South Carolina ASCD Emerging Leader Program

As part of our ongoing mission to Learn, Teach, and Lead, South Carolina ASCD seeks to develop and support the next generation of leaders.  The South Carolina Emerging Leader Program is comprised of an accomplished group of educators, typically with 5–15 years of experience, who desire to become more involved in our state's educational community.  Emerging Leaders are passionate and committed to the "Whole Child," a belief that every child in that state of South Carolina deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. 

South Carolina ASCD Emerging Leaders
Class of 2018


Laquana AldridgeLaQuana Aldridge
Midway Elementary School

LaQuana currently serves as assistant principal for students in grades K-2.  A typical day begins and ends with dancing, hugs, and smiles thanks to the recent addition of kid-friendly music that plays as students enter and exit the building each day.

When asked why she became an educator, LaQuana says "When I came into education via alternate route 9 years ago I was satisfied by my former career but not “fulfilled.” I was looking for a career that would give my life purpose and help me feel as though I was truly changing the world for the better.

Adam BabcockAdam Babcock
Spartanburg High School

In his role as technology integration specialist, Adam is constantly curating for, collaborating with or coaching teachers.  His day-to-day is atypical as he is always on the lookout for opportunities to develop or deliver professional learning that advances teaching and learning. 

Adam says his most rewarding experience as an educator is "seeing the joy from a teacher into whom I’ve developed new capacities…seeing them use a new skill or technology that enriches students’ learning is a priceless expansion of my impact on public education.  I felt like I’ve given back to the educators who invested so much in me."

Shalonda BlakeneyShalonda Blakeney
Bethel Elementary

As instructional technolgy specialist, Shalonda sets aside time each day to research resources and best practices for integrating technology in the classroom to assist and support teachers.  Stating her educational philsophy as "EVERY child has the ability to achieve their goals when given the proper tools, support, guidance, and most importantly love," Shalonda's genuine love for school and learning is evident. 

Shalonda is constantly looking for opportunities to learn and grow as a professional.  She particpates in Twitter chats and enjoys reading various books about instruction and integrating technology.  She says she has enjoyed reading books from Todd Whitaker and Baruti Kafele. Another great read for Shalonda has been Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros and anything from Ron Clark and Marzano. Also, she follows various podcasts anbd blogs.  

Crystal Chappell2

Crystal Chappell
Monaview Elementary Schoool

Crystal says she teaches some of the most amazing 4th grade students as the inclusion teacher for her grade level.  During guided reading, Crystal loves talking about books with her students and learning about their interests.  

In keeping with her love of reading, Crystal identifies The Wild Card as on of the most powerful books she has read to date.  She says this book has helped her realize that school should be fun and engaging in order to really keep students inspired to continue learning.  It also helped her reflect on the effectiveness of some of the practices she has used in her own classroom.

Lesley Corner

Lesley Corner
Camden High School

Lesley serves as assistant principal at Camden High School and was  the 2016 South Carolina Assistant Principal of the Year and a NASSP National Finalist for Assistant Principal of the Year.

In citing the professional development that has made a difference in her career, Lesley says "Our state (DAPP) and district (APSP) programs for assistant principals increased my network of experts as I grow as a leader. Attending and presenting at state and national conferences leads to further growth and reflection.  By leading our faculty book studies, AdvancEd accreditation, and Palmetto’s finest journey, I have connected with and learn from my faculty, staff, and community. As a leader who models expectations, I recently connected to educators using Twitter as a professional learning network (PLN).  This addition to my professional development greatly impacts my success as a school leader."

Dr. Angela Cox

Dr. Angela Cox
Greenville County Schools Alternative Program

After sixteen years of teaching in a traditional high school, Dr. Cox spends her day at one of the three Middle School Programs.  Staying mobile and flexible, she rotates to each program during the week and provides teachers support by offering professional development opportunities, conducting classroom observations, disaggregating data, mentoring, coaching, modeling research-based instructional strategies, and whatever else they need to be successful and drive student achievement.

