The School Foundation to honor William Hubbard at upcoming gala

on Monday, 25 August 2014. Posted in News

Published in the Morning News Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:59 pm

Florence, S.C. —William Hubbard, a 1970 graduate of McClenaghan High School, will be honored as FlorenceSchool District 1’s Distinguished Graduate at the 13th Annual School Foundation Celebration Gala to be held on Tuesday, October 7, foundation officials announced recently.

“We are excited to recognize William as our 2014 distinguished graduate,” said Debbie Hyler, executive director of The School Foundation. “As the first attorney in South Carolina to be named president of the American Bar Association, William’s success proves that our goals can be attained through hard work and perseverance. His continued motivation inspires us to continue to pursue our dreams.”

Jean Leatherman, the chairwoman of the foundation’s fund development committee, said that the foundation aims to inspire and challenge students and faculty every year by spotlighting the life and career of a successful Florence 1 graduate.

“This year’s honoree is extraordinary, with a distinguished legal career and exceptional service to Florentines and South Carolinians!,” Leatherman said. “William Hubbard epitomizes all that is good about life in Florence: good family, good Christian values, and quality schools that prepare you for global success and service.”

Born and raised in Florence, Hubbard attended Royall Elementary, Moore Junior High, and McClenaghan High. He graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of South   Carolina in 1974 and received his Juris Doctor from the USC School of Law in 1977. Hubbard practices business litigation at Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough in Columbia. In addition to his ABA leadership, he chairs the board of directors of the World Justice Project, a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. He has served on the board of trustees of the University of South   Carolina since 1986, and served as chairman of the board from 1996-2000.

During his term as president of the ABA, Hubbard will focus on legal education reform, access to justice for the poor and middle class through innovation, sentencing reform, diversity in the legal profession, and helping young lawyers succeed in their craft.

The School Foundation promotes educational excellence in FlorenceSchool District 1 through grants for innovative learning and through high impact initiatives designed to prepare all students for success. They are currently leading a school readiness awareness campaign focusing on preparing all children to enter kindergarten with the skills needed to succeed. Founded in 2000, they have funded over $962,000 in grants to educators in FlorenceSchool District 1.

The event will be held at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT). It begins at 5:30 p.m. and will end promptly at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $75 for FSD1 educators and $100 for individuals. Reserved tables of eight begin at $1,000 (bronze sponsorship), $2,500 (silver), $5,000 (gold) and $10,000 (platinum). A VIP reception will be held for contributors of $2,500 or more.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Hyler at 843-662-9996 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can also purchase tickets on the foundation’s website,

Attorney reaches profession's 'pinnacle'

on Monday, 11 August 2014. Posted in News

Columbia lawyer William Hubbard will be sworn in Monday in Boston as president of the American Bar Association.

“He has achieved what for American lawyers is really the pinnacle,” said S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, who is interrupting a family vacation to fly to Boston at her own expense to swear in Hubbard during the association’s annual convention.

Toal said she had been a mentor to Hubbard since he was a law student and she was a member of the General Assembly back in the mid-1970s.

“To have a really grounded experienced trial lawyer from a small state navigate all the politics in a big national organization to the extent of being able to speak for all American lawyers is just quite a wonderful thing,” Toal said.

Hubbard, a member of the Nelson Mullins law firm and a longtime member of USC’s board of trustees, will be the first South Carolinian to lead the ABA.

There are about 1 million lawyers in the United States, and some 400,000 are members of the ABA. The group has about 600 employees in Chicago, its headquarters, as well as about 300 in Washington, D.C. As president, Hubbard is CEO of the group, as well as chief spokesperson.

To become ABA head, Hubbard, 62, spend years cultivating relationships with lawyers around the country, serving on numerous committees and rising through a legal hierarchy.

