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Meet Our Team

DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT

Elliot Smalley

In his first year as superintendent, Elliot has established a clear sense of urgency around the need for excellent schools in South Carolina. With a relentless belief in all kids’ potential, Elliot and his team have centered on three strategic priorities: 1) authorizing great charter schools, 2) ensuring access and equity for all students, and 3) growing what works.  Previously, he served as Chief of Staff for Tennessee’s Achievement School District (ASD) from 2012 to 2015, where he led the ASD’s communications and outreach efforts and played a key role in developing the ASD’s start-up and long-term strategy.  During his time in Tennessee, the number of ASD schools grew from zero to 29 and catalyzed the improvement of Priority (bottom 5%) schools in Memphis and Nashville.  From 2012 to 2015, average student proficiency in Priority schools rose from 17% to 26%—a rate of student growth that tripled the growth of students in non-Priority schools—and students in 2nd and 3rd year ASD schools earned Level 5 growth, the highest possible rating in Tennessee. Before joining the ASD, Elliot was the Deputy of Strategy and Communications for the Charleston County School District, where he led the development of Charleston’s strategic plan and spearheaded the district’s communications efforts. He is a graduate of the Broad Residency, The University of Massachusetts, and the University of Cincinnati, and is currently a member of the 2017 Broad Academy. 

In his spare time, Elliot can typically be found practicing Krav Maga—a self-defense system created by the Israeli army—and hanging out in Charleston with his wife Lisa and children Cooper, Benton, and Harper.   He is a diehard fan of the LSU Tigers and Boston Red Sox and Celtics. 

Email: esmalley@sccharter.org

Chief of Staff

Rich Richards

Rich Richards is chief of staff at the South Carolina Public Charter School District, where he works with the superintendent to set and execute the district’s strategic agenda and co-manages the New Schools SC Fellowship, the first authorizer-led talent incubator of its kind. Prior to joining The Broad Residency, Rich developed and implemented strategic initiatives for two of the Southeast’s largest public school districts as an associate at Public Consulting Group. He got his start in education through Teach For America in Nashville, where his founding class of Republic Schools scholars outperformed students from the state’s wealthiest district in math for three straight years. Later, Rich joined the Building Excellent Schools Emerging Leaders Program, where he learned from some of the highest performing charter schools in the country. Rich earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Alabama.

Email: rrichards@sccharter.org

 

Administrative Assistant

Teresa Etheredge

Teresa serves the SCPCSD in the role of Administrative Assistant and has been with the team since 2013. Prior to arriving at the district, Teresa had the joy of staying home with her two children. Earlier in her career, she was employed as the office manager for a private enterprise, which included managing logistics for the company’s exporting division. Teresa adores children and especially enjoys working with them at her church. She brings with her a passion for all children to become the person they dream and deserve to be. She believes that it’s the district’s responsibility to see that every child in our care has access to an equal and exceptional education.

Outside of the office Teresa enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, singing in the choir, and Bible study.

Phone: 803-734-8322
Email: tetheredge@sccharter.org

 

Director of Policy & Analytics

Hunter Schimpff

HunterPrior to SCPCSD, Hunter was a high school math teacher at an international school in Buenos Aires, Argentina and then worked for a number of years in Tennessee to launch 16 high-performing public charter schools in Memphis and Nashville.  In addition to launching new public charter schools, he helped ensure a strong policy environment for the state’s charter schools and worked to promote authorizer quality throughout the state.  Originally hailing from Texas, Hunter now calls South Carolina home and is excited to be part of a passionate team working to improve public education for every child in South Carolina.  Hunter received a B.A. from Wake Forest University and an M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University.

Outside of work, Hunter enjoys running trail races, playing Spikeball and ultimate frisbee.

