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South Carolina Public Charter School District Re-Launches New Schools SC Fellowship for Prospective Charter School Founders

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2019
Taylor Fulcher, Director of Communications

South Carolina Public Charter School District Re-Launches New Schools SC Fellowship for Prospective Charter School Founders

Columbia, South Carolina—This fall, the South Carolina Public Charter School District will re-launch its New Schools SC Fellowship, an all-expenses-paid charter school incubation and leadership development program for up to three leaders aiming to open  game-changing new schools in South Carolina’s highest-need communities. Fellows will submit their charter in February 2020 for a fall 2022 opening. The three fellowship seats are open to existing high-quality charter school operators, whether in-state or out-of-state, as well as experienced leaders aiming to design and lead their first school.

The fellowship’s first iteration, which began in 2017, was won by Dr. Hugh Harmon of Columbia, South Carolina. After a year of observing and studying the highest-quality charter schools in the country, engaging local families and community leadership, selecting a rigorous curriculum and school model, and writing an exemplary charter school application, Dr. Harmon’s school, Renaissance Collegiate, was voted unanimously for approval in the spring of 2018, and will open with 120 students in the fall of 2019.

“We believe that by investing in educators and leaders with strong track records–who are committed to opening great schools where they’re needed the most–we’re going to accelerate the impact of charter schools on our state’s most underserved students,” said Elliot Smalley, SCPCSD superintendent. “We’re not placing our bets on a specific program or intervention–we’re placing our bets on people. Great, talented, people with the highest of expectations for every student—leaders who will stop at nothing to ensure every student is prepared for college”.

The initiative is valued at $180,000 per Fellow over the course of two years and includes a monthly stipend, top-tier leadership coaching, and access to instructional trainings from consultants and leaders of the country’s highest-performing charter operators.

Qualified candidates can access the application immediately at http://www.sccharter.org/fellowship/ and submit their first round of materials by May 16, 2019.

This year, the SCPCSD oversees 34 public charter schools serving almost 20,000 students across the state, with two additional schools scheduled to open in Fall 2019 and eight applicants vying for new-charter approval this spring. The SCPCSD, the state’s largest and most diverse charter school authorizer, has dramatically increased its graduation rate in recent years and was recently named to the National AP Honor-Roll for dramatically narrowing racial and socio-economic achievement gaps in college entry exams.