“It’s a great honor for me, and I hope the state of South Carolina, to represent the state and to lead the American legal profession,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Hubbard said he expects his 12-month tenure as president will be full of travel around the nation and world (a trip to China is in the offing), speeches, interviews with journalists, attending various bar and judicial conferences, meetings with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Supreme Court, as well as testimony before Congressional committees – to name a few.

“It will take up the vast majority of my time over the next 12 months,” Hubbard said. Nelson Mullins is supportive, he said. Other partners will handle his legal work, he said.

Hubbard said his goals include working to close what he calls “the justice gap.”

“Despite all the efforts of pro bono lawyers and legal service lawyers, we still have a large segment of the population that is not being served by our justice system,” Hubbard said. Some 80 percent of poor people, and some 70 percent of people of moderate means, don’t have access to the civil legal system because of costs or complexity or unfamiliarity with the system, he said.

To address that, Hubbard said, he has put together a “blue ribbon commission” including academics and lawyers and technology experts that will try to help the ABA make the justice system more efficient and accessible to people with problems from disability rights to wills.

“In some states, in family court, in 95 percent of the cases, one party or the other is not represented,” Hubbard said.

Other areas: trying to get more representation for victims of domestic violence and their children, making sure children who cross the U.S. southern border illegally get due process, working to get programs instead of prison for non-violent offenders and spreading the word about the rule of law and human rights to less developed nations.

Hubbard hasn’t held political office. But since 1986, he has been a member of the University of South Carolina board of trustees – a position that requires him to lobby members of the Legislature to vote for him every four years to retain his seat.

USC president Harris Pastides said Hubbard’s tenure to ABA president will help the university and the state.

“The coattails of an ABA president are very long,” Pastides said. “Wherever he goes, he’ll be taking USC and the state with him. It’s a remarkable achievement.”

As trustee, Hubbard is known for his efforts to beautify the campus and develop architectural guidelines. “Around campus, I’m known as a tree-hugger,” he allowed. “I spent a lot of time urging them to plant trees.”

Hubbard said he hopes to attend the trustees’ meetings – “as many as I can” – over the next year, as well as “a couple of football games.”

Pediatricians Call For Parents To Read Aloud To Their Children Every Day

on Tuesday, 24 June 2014. Posted in News

Published in The Huffington Post - June 24, 2014

If your child's next visit to the pediatrician includes a clear emphasis on reading, don't be surprised.

On Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first-ever policy statement focused on literacy promotion, calling for pediatricians to advise all parents about the many benefits of reading aloud, which promotes literacy and social-emotional skills.

"Reading with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships and stimulate early language development," Dr. Pamela High, a pediatrician and professor at Brown University's Alpert Medical School, told The Huffington Post.

"The benefits are so compelling that encouraging reading at check-ups has become an essential part of care," added High, who was the lead author on the new statement.
Numerous studies have measured the importance of reading aloud. However, one 2007 estimate found that fewer than half of young children in the United States are read to on a daily basis. Every year, more than one in three children in the United States starts kindergarten without the language skills required to learn how to read, according to data cited in the new statement.

The problem is particularly pronounced among children born into low-income families, who hear fewer words in early childhood and know fewer words by age 3, the authors write.
But many high-income families also fall short: The 2011 to 2012 National Survey of Children's Health found that in families with incomes at or below the federal poverty threshold, only 34 percent of children age 5 and under were read to daily. In families whose incomes were 400 percent of the poverty threshold, however, 60 percent of those children were read to daily.

"Even in higher-income families, many children do not experience the enhanced engagement and language-rich parent-child interactions, including book handling, print exposure and other early literacy experiences afforded by daily shared reading," the authors write. "All families face issues of limited time, limited parental understanding of the key role of reading aloud and competition for the child's interest and attention from other sources of entertainment, such as electronic media."

The new statement, aimed at the American Academy of Pediatrics' 62,000 members, urges pediatricians to talk to parents about how critical reading aloud is for children's brain development and literacy skills, and to provide books during visits for all low-income, high-risk children.