Phone: 803-457-2724
Email: hschimpff@sccharter.org

Chief of Finance & Operations

Siddhartha Chowdri

SidPrior to joining SCPCSD Siddhartha Chowdri was a school finance resident at New Haven Public Schools, where he leads and supports several key initiatives, including school finance strategy and analysis and budgeting support. Prior to joining the Broad Residency, Siddhartha built and led the India team for Accion, a global microfinance non-profit. Over that time, Accion India invested more than $10 million that directly impacted the lives and futures of more than 200,000 low-income people. Previously, he interned in San Jose, Costa Rica with Profund International, Inc., and consulted for the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty in India. Siddhartha also has served as an associate at the Calvert Foundation, focusing on community-based investments, and as a research assistant at the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C. He earned an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago.

When not looking for ways to make the SCPSCD the most highly effective district in the country Siddhartha can be found strumming a guitar, pulling weeds in his garden, reading about Boston sports team or finding trees for his son to climb.

Phone: 803-908-2680
Email: schowdri@sccharter.org

 

Director of Communications

Taylor Fulcher

TaylorTaylor joins SCPCSD by way of Nashville, Tennessee. There she managed communications, network-wide enrollment operations, and advocacy initiatives at RePublic Schools, a network of high-performing charter schools in Mississippi & Tennessee. Prior to that, she worked for Families for Excellent Schools, a parent and charter advocacy group in New York City that fights to ensure all kids have fair and equal access to a great education. Through this experience, she planned and executed numerous advocacy campaigns in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. A native Georgian, she previously served as a clinical mental health therapist and school counselor with students K-12 in her home state. Taylor received her B.A. in Sociology & Psychology from the University of Georgia. She also received an M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling. Taylor is passionate about changing the landscape of public education in the South & feels every child should receive an excellent and equitable education despite the color of their skin or the zip code they were born into.  

Outside of the office, you can find Taylor watching Georgia Bulldogs football, eating her way through every restaurant in Charleston, and attending every concert possible.

Phone: 803-908-3849
Email: tfulcher@sccharter.org

 

Executive Director of Federal & State Programs

Bobby Rykard

BobbyBobby is the Director of Performance Management for the New Schools and Accountability Team at the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD).  Responsibilities include implementing a school performance framework to evaluate school academic, financial and organizational components; reviewing charter application submissions, and providing research and data support. Prior to joining the SCPCSD, Bobby served as the Title I Team Lead for the Office of Federal and State Accountability at the South Carolina Department of Education Primary tasks included the allocation of federal allocation, monitoring school districts for compliance of applicable federal and state rules and regulations, approving school district Title I educational program applications, and overall business operations of the program. Bobby has served in state and local level government since 1994 in financial, budgeting, and educational programming functions.  He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Southern Wesleyan University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina.

Bobby loves playing the guitar, seeing live music, and camping.

Phone: 803-734-0669
Email: rrykard@sccharter.org

 

Director of Charter Development

Catherine Watt

Catherine

Catherine was born in Manhasset, New York, and attended schools all around the country. She earned her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law and her B.A. in English with a Minor in Communications from Clemson University. She began her career at the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and was employed at a law firm while raising her two children. She has extensive administrative and project management experience and has spent many years as a volunteer in the non-profit sector. Catherine began her work at the SCPCSD as Coordinator of Compliance, and since that time has served as Director of New Schools and is currently the Director of Charter Development.

 

Catherine is passionate about animal welfare, and a firm believer in the importance of empathy, compassion, advocacy and action. She is also an avid Note Dame fan.

 

Phone: 803-734-0524
Email: cwatt@sccharter.org

 

Executive Director of School Operations

Emily Paul

Emily

Emily joined SCPCSD at the district level in 2015 as a regional coordinator of special education. Since then, she has advanced to the Director of Special Education, and now serves as the Executive Director of School Operations. She came from one of SCPCSD’s own charter schools, Lowcountry Montessori School. There, she developed the special education program in their opening year, and started the school’s special education programs on strong footing. Prior to that, she worked as a special education teacher in a variety of classroom settings for Beaufort County Schools, and in Ohio public schools. Emily received her BS in special education from Miami University, in Oxford Ohio, and her Masters in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. She holds a current teaching certificate in South Carolina in the areas of special education, administration and supervision. Emily’s experiences in the field of education have made her customer service oriented with a focus on access and equity for all students. Emily believes in the charter bargain–she believes she can support and guide teachers and school leaders, while encouraging them to take advantage of their autonomy to improve their student’s outcomes.

