For Immediate Release: June 18, 2020
Taylor Fulcher, Chief of Staff
South Carolina Public Charter School District Names Chris G. Neeley as New Superintendent
Columbia, South Carolina—The South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) Board of Trustees is delighted to name Chris G. Neeley as the new SCPCSD Superintendent. The five-month long search consisted of a substantial number of talented applicants, a rigorous interview process, and two extremely qualified candidates. The role was secured last week, after the SCPCSD board voted 4-1 to offer the position of Superintendent to Mr. Neeley. The SCPCSD looks forward to continuing a relationship with Mrs. Angel Malone, who was also a final candidate, in her role at the State Department of Education.
The SCPCSD Board Chairman, John Payne, was quoted saying, “We’re excited to move forward with the seasoned leadership of Mr. Neeley. He has a vast array of experience – from serving our country to serving citizens with disabilities, and for his next chapter with us, serving the students of South Carolina statewide. The SCPCSD Board and staff have the immense privilege of welcoming Mr. Neeley into the District, and I know we will only see great things transpire during his leadership.”
Neeley, a government relations advisor for one of South Carolina’s oldest law firms, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. in Columbia, SC, provides strategic public affairs advice and relationship impact solutions for corporations, small businesses, government organizations and non-profits. Neeley serves as Chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID). He was appointed by President Donald J. Trump in March 2018 and serves as an advocate for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all facets of American life. In 2018, Neeley was appointed by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and confirmed by the South Carolina Senate as Commissioner of the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) where he advocated for agency transparency and inclusion of people with disabilities. He formerly served as the Principal of the Meyer Center in Greenville, SC, a charter school institution of inclusive learning for children with and without disabilities. Prior to serving at the Meyer Center, Neeley worked from 2014 through 2016 as Executive Vice President of Made in USA Works!, a company he founded that conducted business development and international relations with more than 40 countries. In response to the attacks on the United States on 9/11, Neeley volunteered to serve in the military at the age of thirty-four. He is a veteran of both the United States Navy and United States Army and currently serves as Director of Public Affairs for the South Carolina National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel. In 2010, he volunteered to serve in Afghanistan with the 1-178th Field Artillery Battalion where he conducted Counterinsurgency Operations (COIN) in villages across three provinces. He was awarded the US Army Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal while in Afghanistan for his work leading over 200 US and NATO Troops in Operation Outreach Afghanistan. He was also awarded the Bronze Star.
Neeley was quoted saying, “I’m honored to be selected as the next Superintendent of the South Carolina Public Charter School District. My priorities begin with leading a school district that is mission-focused on accountability and transparency to state leaders, taxpayers, and the families and students we serve. I join this effort to support charter schools in their quest to provide a high-quality, culturally diverse and innovative educational experience for every student in the Palmetto State. Together, we can ensure that all children have access to an excellent school of choice that meets them where they are, prepares them for a future of unlimited potential, and ensures that every South Carolina student is career or college ready.”
Emily Paul, the SCPCSD Chief Programs Officer and a long-time veteran of the District said, “After seeing Mr. Neeley’s passion for all students while he was the Principal of the Meyer Center for Special Children, I am excited to roll up my sleeves and work with him directly to ensure our schools are accessible and equitable for all students. I look forward to Mr. Neeley’s leadership and fresh perspective on the work we do every day”.
The South Carolina Charter School Alliance, an advocacy group for charter schools, also showed support for Mr. Neeley. Executive Director Carol Aust was quoted saying, “We look forward to collaborating with Superintendent Neeley and his team to strengthen our state’s charter landscape and to provide quality choice options to families across the Palmetto State”.
As a member of the Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Neeley is also actively involved with his son’s Boy Scout Troop. Neeley is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, the United States Army Air Defense Artillery School, the United States Army Adjutant General Captain’s Career Course, and the United States Defense Information School where he graduated in both the Public Affairs Qualification Course and the Joint Senior Public Affairs Course. He will complete his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Clemson University in August of 2020. Neeley resides in Columbia, SC with his wife Janie and their three children. Mr. Neeley will begin his position as SCPCSD Superintendent in August.
In the fall of 2020, the SCPCSD will oversee 33 public charter schools serving almost 20,000 students across the state, with 8 charter schools projected to open in 2021. The SCPCSD, the state’s largest and most diverse charter school authorizer, was recently named to the National AP Honor Roll for dramatically narrowing racial and socio-economic achievement gaps in college entry exams.
The SCPCSD: Offering South Carolina’s students endless #PalmettoPossibilities.