It also argues that literacy promotion should be included in pediatric residency programs, and it calls for federal and state funding to help manage the costs of making age-appropriate books available during routine care.

As for parents, High said they should remember the so-called "5 Rs" of early education: reading with their children daily as part of a set routine; rhyming, singing and cuddling with them throughout the day; establishing routines and regular times for meals and sleep; rewarding them for their efforts and successes to boost self-esteem; and developing relationships that are reciprocal and nurturing. Parents should make daily reading a part of their regular, set routine.
"Pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely that early shared reading is both fun and ultimately very rewarding," she said.

Principal, Student Pair wins Dancing With The Stars

on Tuesday, 13 May 2014. Posted in News

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:53 pm
ELLEN MEDER, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — After a five-way tie of perfect scores, the judges of Dancing With The Stars of Florence named a new pair of technical skills winners Thursday night: Southside Middle School Principal Craig Washington and his dance partner and South Florence High senior Cheyanne Beck.  Dancing an energetic jive to "Shake a Tail Feather," including several tricks, spins and lifts, the pair took home the coveted mirror ball trophy after a dance-off to help the judges select from the top contenders.  "I'm excited, I am just completely overwhelmed," Washington said. "Shocked and surprised, but just happy. I've had a great partner, she is just fabulous and she just worked with me and it really paid off."

The event is the main fundraiser for The School Foundation, a nonprofit charged with providing grants to Florence School District 1 classrooms and helping bolster school readiness in the area. Washington said that seeing how much good The School Foundation does made him sign up to help out, even though his primary art-related talent is using instruments to play music, not dancing to it.  Washington's mirror ball will sit out in the front office of Southside, which is known for its arts-integrated curriculum, where he said he hopes it will serve as an inspiration for students that "hard work pays off."

The other pairs who earned perfect scores in the first round were Rob Ardis and Sarah Johnson, Nick Townsend and Meggie Baker, John Chase and his new 11th hour partner Brea Boatwright, Jeff Stevens and Rebecca Kelley and FitzLee McEachin and Georganna Kelley.  Ardis, the COO of Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, and Johnson, also a South Florence senior, might not have snagged the mirror ball, but they did walk away with trophies for most entertaining. The outgoing pair locked away the win with an acrobatic, cheerleader-themed dance to "Hey Mickey" that wowed the judges and elicited some of the most crowd involvement.

Michelle Cato, of Roche Carolina, and her partner Jovan Kindred won the people's choice award, followed by runners-up Jeff Stevens with Carolina Canners Inc. and Dr. Rakesh Chokshi of Pee Dee Spine Center.  The people's choice award was decided by public voting that has been going on since January via online, $10 ballots, but ended in a flurry of cash and checks from the audience — which included nearly 750 of Florence's movers and shakers.  With approximately 18,975 votes cast, that's well over $189,700 going to The School Foundation.  Executive Director Debbie Hyler said it's still to early to tell how much the event netted the organization, but she said it was one of the group's most successful events to date.

"I think it went great. I think we had a great variety of dancers and dance styles and the crowd I think just had a really good time," she said. "We had great support. so I'm sure it was a very successful event monetarily, so we're excited."

This year The School Foundation board is poised to dole out more than $151,000 in grants, some large and some as small as $500, to classrooms around Florence 1. The deadline for applications this year is April 25. For more information on how to donate to The School Foundation or how to educators can apply for grants visit

Early childhood education is a long-term investment

on Thursday, 03 April 2014. Posted in News

Initiatives aim to get children ready for kindergarten

Ellen Meder
Published:  Morning News
March 30, 2014

For progress to occur and initial investment must be made, and the Pee Dee is ponying up when it comes to education, investing heavily in the front end of the process.