 

Free time doesn’t come often, but when it does Emily enjoys life near Hilton Head with her husband, three kids, dog and cat, and everything that comes with life at the beach.

 

Phone: 803-960-9686
Email: epaul@sccharter.org

 

Director of Special Education-Upstate

Laura Simmons

Laura joins SCPCSD from Beaufort County, South Carolina where she served as a Special Education Coordinator.  Prior to Beaufort, she resided in Greenville, South Carolina working as a Special Education Coordinator as well as an Assistant Principal.  She has 21 years of experience, including special education, general education, and administration at both the school and district level. Laura is also a Master CPI instructor. Laura holds a current teaching certificate in South Carolina in multiple areas of special education, general education, administration, and supervision.  Laura holds a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Clemson University. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD at the University of South Carolina with a focus on Special Education and transition.

 

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Allen, daughter Katelyn and their sweet dog Dakota. She enjoys the upstate, traveling, or just hanging out at home!  Laura’s passion is helping our students with disabilities reach and achieve their goals and dreams!

 

Email: lsimmons@sccharter.org
Phone:  803-603-9721

 

Director of Finance and Special Projects

Jeremy Richardson

Jeremy RichardsonJeremy joined SCPSCD in 2017 as the Director of Finance and Special Projects.  Prior to joining the district, Jeremy was an auditor with the public accounting firm Elliott Davis Decosimo, LLC where he specialized in serving governmental, higher education, and not-for-profit clients.  He earned a B.A in Accounting from Furman University and a M.S. in Accountancy from the College of Charleston.  Jeremy is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of South Carolina.   Jeremy is excited to help SCPCSD and all charter schools in his home state effectively manage their financial resources in order to provide the best education to the children of South Carolina.

 

Jeremy is originally from Sumter, South Caroline but now calls Greenville, South Carolina his home.  In his spare time, you can find him cooking, singing, and exploring all of the new and exciting restaurants in the Upstate.  During football season you may find Jeremy in Death Valley cheering on those Tigers!

Email: jrichardson@sccharter.org

 

Medicaid Coordinator

Jocelin Dawson

Jocelin DawsonJocelin joined the SCPCSD in 2017 as the Student Services Coordinator. Prior to joining the district, Jocelin in Quality Assurance in the Office of Medicaid Services for the State Department of Education. She also has vast experience in many health and human services including the following; Program Manager for Private Rehabilitative Therapy and Audiological Services; Program Manager for Healthy Connections Kids (HCK); Program Manager for Managed Care Organization (MCO); Program Manager for Medically Complex Children’s Waiver (MCCW); Program Manager for Nursing Services for Children under 21. She also has a passion for At-Risk-Youth and was a recreational therapist for the Department of Juvenile Justice.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Benedict College; Certification in Early Childhood Development, Greenville Technical College; a Master of Health Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, MO; and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.  When she’s not in the office, she enjoys being a mother to Michaiah, her greatest joy.

 

Email: jdawson@sccharter.org

Deputy Chief of New Schools & Accountability

Kristen Stolpa

Kristen Stolpa joined our team in August, 2017 as the Deputy Chief of New Schools and Accountability. She brings with her nearly a decade of experience in charter school authorizing. Prior to joining the SCPCSD, she held positions as the Deputy Director at the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools, a charter authorizer of 62 schools throughout Michigan; and before this, served as the Chief Authorizing Office for the Colorado Charter School Institute, the statewide authorizer of more than 35 charter schools in Colorado.

