements necessary for the successful achievement of an education goal, including equitable funding, effective leadership, highly effective teaching and universal early childhood education.

“Setting a goal for K-12 public education and assuring the success of our students is public policy at the highest level and should be set by the General Assembly,” said Anita Zucker, TCCC board chairman and CEO of The InterTech Group.

In this submission, TCCC also proposes a set of principles to bound and guide the work of redesigning education funding. Responding to the RFA Report, TCCC states that reform measures must consider funding equity down to the student level so that resources “flow through districts, schools and classrooms to students with the greatest needs.” Currently,

models under consideration go only to the district level and rely on “averages” that can mask wide disparities in student needs. TCCC’s recommended principles also call for stabilized funding that is less susceptible to economic fluctuations and affords greater flexibility for local school administrators.

“Revenues that support schools are far too complex, siloed and cyclical to be reliable, let alone sufficient to support the student-centered equity public education needs,” said John Read, TCCC’s CEO.

TCCC believes statutory goals and principles should first be established in order to provide a framework for the education and education funding reform efforts which it hopes will be taken up by the General Assembly in the coming months. Read informed Senate Education Committee Chairman Greg Hembree that TCCC would be submitting its comments on S.419 to the committee in the coming weeks, based on these goals and principles.

Read TCCC’s Goals and Education Funding Submission to Legislators

TCCC welcomes Marcus Trinidad as AmeriCorps VISTA member

Marcus Trinidad

Marcus Trinidad

Marcus Trinidad, a recent graduate of Oregon State University (OSU), has joined Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative for the next year as a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA member.

Trinidad is one of 19 VISTA members who serve under the auspices of the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, which manages the local AmeriCorps VISTA grant program. Organizations around Charleston county were invited to apply to the city and were chosen to host a VISTA member if they met the necessary requirements.

The AmeriCorps VISTA program, funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, mobilizes its members to fight poverty by focusing on education, health and economic opportunity. The program seeks to help organizations, agencies and nonprofits build sustainable systems, improve capacity and operate in an integrated and collaborative manner that allow them to better serve their clients.

Trinidad’s focus at TCCC will be to work collectively and collaboratively with Tri-County schools and relevant stakeholders to develop a comprehensive and sustainable strategy that supports a regional college-going culture. A main area of focus will be to improve knowledge and awareness of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) among school district staff and the community at large. TCCC’s FAFSA project seeks to increase the number of local high school students, especially from low income families, who apply for financial assistance for post-secondary education.

Trinidad graduated in May from OSU with bachelor’s degrees in mathematical economics and political science and a minor in statistics. He most recently served as the editor-in-chief for the national-award winning school newspaper The Daily Barometer.

Additionally, Trinidad gained government experience interning for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and for Portland’s Black Male Achievement initiative. He also previously worked on community social justice issues and a first-year college student peer mentorship at OSU as a Community Relations Facilitator.

After his AmeriCorps VISTA service, Trinidad plans on attending graduate school to pursue a master’s in public policy.

Charleston Regional Business Journal hosts Power Breakfast on education

Special thanks to the Charleston Regional Business Journal for hosting a Power Breakfast today on education.

Panelists included:

  • David GinnPresident & CEO, Charleston Regional Development Alliance
  • Dr. Gerrita PostlewaitSuperintendent, Charleston County School District
  • The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers IIIPastor, Charity Missionary Baptist Church
  • Laura VarnVice President of People & Culture and Communications, Parkland USA

Two high school students join TCCC for summer internship

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative was selected by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to host two Student Leaders this summer for an eight-week internship program.

The Student Leaders program is a significant component of Bank of America’s commitment to strengthening the economic and social health of communities. At its core, Student Leaders is designed to help develop the next generation of community leaders.

TCCC’s Student Leaders are Riley Haas and Caroline Vail:

Riley Haas

Riley Haas

Riley Haas is a rising senior at Academic Magnet High School. Within the school environment, Riley is a member of many service clubs and organizations, including Key Club, Freshmen Peer Mentoring and National Honor Society.

Within the community, Riley volunteers with the Read365 Program, and she loves the opportunity to promote reading and build her student’s future school career. In addition, Riley plays club soccer for South Carolina United FC in Columbia, S.C., and for the varsity high school team, with aspirations to play in college.

Riley enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the beach, paddle boarding and playing indoor soccer in Charleston. In the future, Riley wants to pursue a career in the healthcare field.

Caroline Vail

Caroline Vail

Caroline Vail is a rising senior at Porter-Gaud School. She is involved in cheerleading, drama productions, mock trial teams, Model United Nations and the Senior Leadership Council.