One of the reasons early childhood education has become a rallying cry in the past three years is the convincing research Francis Marion University professor Dr. Tammy Pawloski has shared with many community leaders. Though estimates vary, it is thought that $1 of investment in early childhood education can yield $9 to $17 later in the form of fewer special education referrals, less remediation, fewer teen pregnancies and fewer violent crimes.

"Children who participate in high-quality child care are more likely to successfully complete high school and earn higher salaries," Pawloski said. "Early childhood education makes sense for the long term, as well as the short."
Florence School District 1's board unanimously passed an intensive early childhood education plan last spring that has become a pilot for the whole state, garnering $500,000 funding to help.

Though he'll be retiring this summer, Florence 1 Superintendent Allie E. Brooks Jr. said the district is going the right direction toward narrowing the achievement gap.

"In all my 46 years in education, this initiative is probably the most fundamentally sound education initiative that any community could ever undertake, because we're talking about impacting everybody," Brooks said.

Brooks said that to help traditionally underperforming groups of students, educators have to help families change the curriculum of the home where children learn so much, because when some students have heard 100,000 fewer words by kindergarten, it can be difficult to catch up.

The plan is ambitious: within five years the district will increase the number of children under five served from 325 to 1,400 a year, at a cost of $3.6 million annually. That includes programs like giving parents of children younger than 17 months additional resources on brain-stimulating activities for infants, growing the existing Parent Child Home program that brings a specialist and toys and books to the families to learn constructive play, and finally growing the 3K and 4K preschools.

But the district knows it can't do it alone. That's why in addition to giving its own preschool instructors training on brain development and stimulating play, it has opened its training sessions to any and all child care providers in the area.

"The overwhelming majority of those children will wind up in the public schools, so we need to be speaking the same language," Brooks said. "We need to be consistent in exposing these students to what standards they will be expected to master. And so once again, it takes a village to raise a child."

That village mentality is also what Brooks thinks will make this focus stick for years. Florence 1 has a huge ally in The School Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising and distributing grant money for district schools and now leading the early childhood education charge.

The School Foundation got local and national businesses to buy into the importance early on, and at the start of the year began implementing its Start 2 Read program,
which will bring books and experts to area businesses so parents can learn the best, most stimulating ways to interact with their young children.

It also launched Start Smart, an online tool families can use to check their child's readiness and ask development experts questions.

Other areas are beginning to look at the importance of early childhood education as well, including Darlington County Schools which had a conference on the subject in the fall.

Florence 1 school board members have expressed a hope that the state and federal governments will decide to invest in the nation's youngest learners too, but until then they will solicit business funds, seek grants and prioritize the budget to keep promises of getting students ready to enter kindergarten.

The reason it works to focus on such young children? They don't wait to enroll in school to start learning. Pawloski said that while infants are born with just 10 percent of their neural connections, 90 percent are developed by age 5 and 50 percent of brain development happens in that time, more than any other.

"This development is driven by experiences, and the brain is built to stretch to meet the demands of the environment," she said. "If a child is exposed to high-quality, stimulating experiences, then his brain will grow in ways that will help him make sense of the world."

Prepping for Kindergarten

To illustrate some issues stepped up early childhood education aims to help, we did a Q&A with a 5K kindergarten teacher to hear about the differences she sees in school readiness. Karen Pattillo has taught 38 years and is currently at Dewey L. Carter Elementary School in Florence 1.

Q. Describe the difference in a more advanced student and a student who is less prepared.

A. An advanced student has an extensive vocabulary with developed oral language. He has often had much exposure to books and many learning experiences, such as going to the beach or visiting a zoo, etc. These experiences help to build vocabulary/language and help the student understand the books that he will read. An advanced student has good self-help skills (ties own shoes, zips jacket, is responsible in getting school folder back each day, keeps up with required work, etc.). An advanced student should be able to work, play and get along with others as well as follow classroom and school procedures. A student who is less prepared needs time to develop his vocabulary and language so that he will be able to learn to read and write. It is very difficult to "catch up" when a child needs two years of growth or more in one year to be on grade level. This student may not have had a chance to be with other children; therefore, he may have difficulty sharing or working on a project with other students. This child may need help in learning to take care of such things as tying his own shoes and zipping his jacket. Learning to do these things can build up a child's self-esteem.

Q. How does having a variety of preparedness levels influence how you teach a class?

A. I never feel that I have enough time to do everything that I would like to do with each child. I try to use different modalities/styles of teaching. Many activities are planned to challenge the more advanced student and provide opportunities for the less advanced student to learn the material. This is a challenge to the teachers as well.

Q. From your perspective how does school preparedness make an impact on students as their education progresses?

A. School preparedness is so vital. With the Common Core Standards and the rigid requirements in each grade level (including kindergarten), students need to be ready to work together, learn to read and write and be able to become more independent and responsible learners. Thank you, Floyd Creech, and many others who support helping our community provide for young children (0-5) so they can learn the self-help skills, the social skills and other readiness skills that are necessary for them to be successful learners.

Florence Start SMART program receives investment from state

on Wednesday, 26 March 2014. Posted in News

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:43 pm

FLORENCE, S.C. – Start SMART, a program unveiled by The School Foundation last September, is moving full steam ahead according to an update Florence School District 1 gave educators, supporters and board members Monday at the R.N. Beck Center.

S.C. Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman presented an installment check from the state for $147,500 to see that the program continues to prepare children for kindergarten.

An essential part of the Start SMART program is the availability of resources for families and educators to ensure that all children in the Florence area are developmentally ready for school by the time they enter kindergarten. Some of those resources include psychological services, health and nutrition, early childhood professional development to assist child care centers and the availability of parent workshops.

School Readiness Director Dr. Floyd Creech said that the program, which kicked off last September, has already met many goals and is on track to surpass others.

Currently there are 369 preschool children signed up for the program, which exceeds the goal of 300. Creech said one reason for the success is offering online registration. That service has more than doubled the number of applications organizers would have expected at this point.

One of the highlights announced was the Start 2 Read program that will send a Start SMART-certified early childhood teacher to a business to talk to parents of one, two or three year old children. The teacher will share with the parent one of eight children's books, tips for effective reading aloud to their child and a reading tip sheet. Creech said it's a unique initiative in the workplace. To date, books have been distributed to more than 200 families.
"People sometimes think parents in poverty don't work but that's not true," he said. "Parents in poverty work two jobs and may not have time for home visitors. They do have time on their breaks at work."

School District Board of Trustees Chairman Porter Stewart said the Start SMART program really starts from birth.
"We are seeking to reach these children in their developmental stages," Stewart said. "It makes perfectly logical sense to reach them while they are developing before they get to kindergarten, instead of having to catch up."

Leatherman, chairman of the senate finance committee, was instrumental in getting the $590,000 grant from the state for the program. As a father and grandfather he was a little skeptical at first but, "When I saw the results it was phenomenal what children can do when they have access to these kinds of programs."

Start SMART receives over 2,000 books

on Monday, 17 February 2014. Posted in News

The News Journal

Barnes and Noble presented The School Foundation and Florence One’s School Readiness Program with over 2,000 books for the Start SMART initiative on Feb. 6 at the R.N. Beck Child Development Center. The books were donated by Barnes and Noble customers during their annual holiday book drive, said Michele Rogers, community relations manager with Barnes and Noble. The Start SMART program is designed to give parents in our community the resources they need to prepare their children for kindergarten, explained Debbie Hyler, executive director of The School Foundation. “Education doesn’t just begin when a child reaches kindergarten – it begins at birth, Hyler commented.  

“So much has got to happen between the ages of birth and three.” Over the years, The School Foundation has prided itself on supporting and contributing to FSD1’s K-12 teachers and students. With the creation of the Start SMART program, they’ve added a new goal – assisting parents in preparing their children for kindergarten. These books will be distributed to parents, along with reading tips to help them know how to read to their children. For more information about the Start Smart Initiative you may call Mrs. Hyler at 843-662-9996 or visit the website at The website offers resources to help parents chart their child's development.

Florence early reading program gets big donation

on Sunday, 09 February 2014. Posted in News

Ellen Meder, Morning News
Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 

More than 2,000 books purchased by Barnes and Noble customers given to Start Smart

FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence's Barnes & Noble book store donated more than 2,000 books purchased by its customers to the Start Smart initiative Thursday, the result of the store's annual holiday drive.  Community relations manager Michele Rogers said the store makes a point every year to encourage customers to donate books to a local nonprofit that promotes literacy, and this year the newly formed Start Smart struck her as the way to go.  "I heard about them through the radio advertisements they had, so I contacted Debbie (Hyler) and she explained the program to me and we knew it was a perfect fit," Rogers said.

Smart Start is an effort launched last year by The School Foundation, in conjunction with Florence School District 1, with the aim of getting all children in the area ready to learn by the time they start kindergarten.  Hyler, the director of The School Foundation, said the program and its website are all about letting parents know what is developmentally good for infants and toddlers, and giving them resources and tips on how to play with and read to children to help them learn early.  The 2,117 books purchased for the drive by Barnes & Noble customers will be sorted and catalogued by district staff to be distributed to parents of young children in the community.

Start Smart has just kicked off one of its main programs, Start 2 Read, which will access these parents through their employers who have agreed to participate and set up learning sessions with district reading coaches. Hyler said that not only will parents of children who are 1, 2 and 3 years old get copies of the eight books on the Start 2 Read list for the year — the classic "Goodnight Moon" is first up — but the reading coaches will explain and parents see developmentally appropriate teaching opportunities on every page, even the pages with few words.  "Often in those picture books, there's not a lot of words on the page but there are so many opportunities to talk about maybe body parts on a face or the stripes or patterns. I mean there are just so many words that you can use, but often people might not know better ways to read with young children," Hyler said.  She said Start Smart wants to make it clear that a lot of important development and learning happens in the first three years, and that all parents should seek information on how to foster play that helps with brain development.

So far the program will be piloted with employees of Assurant, city of Florence, BlueCross BlueShield, and Johnson Controls. Hyler said Start Smart will work with the business community to set up more parent sessions and to gain donations for books to distribute.

For more information or to take a developmental quiz to gauge your child's readiness, visit

Dancing With the Stars of Florence back for another spin on the dance floor

on Monday, 13 January 2014. Posted in News

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 9:28 pm
Ellen Meder Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — Dancing With the Stars of Florence will be back for another year of tangos, cha chas and  jives this spring, but for the 12 pairs  competing for the coveted mirror ball trophy, the journey to greatness  started this week.

The annual fundraiser for The School  Foundation is set for April 10 and will  feature 12 sets of local "celebrities" or  business people about town and area  "professional dancers" or gracious  student dancers and theatre buffs. Tuesday night the pairings got to find out who they would be dancing with and choose their songs.

Michelle Cato of Roche Carolina Inc. said that she decided to dance because it's a great cause to raise money for children and their education. "I've seen the real show on TV and it looks cool and fun and it's going to be a blast," Cato said. "I'm incredibly nervous too. I've never done anything like this before other than like getting on a dance floor a little if music is playing at an event. I think I have some rhythm." Her dance partner CJ Miller, who is a theatre teacher in Kingstree and has performed in many local production said he too was roped in by the good cause. "I was contacted by Rebecca Kelley [another dancer] and when she asked if I'd do it I freaked out," Miller said. "I was so excited because I do theatre around here and thought I was a Florence star now and she said 'No, no you're going to be a dancer,' so that was funny but I was excited. And then I found out it was to raise money and that was even better."

