The purpose of the Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award For Excellence in Dropout Prevention is to identify and bring recognition to an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of dropout prevention initiatives in the state of South Carolina. The National Dropout Prevention Center will select an individual for this award who exhibits strong leadership and accomplishments for effective dropout prevention strategies directed to initiatives in South Carolina and/or work that furthers the mission of the Center.
Originally from Aiken, SC, Stephenie grew up surrounded by teachers. Generations of females in her family have been teachers. She entered Clemson University and majored in Early Childhood Education. After teaching for 4 years, she returned to Clemson to complete a Master’s degree in Reading Education. While teaching on the college level as a teaching assistant at Clemson, she found her true educational fit with the college age group. Seeking to continue teaching on a college level, she received an Ed.D. from New Mexico State University in Curriculum and Instruction with Special Emphasis on Reading. She began her college teaching career in 1988 at The Citadel. Her special interest area has been students who are at-risk. She has been involved in numerous Citadel partnerships in public schools.
In 2006, Stephenie Initiated the Darkness to Light partnership with The Citadel School of Education. Through her work, The Citadel was the first college to have a major requiring Stewards of Children training and certification as part of its curriculum and graduation requirements for both undergraduate and graduate students in its Teacher Education, Counseling, Literacy, and Educational Leadership programs. In 2012, Stephenie with the help of The Citadel’s president, General John Rosa, initiated the Citadel Darkness to Light Initiative. The Citadel started requiring all faculty, staff, contractors, and students to be trained as Stewards of Children in 2012. Through Dr. Hewett’s work, The Citadel became the first and only college to have its faculty, staff, and student body required to take this critical training to protect children. Stephenie has helped to coordinate the Stewards of Children training for over 10,000 students, faculty, staff and volunteers to be stewards of our future leaders, our children.
Kerry Leslie Abel, Coordinator of Dropout Prevention and Community Partnerships for Richland County (SC) School District One, is the 2018 recipient of the National Dropout Prevention Center’s Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence in Dropout Prevention which identies and brings recognition to an outstanding individual who has made signicant contributions to the advancement of dropout prevention initiatives in the state of South Carolina. He is responsible for coordinating district eorts related to dropout prevention, intervention, and special programs. He is also the cofounder and Coordinator of the Richland One Evening High School, a high school designed to serve students aged 16-20 interested in obtaining a high school diploma but, due to life circumstances, are unable to attend school during the day.
Mr. Abel is the founding director of the Office of Afterschool Programs for Richland County School District One and served as director for six years. Under his leadership the district received the 2004 Afterschool Champion Award from the National Afterschool Alliance. His past experience includes Project Director for Richland One’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant and Director of the Columbia Urban League’s “Drugs Destroy Dreams” Youth Drug Prevention Program. Mr. Abel is active in his alumni, church, and professional communities, including board membership for the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance and the Community Health Assistance Team. He is a member of the National Dropout Prevention Network and the South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators, receiving that organization’s 2014 President’s Award.
The purpose of the Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence in Dropout Prevention is to identify and bring recognition to an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of dropout prevention initiatives in the state of South Carolina. The National Dropout Prevention Center, College of Education, at Clemson University, selects an individual for this award who exhibits strong leadership and accomplishments for effective dropout prevention strategies directed to initiatives in South Carolina and/or work that furthers the mission of the Center/Network. Jerome Singleton has served as Commissioner of the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) for 11 years. He has been with the organization for more than 20 years, having served as Associate Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner before moving to his current position. The SCHSL directs and administers the high school and middle school interscholastic athletic activities of the 415 member schools across the state of South Carolina. Mr. Singleton is currently serving as the president-elect of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). In 2017-18, he will serve as the President of NFHS.
As his work, service, and support of interscholastic athletics has provided a framework and context for relationships that are a driving force to keep students in school and on track for high school graduation, The National Dropout Prevention Center is pleased to present Jerome Singleton with the Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence in Dropout Prevention. In doing so, we also recognize the role of coaches, volunteers, and community members in dropout prevention through connections formed in extracurricular activities.
