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Meet Our Team

Chris Neeley

Superintendent

Neeley was appointed Superintendent of the South Carolina Public Charter School District on August 3, 2020. He previously worked in government relations for one of South Carolina’s oldest law firms, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. in Columbia, SC,. Appointed by President Trump in 2018, he also serves as Chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) in Washington, DC. where he advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all facets of American life. Neeley formerly served as Commissioner of the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) as an appointee of Governor Henry McMaster. He formerly served as the Principal of the Meyer Center, South Carolina’s first charter school of inclusive learning for children with 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 co-founded that conducted business development and international relations with organizations in 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. Neeley is an Eagle Scout and 1985 recipient of the American Legion’s Boy Scout of the Year award for the State of South Carolina. Neeley is a graduate of Clemson University, 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. Neeley and his wife Janie and children reside in Columbia, SC.  

Email: cneeley@sccharter.org

Taylor Fulcher

Chief of Staff

Taylor 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

Vashaunta Harris

Chief Operations Officer

Vashaunta Harris is a native South Carolinian born into a family of minsters and educators.  After graduating from College of Charleston, she began her career in education as a 2008 Teach For America Baltimore corp member teaching high school biology and chemistry with Baltimore City Public Schools.  After completing a master’s program at Johns Hopkins, she joined Scholar Academies charter management organization as an operations coordinator/manager serving schools in PA, DC, NJ, and TN.  Most recently, she served DC Public Schools by way of Director of Strategic School Operations.  Vashaunta enjoys morning coffee (vanilla soy lattes or café Americano), beach vacations with her family, Game of Thrones (though the final season was a bit disappointing), and cooking new recipes.

Email: vharris@sccharter.org

Michael Thom

Chief Financial Officer

Michael Thom is a senior finance executive with over 24 years of public sector, governmental, higher education, non-profit, accounting and information technology experience. Michael joined the SCPCSD in February 2020 after stops at Orangeburg County School District, Lexington County School District Four, and the South Carolina Department of Education. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and watching Pittsburgh Steelers and South Carolina Gamecocks Football.

 

E-mail: mthom@sccharter.org

Emily Paul

Chief Programs Officer

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, then Executive Director of School Operations and now serves as the Chief Programs Officer. 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.

Emily is also the Title IX Coordinator.

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

Emalee Baker

Coordinator of Educator Evaluation

Emalee Baker is the Coordinator of Educator Evaluation for South Carolina Public Charter School District where she supports each of our schools through the evaluation process at all contract levels for both teachers and administrators. She also serves as our district coordinator for Gifted & Talented as well as Read To Succeed. Prior to joining SCPCSD, Emalee worked for the Beaufort County School District as a literacy interventionist and multi-age classroom teacher while holding leadership and evaluator roles within her school buildings. In her time in Beaufort County Emalee earned honors such as Sue West Educator of the Year, Top 5 Finalist for District Teacher of the Year, and filming a model first grade lesson for NIET, Emalee earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University (GO TIGERS!) and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy from University of Texas at Arlington.

Emalee grew up on Hilton Head Island and currently resides in the Lowcountry of SC with her husband, Jesse, and daughter, Madalynn. As a family they love to spend time on the water when not cheering on Madalynn as she plays club soccer for GPS Coastal Academy.

 

Email: ebaker@sccharter.org

Jocelin Dawson

Medicaid Coordinator

Jocelin 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

Teresa Etheredge

Executive Assistant

Teresa serves the SCPCSD in the role of Executive 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

Susan Howard

Director of Special Education

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.

 

Email: showard@sccharter.org

Takeya Jackson

Finance Assistant

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!

 

E-mail: tjackson@sccharter.org

Nick Michael

Director of Financial Services

Nick joined the SCPCSD team in January 2020 with over ten years of public education experience in finance at the school and state level. After completing his Master of Science in Accounting from Liberty University in 2017, he is currently pursuing the South Carolina School Business Official certification. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family outdoors and grilling up some great barbeque.

 

E-mail: nmichael@sccharter.org

Lawana “Louie” Michalke

District Testing and Systems Coordinator

Louie 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.

 

E-mail: lmichalke@sccharter.org

Bobby Rykard

Director of Quality Assurance

Bobby is the Director of Quality Assurance for the Charter Development 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

LaPrecious Sapp

Financial Services Coordinator

LaPrecious joins SCPCSD from Barnwell County, South Carolina where she served as the District Finance Director. Prior to Finance Director, she served as the District Assistant Finance Director. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Master’s Degree with concentration in Forensics, both from Strayer University. She became interested in Accounting during her High School Senior year where she participated in the school-to-work opportunity with Savannah River Site in the Accounting department. She is a member of South Carolina Association of School Business Officials where she earned her School Business Specialist Certification.

 

Outside of work, LaPrecious has a passion for helping people with their finances. She also enjoys reading, research work, traveling, and spending time with family.

 

Email: lsapp@sccharter.org

Laura Simmons

Director of Special Education/CATE

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

Jackie Snell

Director of Human Resources

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.

 

E-mail: jsnell@sccharter.org

Tracie Sweet

Director of Federal Programs

Tracie Sweet is the Director of Federal Programs at the South Carolina Public Charter School District where she currently oversees federal programs such as Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, foster care, and homeless.  Prior to this position, Tracie was an education associate in the Office of Federal and State Accountability at the South Carolina Department of Education.  In addition to providing Title I technical assistance to districts throughout the state, Tracie served as the SCDE’s point of contact for foster care, the facilitator for parent, family, and community engagement for Title I schools, and served as a member of the ESSA management team.   Educational background includes teaching elementary school, program facilitator at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), principal at Temple Christian Academy in Anderson, SC, adjunct professor and student teacher supervisor at Anderson University, consultant for National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards, and parent facilitator/Title I coordinator at Williston School District 29.  Tracie lives in Anderson, SC with her husband and two amazingly talented daughters.

 

E-mail: tsweet@sccharter.org

Catherine Watt

Director of Charter Development

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 Notre Dame fan.

 

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

Wendy C. Ward

Social Emotional Learning Coach

Wendy joins SCPCSD from its very own GREEN Charter School Network, where she coordinated the Special Education, 504, and Medical Homebound Programs on each of GREEN’s campuses. Prior to that, Wendy worked as a Special Education Teacher and Educational Diagnostician for Greenville County Schools and as a Special Education Editor for Super Duper Publications. Wendy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Special Education, both from the University of South Carolina. She holds a current teaching certificate in South Carolina for multiple areas of Special Education in Grades K-12. Actively serving the field of education since 1999, Wendy strives to ensure access and equity for South Carolina’s children. She passionately believes that Social Emotional Learning in each classroom, school, and community builds the foundation for effective learning, thereby producing positive student outcomes in school and in life.

 

Wendy resides in Greenville with her husband, two children, and fur babies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling the islands of the Caribbean, and cheering on her future black belts in Tang Soo Do.

 

E-mail: wward@sccharter.org

Don Wical

Powerschool Coordinator

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.

 

E-mail: dwical@sccharter.org