Debbie Hyler, the executive director of The School Foundation, worked with Burnadene Kelley of Kelley's Fine Arts to match up dancers and stars based on mutual interest — in Cato and Miller's case they are both military veterans.

At the event, where video of last year's DWTSF played in the background, there was an air of nervous excitement as many of the non-dancers came to terms with the fact that they will soon be strutting their stuff in front of an audience.

Southside Middle School principal Craig Washington, who is no stranger to the arts as a musician and the leader of an arts-centric school, still said it's going to be an exciting and nerve-wracking event. "I've got to get my feet moving to the music now, not my fingers," Washington said.

The School Foundation will be posting photos of the couples on their Facebook page and giving updates until April 10 so that the public can keep up with the dancers' progress with their new students.

Dance pairs for the 2014 Dancing With The Starts of Florence Competition:

(Celebrity, company they represent, professional dancer)

-Rob Ardis, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Inc, with Sara Johnson
-Jason Carrico, Sexton Dental Clinic, Inc, with Tiffany Welsh
-Michelle Cato, Roche Carolina Inc., with CJ Miller
-John Chase, Wells Fargo Advisors, with Lynsie Daniels
-Rakesh Chokshi, Pee Dee Spine Center, with Brandi Williamson
-Trina Folk, GE Healthcare, with Frankie Sullivan
-Fred Krainin, Pee Dee Cardiology Associates, P.A., with Brea Boatwright
-Dana Lecznar, Assurant Specialty Property, with Phillip Rast
-FitzLee McEachin, McEachin & McEachin, P.A., with Shandi Cox
-Jeff Stevens, Carolina Canners, Inc., with Rebecca Kelley
-Nick Townsend, Carolinas Hospital System, with Meggie Baker
-Craig Washington, Southside Middle School, with Cheyanne Beck

Beginning February 1 can cast votes for their favorite couple at for $10 a vote. At the show three couples will receive mirror balls for "The People's Choice." That night a panel of expert judges will also crown a "Technical Skills Winner" and a "Most Entertaining" couple.

The School Foundation's board member Ed Love and local celebrity Audra Coble will be master and mistress of ceremonies. The 2013 celebrities will perform the opening act and the KFA Extreme team will provide special entertainment throughout the evening.

The night of Dancing With The Starts of Florence, April 10, will begin with a 6 p.m. reception with food drinks and prizes and the competition begins at 7 p.m. A limited number of individual tickets and tables will go on sale to the public Jan. 13. Individual tickets are $75 and tables for eight guests begin at $1,000.

For more information visit

The School Foundation is a nonprofit that awards grants to schools and teachers in Florence School District 1 to support education innovation and has also championed early childhood education in the area, recently kicking off the Start Smart initiative to encourage school readiness of all children.

School Foundation announces its 2014 Dancing With the Stars of Florence dance couples

on Saturday, 11 January 2014. Posted in News

Published in The News Journal
January 8, 2013

Local celebrities and their professional dance partners will square off on April 10 at SiMT for a chance to win the coveted mirror ball trophy at the fourth annual Dancing With The Stars of Florence. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the competition will begin at 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy food, beverages, fellowship, and an opportunity to win a Kindle Fire, donated by BB&T. A limited number of tables and individual tickets will go on sale to the public on Jan. 13. Pricing for tables of eight guests begin at $1,000 and individual tickets sell for $75.