 

Her roles have encompassed the design and maintenance of the performance frameworks and evaluation tools, directing and management of all charter development and renewal processes, data analysis and performance reporting, charter contracting and compliance monitoring, as well as oversight of state reporting and assessments, special education, federal and state programs, and school nutrition. During her time in this field, she has reviewed more than 600 charter applications for more than a dozen states throughout the country, and also serves as a reviewer each year with the US Department of Education.

 

Kristen earned her bachelor degree from Hillsdale College and earned a master’s degree from Loyola University-Chicago. Kristen jokes that she likely has the least amount of hobbies to report amongst the team, as her husband, Chris, also works in education (he’s been a teacher for nearly 10 years), and she has three young children–Annie, Benjamin, and Caroline–who keep her hands and heart plenty full.

Student Information Systems Director

Don Wical

Don comes to us with 30 years of experience in Student Information Systems for South Carolina Public Schools. A product of the Midwest, Don moved here over 30 years ago to get closer to the beach and the mountains and year around golf. Originally trained as an energy engineer, Don’s background with computers led him to consulting with S.C. public schools as they implemented the first SIS called OSIRIS and has been through the transition to SASI and now PowerSchool.

Director of Human Resources

Jackie Snell

Jackie joined SCPCSD in 2018 as Director of Human Resources.  Prior to joining our team, Jackie worked at Kershaw County School District for over 12 years as the Benefits Analyst where she helped the more than 1,300 employees of the district navigate their health care and retirement benefits. Prior to working at KCSD she worked in HR functions in multiple private and public organizations across the state.

 

Jackie grew up in Camden and graduated from Clemson University.  She enjoys cheering on her Tigers and spending time with her husband and two children.

Grants Accountant

Melissa Hughey

Melissa’s bio coming soon.

Finance Assistant

Takeya Jackson

Takeya, a former “military brat” has banking and finance experience for many years. A graduate of Midlands Tech, Takeya has also volunteered with Big Brother Big Sister where she learned the importance of pouring into other people. She enjoyed mentoring children so much that she felt a calling to education which lead her to SCPCSD.

Outside of the office, she enjoys traveling, reading and being around new people and cultures. She loves music and she’s often seen breaking into song and dance and believes that she could’ve easily worked on broadway!

Director of Special Education

Susan Howard

Susan joins SCPCSD from Greenville County, South Carolina where she served as a Special Education Coordinator.  Prior to that, she served as a Special Education Teacher in a variety of school settings in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Kansas.    She holds a teaching certificate in South Carolina in the areas of K-12 Special Education, 6-12 Social Studies, and K-12 ESOL.  Susan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, Social Studies and a Master’s Degree in Special Education, both from Kansas State University.  She is currently pursuing her PhD in Special Education Leadership with an emphasis in transition from the University of South Carolina. She is a member of the Council of Exceptional Children and NAMI Greenville.  Susan has played an active role in Special Education since 1999 and works diligently to ensure equal access and equity for all students with disabilities.  Not only in education, but in life.

Outside of the office, Susan resides in Greenville with her husband, three children, and two dogs since moving to South Carolina in 2011.  They enjoy exploring areas of Greenville and spending time together.  Her family frequently travels to Kansas City and other areas in the mid-west where most of their family resides.

District Testing and Systems Coordinator

Lawana “Louie” Michalke

louieLouie was born in Washington DC and raised in Northern Virginia. After a varied career ranging from a part-time backup singer in a rock and roll band in Denver, CO, while an oral surgery assistant by day, to handling all the imports and exports for the country of Venezuela, she fell into an education career by chance and fell in love with it! She joins the SCPCSD after 20+ years with the Beaufort County School District where she taught English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and worked at the district level in special education. Louie enjoys working with teachers to help make their, and their student’s lives, easier through the power of technology.

 

Outside of the office, she enjoys boating, reading, music (from country (Patsy Cline was a cousin) to old school rap), and spending time with family and friends. As a dedicated foodie, she’s up for trying the latest trends in food but has her limits!

 

She is also known as Austin’s (her wonderful son) Mom and Cat Mom to her furry brood, Elvis, Kennedy, and Kat.

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART