Advocacy in Action

Members of the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) Board of Directors crafted the below letter to emphasize that it is no longer acceptable, if it ever was, to remain silent on public education. This letter, signed by more than 200 community leaders, was mailed to leaders across the state in 2018 as a first step in our efforts to provoke systemic improvement that results in significantly improved student outcomes. 

Dear South Carolina political, business and community leaders,

Together, we can do better. U.S. News and World Report ranks South Carolina 48th in the country for education, while our civic, business and faith leaders remain mostly silent. This is systems failure at its worst and at a very high cost in human potential. It is no longer acceptable, if it ever was to begin with.

Each year that we continue to accept the status quo, we continue to fail substantial numbers of our children and their families. We fail those educators making practically heroic efforts in our most challenging schools, and we fail those innovators, non-profits and donors whose efforts and potential get snuffed out or rendered unsustainable in a system under stress.

By law, the state is only required to deliver a “minimally adequate” education. We wouldn’t drive a BMW vehicle or fly in a Boeing aircraft deemed “minimally adequate,” so, why do we continue to accept that standard for our children whom we expect one day to build this state-of-the-art technology?

Together, we are taking ownership for public education and taking a stand to demand better from our school districts, school boards, legislators and decision makers.

To ensure our state’s quality of life and economic well-being, we will have to make equitable investments in public education and push new ideas and practices that work for students in poverty, even if it requires significant change to the system. To us, real equity recognizes that not all children and districts start in the same place, so providing support for our most challenged students and schools will require unequal investments and higher levels of expectation and accountability.

As was expressed in the recently released Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative Regional Education Report, we believe every school should have an excellent principal leading high-quality teachers who are setting high expectations for every child – no exceptions. Accountability standards, teacher pay and professional development must be made a priority. We also recognize the critical importance of what happens to a child early in life as a determinate of future success, which is why we support quality pre-school (3K and 4K) for all.

We know that every child can learn, and we know what is required in schools and classrooms to make that happen. It is past time for us to start providing schools the funds they need to provide a quality education, and if disruptive reform initiatives are necessary to make that happen, then it’s time for disruption. Accordingly, if you are running for governor, superintendent, mayor, county or city council, legislator or school board, we ask you to demonstrate that you understand this challenge and have a plan to address it.

We invite business, civic, faith and grassroots leaders as well as parents to join us by attaching your signature to this letter. With a collective voice, we can and must do better. Change won’t happen overnight, and it won’t be easy. We stand ready to do whatever it takes.



