Dr. Jay Smink, retired executive director of the National Dropout Prevention Center, is a long- time and well-respected national leader in dropout prevention. However, it is Jay’s service to his adopted state of South Carolina over the past 25 years that is deserving of this award. Through his work at the Center, he engaged in dropout prevention efforts in countless schools across the state. As a commissioner with the State Commission on National and Community Service and through service with a multitude of state organizations such as Communities In Schools of South Carolina and the United Way, Jay’s service made a strong impact on education and youth in South Carolina.
Over the years, Jay’s work in dropout prevention has led to the identification of 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention that can and do have a positive effect on the challenge of dropouts. The state of South Carolina recognizes the importance of these strategies, and with the SC Education and Economic Development Act, has offered them as guidelines for school improvement and at-risk student intervention. Thanks in large part to Dr. Smink and his staff, these policies are making a measureable difference in South Carolina’s schools and beyond.