CALN Hos⁠t⁠s Successful Sou⁠t⁠h Carol⁠i⁠na School Board Pr⁠i⁠mer

June 27, 2024

Kayla Maloney

CALN Project Manager

The Carolinas Academic Leadership Network hosted their South Carolina Candidate and Community Primer last Saturday at the South Carolina Public Charter School District Building in Columbia. With dozens in attendance, the expert speakers CALN brought in delivered their presentations to a packed (to the brim) house, with even more attending via Zoom. 

One thing is clear: South Carolina has a very dedicated group of school board members, candidates, and community leaders committed to academic excellence in our schools! Attendees came from every corner of the state, with some driving more than four hours to spend their Saturday learning how to provide the best education for South Carolina students. The Primer garnered South Carolinians from every walk of life – those who have been school board members for years, fresh members and repeat candidates, and new community leaders just barely entering the fight for our students.  

The day was kicked off by Jonathan Butcher who gave an encouraging message to South Carolina’s freedom fighters. Dave Trabert, CEO of the Kansas Policy Institute dove into the specifics of academic achievement in South Carolina. Oran Smith of the Palmetto Promise Institute and Bryce Fiedler of the South Carolina Policy Council presented on old and new South Carolina Education Policy. Everyone loved the panel of school board members, comprised of Jeff Zell, Angela Nash, and Pam McKinney, who shared their experiences as well as tips on how to be effective board members. Jessica Proctor delivered a session on campaign branding and communication, and she also offered one-on-one trainings for attendees who wished to learn how to effectively communicate their mission. 

CALN’s mission is to be the resource for school board and community members who prioritize our students’ achievement. Based on this most recent professional development workshop, we are confident that momentum is with us and academic success. 

Here are only a few of the many testimonies from attendees, at least one of which was inspired by CALN to get more involved in the fight for our students: 

  • “To be at a meeting with like minded people… was a godsend! I’m looking forward to the next get together. In the meantime, I will be attending my county school board meetings starting in August, and I’m seriously considering running when my reps terms ends in 2025.” 
  • “Thank you to all who took the time to put this event together. I will be back!” 
  • “This was terrific! This is all new to me and I learned a lot from each speaker.” 
  • “Very comprehensive – good flow. What an interactive and effective experience!”
  • “The workshop was EXCELLENT! A Saturday well spent.”