Rev. James F. Davis currently serves as the pastor of Dunn Creek Baptist Church in Ware Shoals, SC. Rev. Davis also works as a school bus driver and substitute teacher for Ware Shoals School District 51. Rev. Davis was born in Dillon, SC, and graduated from Butler High School in Hartsville, SC. He is a 1977 graduate of South Carolina years. Following his military service, Rev. Davis worked as an addictions counselor for the Greenville County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse for 11 years. Rev. Davis also became an interim pastor while in Hawaii in 1987-88 and has pastored two churches since 1990. He has pastored Dunn Creek Baptist Church of Ware Shoals for 21 years and continues to do so.
Rev. Davis gives back to his community through community service. He is a grief counselor for a funeral home, a Trustee for the Little River Multicultural Complex, and a member of the Ware Shoals High School Improvement Council. Rev. Davis is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry at Anderson University. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Gale (Smith) Davis since 1978. Rev. and Mrs. Davis have one daughter, Ivy Elise.
While Rev. Davis’ work as a minister, counselor, and community servant has always provided valuable assistance to at-risk youth, he became aggressively involved in dropout prevention after attending a districtwide meeting of educators and community leaders on the issue in 2013. Rev. Davis made school success and high school graduation the theme of his church’s youth ministry. He invited school and community of the dropout problem and taught them strategies for supporting their children to succeed in school and to graduate. Under the leadership of Rev. Davis, Dunn Creek Baptist Church has hosted numerous youth events that communicate the stay-in-school message and support the school success of children in the Ware Shoals community.
Rev. Davis creatively spreads the message of school success beyond his ministry at Dunn Creek Baptist Church. He leads a group of church and community members who regularly attend local school board meetings and offer support and assistance to school system leadership to improve graduation rates. As a school bus driver, Rev. Davis drives “Bus #8” and all his young passengers know and share the bus motto, – cant improvement that results from the schools and community working together. Rev. James Davis, as a leader in the faith community, has guided adults to assist students in school success and to support the school system’s graduation rate improvement efforts. In Ware Shoals, the community sends a loud message of school success and expectation of graduation to its children. That message is in large part due to the dedication and creativity of Rev. James F. Davis.
Good, Great and Future Graduates of Bus 8!!! Primaries in the front, Elementary and Middle School in the middle and High School in the rear!!!
Lawrence R. Allen currently serves as Professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism. Dr. Allen served as Dean of the College of Health, Education, and Human Development at Clemson University, from May 2003 until his retirement in July 2014. He received his PhD from the University of Maryland in recreation with a specialty area in counseling, and his undergraduate degree in education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Allen has been an active leader in education for the past 34 years. Along with colleagues at Clemson University, he has authored several articles and manuals revolving around the development and implementation of an outcome-based model (Benefits-Based Programming) of youth program delivery that enhances the youth’s ability to overcome and cope with the stress and pressures they face in today’s social environment.
During his tenure as Dean of the College of Health, Education, and Human Development at Clemson, Dr. Allen exerted significant influence on the practice of dropout prevention. He was a solid supporter of the National Dropout Prevention Center, helping the organization to secure funding for research and national service and initiatives. Under Dean Allen’s leadership, the National Dropout Prevention Center initiated new research, expanded to address the needs of students with disabilities, and offered over 30 national dropout prevention conferences and training events. In recent years, Dr. Allen spoke and wrote extensively on the importance of out-of-school factors on school completion and helped the National Dropout Prevention Center call attention to the importance of family and community support for school success and graduation. By highlighting the importance of out-of-school risk factors and out-of-school solutions, Dr. Allen has made a significant contribution to the work of dropout prevention practitioners.
