Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence in Dropout Prevention
The fourth annual Award was presented to Ms. Grier Gower Mullins, Executive Director of The Alliance for Quality Education, at a ceremony held on February 21, 2006.
Grier Gower Mullins is a native of Greenville, South Carolina, and a graduate of the county’s public school system. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Converse College. Grier’s early professional career began as a Head Start teacher, a job she left to join the family bookselling business where she worked as a book buyer. She then took a 15-year break to stay home and raise three children. Grier returned to work in the late 1980’s as Special Projects Coordinator for Greenville County schools. During that time she had the great privilege of working with Secretary Richard W. Riley and Greenville Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kerns. She left the District in 1989 to become the first Executive Director of The Alliance for Quality Education, the position she currently holds.
Grier’s community involvement began in the 1970’s as a graduate of Leadership Greenville III. She also served as trainer for the Building Better Boards for the United Way of America, participated on Governor Richard W. Riley’s Task Force for Citizen Participation in Education, served on the Education Committee of the Appalachian Council of Governments, and was president of PTA’s at three different Greenville County Schools: Augusta Circle Elementary, Hughes Middle School, and Greenville High School. She was President of the Junior League, served on the boards of the Greenville Community Foundation, the Community Planning Council, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and Greenville’s Child.
Her affiliation with The Alliance for Quality Education allowed her to work with local teachers and the central office in a variety of ways, including strategic planning committee, teacher recruitment and retention, principal leadership, and most recently, a community partnership on high school success. Under Grier’s leadership, The Alliance took the lead role in a community-wide effort in advocating for appropriate funding for South Carolina students. In the many years Grier has spent working to improve public education, she believes there are so many heroes in her world every day who make her work fulfilling-the many students, who sometimes against tough odds, make it to classrooms everyday where the dedication of teachers allow these students to flourish beyond all expectations.