Jordan Hudson

Jordan Hudson
Bowen's Corner Elementary

"Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn."  These words by Benjamin Franklin guide Jordan's philosphy of education as a fourth grade teacher at Bowen's Corner Elementary.  Each morning, Jordan stands at her door to greet her students and welcome them to a new day, beginning each day with a morning meeting to set a positive tone for our day and discuss anything different that might be coming up.  

Jordan believes in order to improve the teaching and learning of all students, we must improve the practice of professional educators. Part of this improvement is the empowerment of teachers. She has spent the past two years as a Reading Coach with the mission of improving the teaching and learning of all students. During the 2018-2019 school year, Jordan will be making the transition back to having a classroom of her own and says, "While we absolutely need district and school level administrators, as well as instructional coaches, I believe in the power of leadership from the classroom and the incredible need for it."

Pamela Inabinett

Pamela Inabinett
Discovery Education

Pam's typical day looks different EVERY day!  She meets with educators in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee to discuss Discovery Education resources.  She participates in EdCamps and EdTech conferences (UTC, NCTIES, SCMidlands Summit, etc.) and meets with team members to discuss strategies to assist our partner schools. 

When asked how she hopes to have a greater effect on education as an SCASCD Emerging Leader, Pam says "I hope to have a greater effect on education by becoming a change agent in my community and beyond.  All too often educators (myself included) become complacent in the way we teach.  I am a firm believer that we should continue to learn by attending conferences, reading, connecting with other educators, and building a strong professional learning community.  The whole theory, We’ve always done it this way, does not sit well with me."

Jenna Key

Jenna Key
Slater-Marietta Elementary

Serving as instructional coach, Jenna's role is unique in the school because her schedule looks different from day to day; however, she has one common goal every morning ... strive to inspire hope and instill a love of learning in students and teachers. 

Asked if there a pivotal moment when she realized her career choice in education was the correct one, Jenna says "Thinking back to my time teaching fourth grade in a 100% free lunch/Title I school, there was a precious child in my classroom that did not come from affluent means, but had a wonderful hands-on single mother working so hard to make this child whole and healthy.  This sweet child began being bullied.  After numerous attempts to calm the classroom and stop the offenders, it was during a one-on-one with this child that I knew my choice to educate and shape lives was important.  I pulled this sweet little girl aside to tell her how proud I was of her and her amazing smile." 

Andrew McMillan

Andrew McMillan
Chapman High School

Andrew serves as assistant principal whose day is centered around interacting with as many students and teachers as possible within the classroom.  One of his personal goals is to make sure students understand what it means to be college and career ready and accomplishes this is by meeting with individual students to discuss their current graduation progress, their most recent SAT or ACT exam score, and their plans for after high school. 

Asked if there was a pivotal moment when he realized his career choice in education was the correct one, he said "there is no better moment than graduation!  The class of 2018 were freshmen when I started working at Chapman High School. I have had the pleasure of watching them grow into confident young men and women, ready to go out into a world that desperately needs confident and educated leaders."

Hamilton Parks

Hamilton Parks
Mauldin Elementary School

Hamilton is an assistant administrator at Mauldin Elementary School. When asked how he hopes to have a greater effect on education in his community and beyond as an Emerging Leader, Hamilton responded: "I truly hope to empower teachers to realize their greatness and maximize on the remarkable ability that they have to change kids’ lives and make a difference. The students that we come in contact with on a day-to-day basis have the entire world in front of them, and spending each school day with them provides us an opportunity to pour so much into their existence.

We have to power to end world hunger, find a cure for cancer, and create world peace—we just have to impart the knowledge and light the fire in our students. Creating a love of learning and a passion for success begins with us, and I hope to really help teachers acknowledge that within themselves. In order to do this, teachers need to be celebrated and poured into: they need resources, tools, professional development, high fives, and pats on the back to invigorate them to invest in themselves and their students for the sake of the whole world." 

Jamie Powell

Jamie Powell
White Knoll High School

As an instructional resource coordinator, Jamie's typical day is doing whatever is needed to support leading, teaching and learning on her campus.  This ranges from leading an instructional team meeting, facilitating professional learning, being a member of a data analysis team, or just listening to a teacher talk through his or her challenges or feelings.