She is interested in social change and hopes to study Social Science and Spanish in college. Caroline also currently volunteers with Read365 at Meeting Street Elementary @ Brentwood and is dedicated to making an impact on her community before leaving for college.

For this reason, she is excited to continue to work with TCCC this summer and to better understand their role in the community in the process.

TCCC Board of Directors welcomes Hsu, Walters

Two college presidents joined the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative Board of Directors on June 19.

Andrew Hsu, Ph.D.

Andrew Hsu, Ph.D.

College of Charleston President Andrew Hsu, Ph.D., and The Citadel President Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.), were both elected to three-year terms.

Hsu was selected as the college’s 23rd president in November 2018 and formally took office in May. Before joining the college, he was the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Toledo.

He also previously served as the Dean of Engineering at San Jose State University and as the Associate Vice President for Research and the Dean of the Graduate School at Wright State University.

Hsu earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Walters joined The Citadel in October 2018 as the institution’s 20th president. Prior to returning to his alma mater, he served nearly 40 years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, including as the Assistant Commandant, the Corps’ second-highest ranking officer.

Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.)

Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.)

He also previously served as Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources, Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Commander of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) in Afghanistan and Deputy Director of the Joint Staff J-8.

Walters’ military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with Star, the Air Medal, and numerous campaign and unit awards.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Citadel.

“I am proud to welcome Dr. Hsu and Gen. Walters to the board. Our institutions of higher education play a pivotal role in the work we at TCCC do to improve the quality of life of citizens in this region,” said Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group and chair of the TCCC Board of Directors. “I’m confident that their experience, leadership and support will help guide us in the years ahead.”

The following individuals recently retired from the board: Carol Fishman, community volunteer; Will Helmly, Home Telecom; Frances Welch, College of Charleston; Julie Medich, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd; and Rodney Thompson, retired educator. Their participation and commitment were greatly appreciated, and their leadership will be missed.

CSU hosting STEM day for middle, high school students

Charleston Southern University is hosting a STEM Day from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, July 26 for middle and high school students.

To register or to learn more, contact Ryan Thomas at


Less than a month remains until FAFSA deadline

The deadline is approaching to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students planning to attend college in the 2019-2020 school year must submit the FAFSA by June 30 at the official government site

Filling out the FAFSA is the first step for students to access federal grants and loans as well as both state and institutional grants and scholarships. These funds can be used to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies. The funding accessed by completing the FAFSA is a pivotal part in many students’ decision to attend college.

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s (TCCC) Future Ready Network launched the College Cash Campaign last year to provide supports for tri-county high schools during the 2018-2019 school year. The goal of the campaign is to increase FAFSA completion and college enrollment rates in regional high schools.

Over the past three years, more than 7,600 tri-county high school graduates did not enroll in college, and they are unlikely to qualify for the 60% of S.C. jobs that require a postsecondary credential.

“Education attainment is the most assured vehicle for social mobility. To meet the needs of the future workforce and improve economic mobility for youth in our region, more students need to pursue and complete a postsecondary degree or credential,” said Sarah Piwinski, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s Director of Data Management and Analysis. “Many students choose not to pursue postsecondary education because they believe they cannot afford to enroll. Funds accessed by the FAFSA can help make college more affordable.”

TCCC staff support have been working alongside school guidance counselors, administrators and teachers to build a college-going culture, host financial aid literacy workshops and outreach events, and provide FAFSA completion and college application assistance.

“It is important for families to know that they should submit a FAFSA whether they think they will qualify for aid or not,” Piwinski said. “For students to have access to federal loans, grants and work-study programs, the FAFSA is required.”

Students and parents with FAFSA-related questions should contact their school’s guidance department, call the federal student aid toll-free hotline at 1-800-433-3243 or visit TCCC’s College Cash Campaign webpage at

CRBJ Power Breakfast to focus on TCCC’s Regional Education Report

The Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Power Breakfast on Thursday, June 27 will focus on Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative’s recently released Regional Education Report.

This report, titled “Disruption,” identifies how inequity shows itself across the cradle-to-career continuum and provides actions and disruptions that are needed to cause public education to support the success of every child from birth.

Event details:

When: 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 27

Where: North Charleston Marriott, 4770 Goer Drive

Cost: $45

Tickets: Click here

Kindergarten Readiness Network reviews Birth to 8 Framework

Special thanks to those who attended today’s Kindergarten Readiness Network meeting!

Attendees reviewed the most recent kindergarten readiness data and a draft version of the network’s Birth to 8 Framework, which will be used to guide the group’s work going forward.

The purpose of the Kindergarten Readiness Network is to ensure children entering kindergarten in the tri-county region arrive to school prepared and ready to learn. To join the network and/or to learn more, please contact LaTisha Vaughn at