Educational institutions, government, civic and charitable organizations are among the many who have taken on the challenge to provide solutions to the nation’s high school dropout problem. One of the most innovative responses is found in the nationally-acclaimed Call Me Mister program whose founder, Dr. Roy Jones, was the recipient of the National Dropout Prevention Center’s (NDPC) 2014 Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award For Excellence in Dropout Prevention.
The annual honor, which recognizes an outstanding individual and their contribution to dropout prevention initiatives, was presented to Dr. Jones, executive director of the Eugene T. Moore School of Education’s Call Me Mister Program at Clemson University. Call Me Mister (an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role-models) launched its first chapter 10 years ago at Clemson and now has chapters at 15 South Carolina colleges and universities and eight other states.
In a state with a student population that is 40% African American, Call Me Mister was designed to bring more African American males into teaching at the elementary school level not only to increase the talent pool of well-prepared minority teachers but to also serve students in educationally at-risk communities with top-tier education.
Dr. Jones and Call Me Mister has made significant contributions to the dropout prevention effort in South Carolina and the nation. The successful program has also received funding from the Kellogg Foundation for a newly-launched Call Me Mister program at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.
Dr. Jones, who has implemented and directed numerous acclaimed higher education programs throughout his career, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; his master‘s degree from Clark Atlanta University; and his doctorate from the University of Georgia. He was recognized with the Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence, additionally, for his dynamic leadership in providing opportunity, support, mentoring and character-building for promising elementary school teachers throughout South Carolina.
The National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University awarded Representative Jerry N. Govan, Jr. the prestigious Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence in Dropout Prevention at the recent At-Risk Youth National Forum, held in Myrtle Beach. Jerry N. Govan, Jr. is a native of Orangeburg, SC, and graduated from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and South Carolina State University where he obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Rep. Govan has served in the South Carolina House representing Orangeburg since 1992 and is currently County Attendance Supervisor for Orangeburg School Districts 3, 4, and 5. His commitment to education goes beyond his work in the school district, having for years served as a prevention specialist for the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
As a member of the legislature, he is the senior ranking member of the House Education & Public Works Committee. Always accessible, Rep. Govan has been extremely supportive of the Education and Economic Development Act and the funding provided for dropout prevention.
In addition to the Riley Award, Rep. Govan has been honored by numerous organizations for his outstanding contributions to substance abuse prevention, financial literacy education, after-school programs, excellence in education, and service to the community.
The purpose of the Governor and Mrs. Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence in Dropout Prevention is to identify and bring recognition to an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of dropout prevention initiatives in the state of South Carolina. The National Dropout Prevention Center, College of Health, Education, and Human Development at Clemson University, selects an individual for this award who exhibits strong leadership and accomplishments contributing to effective dropout prevention strategies directed to initiatives in South Carolina and/or work that furthers the mission of the Center/Network.
This award was named after the Rileys because of their leadership and vision for education, especially in the area of dropout prevention. Dick Riley cut the ribbon at the opening of the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University in October of 1986. Tunky Riley served as the Chairperson of the South Carolina Dropout Prevention Network, an early initiative of the NDPC, from 1987-1989.
The ninth annual Award was presented to Mr. Jim Shaw of Florence, SC, by Dr. Sam Drew, Associate Director of the National Dropout Prevention Center, on February 22, 2011.
Jim Shaw received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from West Chester State University, West Chester, PA. Jim has been in education since 1975 and has always been a strong advocate for dropout prevention in the various positions he has held. He currently serves as the Safe Schools Coordinator and project director for the Mayor’s Coalition to Prevent Juvenile Crime in Florence School District One.
Jim provided the vision and served as a driving force behind the creation of both the Mayor’s Coalition to Prevent Juvenile Crime in Florence and the Graduate Florence Project, a collaborative that includes 16 projects to address dropout issues at all grade levels in Florence School District One. Graduate Florence is the result of a community initiative to develop the best strategies to help youth connect to school and graduate. It is led by the Florence One Schools, Mayor’s Coalition to Prevent Juvenile Crime, National Dropout Prevention Center, the SC State Department of Education, and the Education Foundation of Florence. Mr. Shaw also coordinated efforts to involve the three high schools in Florence School District One in the Nine Schools Plus Project, funded by the At-Risk Student Committee and EEDA.