Asked if she could make one major change in education, Jamie said, "I believe that some of the most significant changes to education will come in the form of changes to the structure of education. Whether that is revamping what 'seat time' looks like, the structure of a school day, the pathway to graduation, or just simply providing more options to more students, I believe that we have to become innovative with the structure of school in order to support the innovative instruction and learning that we are asking for in our classrooms."

Shayla Read

Shayla Read
Greenville County Schools

Shayla serves as an academic specialist for secondary ELA.  Her role is to provide leadership for the continued development, analysis, and monitoring of long ragne plans for improving the secondary ELA educational program in Greenville County Schools.

As and SCASCD Emerging Leader, Shayla hopes to collaborate with other leaders on how they might attract quality educators into the profession who are passionate about student success and educator effectiveness.  A goal is to develop and implement a plan to showcase our educator heroes in order to show our communities how we define a good educator and how we support teachers as they develop. 

Fran Rogers

Dr. Fran Rogers
Greenville County Schools

Dr. Rogers currently serves as the middle level academic specialist for Greenville County Schools.  Believing that all children have a right to a high-quality education where students are valued, experience success, and are prepared for real-world challenges, she wanted realized she wanted to become and educator after enrolling in a service learning program her senior year of high school.

Her service learning assignment was in a 4-year old Pre-Kindergarten classroom alongside of veteran teacher. As a senior, she viewed the service learning class period as just that – a learning period during the school day. Dr. Cox never would have  imagined the impact that the experience would have on her career choice. The service learning experience was so impactful that she decided to major in education and I applied for and secured the Teaching Fellows Scholarship that same year.

Marcia Seawright Head Shot

Marcia Seawright
Heyward Gibbes Middle School

Marcia serves as an assistant principal and beleives that every child has the right to a quality education that prepares him or her with the skills they need to reach their potential and lead productive lives.

Asked how she hopes to have a greater impact on education as an SCASCD Emerging Leader, Marcia says, "Experience is our best teacher. I hope that my experience as a SCASCD leader will not only be a teachable one for me, but it will empower me to teach others about my experience so that they too may be empowered. Furthermore, I recognize that gaining a quality education and possessing leadership skills is extremely important to an individual, regardless of age, profession, gender, race or social economic status. With that thought in mind, beyond my circles, beyond my profession, beyond my community, I have an obligation to share and empahzise the importance of education for the purpose of making an impact. Our future is depending on it!"


Matt Schilit
North Middle/High School

As a high school principal, Matt says every single day brings different opportunities and he loves it.  He also says what is always consistent with his days as a school leader is the constant engagement with his students as well as with his team of faculty and staff members.

Matt's piviotal moment in education came from working with his very first batch of students.  He knew right away that his career choice in education was the right one because he was now able to work with students with a variety of skills and lead them to do the very best that they could.  Matt learned early on the importance of building relationships with the students he serves and to always have a heart for each one of them.  

foto no exifAllison Stribble
Boundary Street Elementary School

As an elementary school principal, Allison's daily routines can change on the spur of the moment.  However, what is consistent is her education philosophy which is "our mission as educators is to reach every child, every day."

Reflecting on her most rewarding experience as an educator, Allison says "As an educator there are many small rewards each day. That reward might be a smile on a child’s face, a hug, or a thank you note from a student or parent, but the most rewarding experience is seeing your hard work help students to be successful.  When students celebrate meeting their academic or personal goals that you worked with them to achieve, that is the most rewarding experience as an educator."

Jenny Van Buren

Jenny Van Buren
Powdersville High School

As a mathematics educator, Jenny says her primary role is to focus on teaching students while maintining a focus teaching mathematics.  On a typical day, she greets each student at the classroom door and starts each class by saying, “Good morning, my people!"  Jenny strives constantly to make connections, both personally and between mathematical concepts.

When asked why she became and educator, Jenny says, "I am a first-generation college graduate from a low-income, single parent home.  I attribute much of my success to the teachers that encouraged and helped shape me into the person and educator I am today.  It was my teachers that motivated me to not only be successful in school, but to find a way to make a difference in my community.  Thus, I was inspired to become an educator and to work hard to make a difference in the lives of my students."