LB Adams, Practical Dramatics
Scott Adams, Adams & Wilson Development
Pearl V. Ascue, Community Volunteer
William Ashby, Ph.D., Charleston Southern University
Mickey Bakst, Charleston Grill and Community Advocate
Kellie Barton, Parent
Josh Bell, Charleston Coalition For Kids
Patty Bennett-Uffelman, BEGIN WITH BOOKS
Rita Berry, The Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce
Karen Black, Coastal Community Foundation
Cynthia Bledsoe, former deputy director Charleston County Public Library
Bianca Blue, Digico Agency
Bryan Boroughs, Institute for Child Success
John Boudreaux, AIA architect emeritus 
Paula Brady, SC Guardian Ad Litem
Lance and Wendy Brewer, Parents
Bob Brimmer, Councilman, Town of Mount Pleasant
Ron Brinson, Councilman, City of North Charleston
William H. Brown, University of South Carolina
Lisa Buck, Metro Electric Co. Inc.
Kate Buckholz, Parent and Carolina Youth Development Center
Jonathan H. Butzon, Community Advocate and Member, State Board of Education
Karen Byko, Community Volunteer
Rob Byko, ERA Wilder Realty
Jaime Caldwell, Charleston Regional Development Alliance
Jan Clark, The InterTech Group
Dr. Crystal Y. Campbell, Dorchester County First Steps
Jon Chalfie, Lee & Associates
Charleston County Board of Education Members and Gerrita Postlewait, Superintendent of Schools
Eileen Chepenik, Trident Literacy Association
Amanda Bunting Comen, South Side Bait and Tackle
Craig Conant, Lilyco, LLC
Kathleen Condon-Montgomery, The InterTech Group
Jamie Cooper, Communities In Schools of the Charleston Area 
Judi Corsaro, Charleston Jewish Federation
Dr. Dondi E. Costin, Charleston Southern University
Sally Morris Cote, Ph.D., The Riley Institute at Furman
Larsyn Runion Cross, Former Educator
Kristie Cumbee, ECPI University
Bobby Cummings, Cummings Wealth Management Group 
Joe DeGroff, Community Volunteer 
Rep. Joe Daning, S.C. House of Representatives
Cathy DeMers, Charleston County School District
Vanessa L. Denney, Early College High School
Linda Dennis, Backpack Journalist
Kerri Donnellan, Pattison’s Academy
Vanessa Dos Santos, Venture Aerobearings LLC
Tom Ducker, Former Charleston County School District Trustee
Debbie Easterling, Community Volunteer
Howard Edwards, Wells Fargo Advisors
Betsy A. Fanning, Trident Academy
Jane Farrell, Early Childhood Educator
Dennis A. Feinberg, Community Volunteer
Evelyn Fernandez, Parent 
Bud Ferillo, President, Ferillo & Associates, Inc.
Michael J. Fewell, The InterTech Group
Roslin J. Fields, Youth Empowerment Services, Inc.
Jacqueline Fish, Charleston Southern University
Carol Fishman, Community Volunteer
Katarina Fjording, Volvo Car US Operations
Karen Fonkert, Charleston Southern University
Brendan Ford, The InterTech Group
Dr. Rick Foster, Alliance for a Healthier SC
Ann Freeman, Community Volunteer
Mary French, Trident United Way
Gene Furchgott, Yo Art Inc.
Pat GarnerTotal Comfort Solutions
Maggie Gary, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Godfrey A. Gibbison, Ph.D, College of Charleston 
Katie Giebel, Atlas Executive Consulting, U.S. Navy veteran
David Ginn, Charleston Regional Development Alliance
Jack Goettee, South State Bank
Darrin Goss, Coastal Community Foundation
Rev. Larry Goss, Sr., Ph.D., The Destiny Worship Center
Joan S. Green, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Theresa W. Green, Charleston Area Justice Ministry
Keith S. Grybowski, Patriots Point Naval Maritime & Museum
Jamee Haley, Lowcountry Local First
Andrea L. Hampton, Ed.D,  Community Member
Gralin Nix Hampton, Gralin Hampton Auto Sales and Church House of Ministries Worldwide
Larry Hargett, Dorchester County Council
Ashley Harris, Business Objectivity Squared Wealth Management
Will Helmly, Home Telecom
Ashley Heffernan, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Tyler Heffernan, US Club Soccer
Stefanie Henry, The InterTech Group
Gloria C. Hines, Mayor, City of Darlington 
Sam Hines, The Citadel
Mary Hodgson, MurphyHodgson
Christina Hoffecker, Big Brothers Big Sisters
Mason Holland, Benefitfocus, Inc.
Jerlean P. Holmes, The House of Smiles
Nick Holmes, Business Objectivity Squared Wealth Management
Katie Houser, N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center
Courtney A. Howard, Ph.D., College of Charleston
Tiffany Howard, Help Me Grow South Carolina
Jill Gudger Howell, N2College Nationwide PreK12 Prep
Sgt. Michael J. Howell, Mercedes-Benz Vans LLC, Charleston
Allison Hunt, USS Yorktown Foundation
Carolyn Hunter, C&A Unlimited
Dr. Jairy C. Hunter Jr., Charleston Southern University
Victoria Hurst, Community Member
Carol Jackson, Councilwoman, City of Charleston
Cassandra “Sandee” Jackson, 2911 Creative LLC
Virginia W. Jamison, Councilwoman, City of North Charleston
Jessica Jarrell, Community Volunteer
David C. Jensen
Wiley Johnson, Mayor, Town of Summerville
Starr Jordan, Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
Barbara Kelley-Duncan, Community Volunteer 
Christopher Kerrigan, Trident United Way
Linda Ketner, KSI Leadership & Management Development
Julie Klaper, Community Volunteer
Sharon Klompus, Retired Educator, Montgomery County, Maryland
Laura Knotts, LaunchPath Innovation
Michael Knotts, Educator and Community Volunteer
Louise Kohlheim, Community Volunteer
Paul Kohlheim, Community Volunteer
Katherine Hyslop, The Randolph Company
Kristen Lanier, Berkeley County Economic Development
Richard E. Latham, Trident Technical College
Steve Lattuca, Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union
Jana Larson, Community Volunteer
Larry Lautenschlager, Community Volunteer
Ginny Leavitt, Parent
Ted Legasey, Community Volunteer