Dr. Sabrina B. Moore is currently the Director of the Office of Regional Services at the South Carolina Department of Education, where she oversees the implementation of the Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA). In her current role, Dr. Moore has devoted particular attention to the dropout prevention component of the EEDA. Her vision and support for innovative data systems to identify students as high risk and the application and testing of research-based solutions to help these students have provided a huge step forward for South Carolina in addressing its dropout problem.
Dr. Moore has two decades of educational service to the state of South Carolina in various teaching and administrative roles at Denmark Technical College, Clemson University, W. L. Bonner College, and Tri-County Technical College. Her career assignments over the years have positively influenced the lives of hundreds of students as she administered the statewide 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program, supervised the management of the After-School Program/Homework Centers, directed the GEAR UP Program at Denmark Technical College, and served as the SC 21st CCLC liaison to the U.S. Department of Education. She is the author of Getting Them to Read and Retreating into Comfort Zones.
The seventh annual Award was presented to Calvin “Chip” Jackson at a ceremony held on February 17, 2009.
Calvin “Chip” Jackson currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Administration at the Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, a progressive ministry in Columbia, SC, with more than 11,000 members. Mr. Jackson serves as Chair for several statewide boards, including the College of Health, Education, and Human Development’s External Advisory Board at Clemson University. He is currently serving his first term on the Richland School District Two Board of Trustees in Columbia. Mr. Jackson served as a Deputy Superintendent at the South Carolina Department of Education from 1999 until 2005.
He has co-authored two books: Powerful Allies Afterschool Programs, Service-Learning and Community Education and Small High Schools That Flourish: Rural Contact, Case Studies and Resources. He participated as a panelist, discussing best practices in dropout prevention at the 2008 SC Dropout Summit. He served as a member of the National Advisory Committee to develop a new SC student assessment (PASS).
Mr. Jackson earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration/Public Policy from the University of South Carolina.
Frank E. White, Jr. has served the citizens of this state in the South Carolina Department of Education since 1978. He is currently Interim Director, Office of Community and Parent Services, Division of Education Services. Prior to this assignment, he has worked with the Office of Safe Schools and Youth Services, Community Education, Office of Leadership and School Improvement, Office of General Education, and served as the State Attendance Supervisor. In the late 1980s, Mr. White assisted in the development of and was an original consultant to the agency’s At-Risk Youth Program Section. As a consultant for the Target 2000 Dropout Prevention and Retrieval Programs, Mr. White managed 35 dropout prevention pilot programs with a combined budget of $5.3 million. He is known throughout the state and nation for his in-service programs on dropout prevention, attendance, alternative education, homelessness, and truancy to community groups, college and university groups, school districts, and schools. He has coordinated efforts to establish, manage, and evaluate 82 alternative educational programs and alternative schools. Mr. White’s three decades of leadership and service are most deserving of the 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.
The third annual Award was presented to Mr. Roger G. Owens, President of Save Our Sons, at a ceremony held on February 22, 2005.
Mr. Roger G. Owens is the President of Save Our Sons (SOS), a 501(c)3 organization he helped to start in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1993. A primary aim of SOS is to provide positive male role models for African-American young men whose fathers are absent. Another objective is to provide positive alternatives to incarceration-mentoring, drug courts, restitution, community service, and intensive counseling. This organization offers a diverse program of activities including mentoring, education and legal advocacy, counseling and guidance, motivational information, reading incentives, scholarships, field trips, sports, computer classes, etiquette and manners training. Most of the hundreds of young men who have enrolled in the program have improved their behavior. Eighty-five percent of the 7 to 14 year old young men enrolled who were assigned to SOS from the Family Court and remained for two years, have not been in further trouble. This is a highly successful recidivism rate of 15%. More than 25 young men have received SOS scholarships with approximately one half of those scholarships valued at $40,000 over four years. All recipients are very successful.