This year's dancers, celebrities and professionals, are: Rob Ardis, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative Inc., and Sara Johnson Michelle Cato, Roche Carolina Inc., and CJ Miller John Chase, Wells Fargo Advisors, and Lynsie Daniels Rakesh Chokshi, Pee Dee Spine Center, a division of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates, and Brandi Williamson Trina Folk, GE Healthcare, and Frankie Sullivan Fred Krainin, Pee Dee Cardiology Associates, P.A., and Brea Boatwright Dana Lecznar, Assurant Specialty Property, and Phillip Rast FitzLee McEachin, McEachin & McEachin, P.A., and Shandi Cox Jeff Stevens, Carolina Canners Inc. and Rebecca Kelley Nick Townsend, Carolinas Hospital System, and Meggie Baker Craig Washington, Southside Middle School, and Cheyanne Beck Jason Carrico, Sexton Dental Clinic Inc. and Tiffany Welsh

You can follow the dancers' progress on Facebook at!/ TheSchoolFoundation?fref=ts.!/TheSchoolFoundation?fref=ts. After Feb. 1, fans can vote online for their favorite couple(s) at for $10 per vote.

The "People's Choice" mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples raising the most votes. A panel of judges will name one couple "Technical Skills Winner" based on the contestants' overall skills. This year, an additional category "Most Entertaining" will be added and voted on by the judges. The School Foundation's board member Ed Love and local celebrity Audra Coble will be master and mistress of ceremonies. The 2013 celebrities will perform the opening act and the KFA Extreme team will provide special entertainment throughout the evening.

About The School Foundation

Founded in 2000, The School Foundation promotes educational excellence in Florence, SC School District 1 through grants for innovative learning and through high impact initiatives designed to prepare all students for success. To learn more about The School Foundation, visit their website at To date, the foundation has provided over $810,000 in grants to FSD1 educators.

School Foundation Receives Early Childhood Champion Award

on Monday, 05 August 2013. Posted in News

School Foundation Receives Early Childhood Champion Award

The School Foundation in Florence received an Early Childhood Champion Award at the Institute for Child Success's Annual Celebration on April 22 at the Hyatt Regency on Main Street in downtown Greenville.

The School Foundation was recognized for their outstanding commitment to fostering the success of young children in South Carolina.

The Institute for Child Success is a research and policy organization working across South Carolina to create a culture that facilitates and fosters the success of young children.

The ICS Early Childhood Champion Award is awarded annually to an individual, individuals, or organizations demonstrating outstanding efforts toward fostering positive change through their work to strengthen the early childhood system in South Carolina. Recipients are chosen annually by the ICS Board of Directors.

Recipients may represent any discipline or sector and may be engaged in the early childhood system as a volunteer and/or as a paid professional.

The keynote address for the annual meeting was delivered by Robert Dugger, Managing Partner, Hanover Investment Corporation and Chairman of the ReadyNation National Advisory Board. Rob is a former partner in Tudor Investment Corporation and is a highly respected investor.

In addition to Dugger's address, Dr. Susan Thomson Shi, Chair of the Institute's Board of Directors, and Jamie Moon, ICS President made remarks and presented an update on the Institute's work and upcoming projects. The Early Learning Council of Georgetown County also received an Early Childhood Champion Award.

About ICS - Through research, advocacy and integration the Institute for Child Success leads public and private partnerships to coordinate, enhance and improve resources for the success of all children. A partnership of the Greenville Health System Children's Hospital and the United Way of Greenville County, ICS supports service providers and advocates focused on early childhood development, healthcare, and education – all to coordinate, enhance, and improve those efforts for the maximum effect in the lives of young people.

For more information: www.

Throw Money at Schools? Let's Pick the Best Target

on Monday, 10 June 2013. Posted in News

Throw Money at Schools? Let's Pick the Best Target

Our children need to be ready to enter Kindergarten. Read this interesting article published in The Morning News - Throw Money at Schools - Let's pick the best target.


on Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Posted in News


Join us in taking the ReadyNation pledge signaling your belief in the importance of quality early childhood development programs and a commitment to work to ensure children are ready to succeed.

Grant Approval

on Wednesday, 13 March 2013. Posted in News

Grant Approval

Our Board of Directors has approved $99,440.79 to be distributed in grants for the 2013-2014 school year. We are excited to support FSD1 educators. To date, The School Foundation has donated over $810,000 to FSD1 schools!

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