Coleman Legerton, Community Volunteer
Tom Leonard, Trident CEO Council
Dr. Ben LeVan, Charleston Southern University
Stacey Livingston, Parent
Lorraine Lutton, Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Debbie Maccario, Maggie Rose Boutique
Michelle Mapp, South Carolina Community Loan Fund
Cathy Marino, Community Volunteer
Debbie Marlowe, The Wine Shop/Marina ABC
Caroline Mauldin, South Carolina Future Minds
Maureen McAnnar, Law Office of Gedney M. Howe, III, P.A.
Melanie McDonald, Early College High School 
William and Jaima McInnis, Community Volunteers
David H. McNair, The McNair Group, LLC
Chris McNally, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Barbara L. Melvin
Dr. George W. Metz, Charleston Southern University
Dr. Kylon Jerome Middleton, Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Cheryl Mills,  El-Shaddai Missionary Baptist Church
Janet M. Mims, Charleston Southern University
Hayes Mizell, Leaning Forward
Jamie Moon, Institute for Child Success
Arthur Mortensen, Parent
Lee H. Moultrie II, USAF (Ret.), Community Volunteer
Nancy Muller, Ph.D., Lowcountry Graduate Center
Ryan Nelson, Nelwater Consulting 
Jim Newsome
Phil Noble, Phil Noble & Associates
Alex Opoulos, Business Objectivity Squared Wealth Management
Anna NW O’Quinn, Community Volunteer 
Carol A. Osborn, Early Childhood Educator
Stephen C. Osborne, College of Charleston
Dottie Pagliaro, Community Volunteer
Lynn Pagliaro, Community Volunteer
Fred Palm, Volunteer at Jane Edwards School, Edisto Island
David Palmer, Charleston Southern University
Harris Pastides, University of South Carolina
Margaret Peck MPH, Healthy Plate Cooking
Jon E. Pedersen, University of South Carolina
Thomas T. Peters, SC Coalition for Mathematics & Science
George J. Petersen, Clemson University
Fred and Jennifer Phillips, Community Workers
Kay W. Phillips, Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center
Sarah Piwinski, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Ericka L. Plater, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach
Eli Poliakoff, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Gabrielle Poole, Charleston Southern University
Shannon Praete, Community Volunteer and Parent
Joe Preston, Democratic Candidate 
Britton Raiford, Business Objectivity Squared Wealth Management
Christie Rainwater, Councilmember, City of Hanahan
James Ramich, Charleston RISE
Vaudrien Ray, Ruby’s Academy Preschool
John C. Read, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Richard Reams, North Charleston UMC
Brittany Reilly, Trident Technical College Student
Joseph P. Riley Jr., Former Mayor of Charleston
Wil Riley, Charleston Trident Association of Realtors
Jocelyn Rish, Reading Partners
Samuel Rivers Jr., S.C. House of Representatives
Neil Robinson, SC Education Oversight Committee
Lt. Gen. John Rosa, USAF (Ret.), The Citadel
Kathleen Roukous, Trident Technical College
Ansel Sanders, Ed.L.D., Public Education Partners 
Hunter Schimpff, South Carolina Public Charter School District
Geoff Schuler, Community Volunteer
Kathy Schwalbe, Thinking Collaborative
Christian Senger,
Scott Sharp, TD Bank
Anne Shaw, Meeting Street Elementary @Brentwood
Wendy Sheppard, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Laura Shuler, The InterTech Group
Rosalind Simmons, Trident Technical College
Steve Slifer, NumberNomics
Elliot Smalley, South Carolina Public Charter School District
Boyce Smith, Charleston Southern University
Sherrie Snipes-Williams, Charleston Promise Neighborhood
David J. Snyder, Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Deborah Somerville, Summerville High School
Gray Somerville, LaunchPath Innovation
Rev. Bill Stanfield, Metanoia
Richard Star, RJS Ventures
Robert N. Stevens, Ph.D., Southeastern School Behavioral Health Conference
Blair Stewart, Community Volunteer
Melissa Stowasser, Trident Technical College
Troy Strother, Father to Father Inc.
R. Keith Summey, Mayor, City of North Charleston
Carole C. Swiecicki, Ph.D., Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center 
Kevin Szostak, The Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce
John Tecklenburg, Mayor, City of Charleston
The Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce
Ryan Thomas, Ph.D., Charleston Southern University
Eric Thome, VentureSouth Charleston
Rodney Thompson, Ph.D., Educator
Jay Tiedemann, The InterTech Group
Dr. Andrew M. Tyminski, Clemson University
Joan Ustin, Joan K. Ustin & Associates, LLC
Chad Vail, Keep Charleston Kind
Laura Varn, Laura Varn & Associates
LaTisha Vaughn-Brandon, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Pat Walker, Lowcountry Food Bank
Kaye Wallace, Community Volunteer
Marcy S. Walsh, Community Volunteer
Michael Ward, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
Ann Warner, Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network
Karen Warren, Community Volunteer
Angelia Washington, HR Manager
Krissa Watry, Dynepic, Inc.
Martha Watson, Community Volunteer
Margaret Weinberg, Ceramic Artist
Stewart Weinberg, Ph.D., Berkeley Charter Education Association Inc.
Frances C. Welch, Ph.D., College of Charleston
Cady Nell West, Charleston Southern University
Lela Whitfield, Community Volunteer
Jeff Winkler, The InterTech Group
Shirley Temple Woods, Kinetic HiFi 
Susan R. Worthy, Professional Bookkeeper
Tammy Law-Wright, Educator
Mark Wright, SC Biz News
Dr. Mela Wyeth, Charleston Southern University
Bill Yarborough, Import Service Center, Inc.
Jerry Young, Charleston Leadership Foundation
Kristin Zeaser-Sydow, Trident Technical College
Anita Zucker, The InterTech Group
Jonathan Zucker, The InterTech Group