Mr. Owens, a former insurance executive with the Liberty Corporation, lives in Greenville with his wife, Dr. Emma Owens, a professor of education at Clemson University. They have a son, daughter, and two grandchildren. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Berea College in Kentucky. Mr. Owens serves on the deacon board of Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church, on Greenville’s Bi-Racial Task Force, and on the advisory council of the State Department of Education
The second annual Award was presented to William R. Byars, Jr., Director of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), at a ceremony held on February 24, 2004.
At DJJ, Judge Byars oversees a staff of 1,500 who are responsible for the daily care, treatment, and education of approximately 1,600 juveniles who are incarcerated in DJJ’s long-term institutions and 7,000 juveniles who are served throughout the communities in arbitration, diversion, and alternative placement programs. Overall, the Department of Juvenile Justice serves approximately 28,000 juveniles annually.
Judge Byars has served as Director of the Children’s Law Office at the University of South Carolina School of Law and as Family Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit from 1989 to August 1999. He resigned his judgeship to assume the position with the Children’s Law Office and work full-time on legal issues involving children and families. From 1994 to 1998, Judge Byars served as an executive committee member of South Carolina’s Families for Kids, working for child welfare reform. He served as the Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Juvenile Justice from 1995-1999, and as President of the South Carolina Conference of Family Court Judges in 1995-1996. From 1995-1999, he served on the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice. He served as Co-Chair of the South Carolina Truancy Task Force and chaired the South Carolina Underage Drinking Task Force. He Co-Chaired the Blue Ribbon Task Force of the South Carolina Fatherhood Policy Project Office and serves on the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.
He received the Champion for Children Award from the Alliance for South Carolina’s Children in 1998, and awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner for “Outstanding Leadership and Service in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect” in 1996 and 1998. In 1998, Judge Byars received a Child Advocacy National Certificate of Recognition from the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division for “significant legal contributions advancing the welfare of our nation’s children.” In 1999 Judge Byars received South Carolina’s highest civilian award, The Order of the Palmetto, from the Governor for “leadership in juvenile justice and children’s law reform,” as well as awards from Prevent Child Abuse South Carolina The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. In 2000 he was recognized by South Carolina Families for Kids for “Outstanding leadership in improving services to children in South Carolina,” and received a special award from the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys for “Extraordinary Commitment to the Welfare of Children.” The South Carolina Council on Adoptable Children presented the Judge a Lifetime Achievement Award in April 2002.
He and his wife, Camille, have been happily married for 36 years. They live in the country in Kershaw County. They have three sons and two grandchildren.
From left: Mrs. Ann Riley, Mr. Terry Richardson, Governor Richard W. Riley
The first annual Award was presented to Terry Richardson, Jr., at a ceremony held on February 18, 2003.
Mr. Richardson is presently managing partner of Richardson, Patrick Westbrook & Brickman, a law firm based in Barnwell and Charleston, SC. An advocate of education, he presently serves on the South Carolina Board of Trustees for the First Steps Program and has since that program’s inception. He is Chairman of the Legislative Committee, has served on the Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley Counties Success by Six Board, and presently serves on the statewide Success by Six Advisory Board. He has also served on the statewide board for the Alliance for South Carolina’s Children, a member of the Barnwell school Board of Trustees, Board of Directors for the South Carolina Institute on Poverty and Deprivation.
Additionally, has been a member of the Community Youth Council for Bamberg, Barnwell, and Aiken Counties of SC regarding the Juvenile Justice Task Force; a founding member of the Board of Directors of Charleston Education Network, and Foundation Board for the Governor’s School for Science and Math. Mr. Richardson holds a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law; a Master of Science in Business and Bachelor of Arts Degrees from Clemson University.
Mr. Richardson is married to Gail Ness Richardson and has three children: Kay, Matthew, and Jay. Two of his children are married, making a total of two doctors and three lawyers in his family.