• Points of Pride 2023-2024

    • Three Richland One elementary school principals have been accepted into the South Carolina Department of Education’s (SCDE) Talent Matters Professional Development Network for Principals. SCDE teamed up with the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy to establish this network, which is designed to support the “professional growth of principals as human capital leaders.” LaQuana Aldridge of A.C. Moore Elementary, Ashton Jones of Burton-Pack Elementary and Dr. Monica Owens Carter of H.B. Rhame Elementary have been accepted into the network for the 2023-2024 school year.


    • Heyward Gibbes Middle School Head Football Coach Teran Rowe has been named Richland One’s 2022-2023 Middle School Coach of the Year.



    • Lower Richland High School Head Girls Varsity Basketball and Cross Country Coach Aaron Lucas has been named Richland One’s 2022-2023 High School Coach of the Year.


    • Richland One launched three new school-within-a-school BLAST (Building Lasting Aerospace and STEAM Trajectories) magnet programs in August 2023. The new elementary aerospace magnet program is located at Watkins-Nance Elementary School; the new middle school aerospace space magnet program is located at W.A. Perry Middle School; and the new national defense-themed magnet program at Columbia High School. The programs are being funded by a $14.9 million Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant that was awarded to the district in 2022 from the U.S. Department of Education. Richland One is using the grant funds over a five-year period to implement BLAST at the three schools.


    • Richland One Commissioner Tamika Myers has reached Level 3 in the South Carolina School Boards Association’s Boardmanship Institute. The SCSBA Boardmanship Institute, established in 1982, offers a year-round training curriculum to help board members develop skills and stay abreast of state and national educational issues. Workshops focus on school law, advocacy and legislation, improving board operations, finance, leadership for improving student achievement, and other timely topics. Board members can achieve up to six levels of recognition by earning points that are accrued annually from July through June for participation in statewide conferences and training provided on-site in their districts.



    • Dr. Teresa TurnerRichland One’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) project director, has been accepted into AASA, The School Superintendents Association’s, Urban Superintendents Academy’s Howard University cohort. The Urban Superintendents Academy is designed for those “who want to take on leadership roles in our nation’s rapidly-growing urban areas, help accelerate academic performance growth, and be a champion for historically underrepresented and diverse populations.” The academy’s goal is to prepare superintendents and those who aspire to be superintendents for the demands of the urban environment.


    • Dreher High School and A.C. Flora High School have been named among the “Best High Schools” in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in its 2023-2024 ranking. The schools were ranked in the top 40% out of 17,680 public high schools nationwide. In addition to the national ranking, Dreher was ranked the third-best high school in the Columbia metropolitan area and 11th in South Carolina. A.C. Flora was ranked ninth in the Columbia metropolitan area and 34th in South Carolina.


    • Dr. Mario Ramon, a math teacher at C.A. Johnson High School, was selected to attend the Society for Science’s High School Research Teachers Conference. The Society for Science is dedicated to “expanding scientific literacy, access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and scientific research.” The conference brings together research teachers from across the U.S. to share their best practices, troubleshoot challenges and learn more about the society. Dr. Ramon was among the 175 teachers who were selected via lottery to participate in the conference.


    • Three Richland One educators have been named Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts for the 2023-2024 school year. The MIE program recognizes visionaries in the field who are using technology to enhance the instruction of their colleagues for improved student outcomes. Six educators from across South Carolina were selected for the distinction. Cathleen Lacey, a curriculum resource teacher (CRT) at Crayton Middle School, has been named an MIE Expert for the fourth consecutive year, as well as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow for the second consecutive year. Jason Davis, an English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Crayton Middle School, and Sean Samon, one of Richland One’s secondary ELA curriculum consultants, are in their first year as MIE Experts.


    • Hand Middle School Principal Dr. Patrice Green was selected for the South Carolina School Leadership Executive Institute (SLEI). The program was created in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Educator Effectiveness and Leadership Development (OEELD) and Truist Leadership Institute. SLEI is a seven-month program designed to equip principals from the across the state with insight, knowledge and competencies necessary to lead innovative and successful schools. Twenty-two principals from across South Carolina were chosen for SLEI’s Cohort 51.


    • Richland One has earned a 2023 Partnership District Award from the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University. This is Richland One’s sixth time being recognized for making excellent progress in strengthening its leadership of partnerships and for guiding schools to develop goal-oriented programs for family and community engagement. In addition, Columbia High School has received a 2023 Partnership School Award from NNPS.


    • Six Dreher High School students have been named semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program, which recognizes academically talented high school seniors across the country. Over 16,000 semifinalists will compete for 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million. The scholarships will be offered in the spring.

    Dreher’s National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are:

      • Lena Trask-Trafton
      • Aidan Dong
      • Jeremiah Trimble
      • Naja Weinkle
      • Larrabee Ellenberg  
      • Charlotte Peavy


    • Power:Ed, the philanthropy of South Carolina Student Loan Corporation, has donated $90,000 to Communities in Schools of South Carolina. $30,000 of that grant will go towards maintaining Communities in Schools’ integrated student support programming at Lower Richland High School. Communities in Schools of South Carolina works directly with 41 schools across three geographic regions in South Carolina. The organization builds relationships to ensure over 25,000 students receive a quality education.


    • Forty-eight schools in Richland One are among the 781 schools nationwide to be named as America’s Healthiest Schools for the 2022-2023 school year. Richland One has more award winners than any other school district in South Carolina. The recognition, awarded by Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a leading children’s health organization, honors schools’ dedication to supporting the health and well-being of students, staff, and families.

    This year, Olympia Learning Center was recognized in three topics, including:

      • Cultivating Staff Well-Being, co-presented in collaboration with Harmony SEL at National University and Kaiser Permanente
      • Implementing Local School Wellness Policy
      • Bolstering Physical Education and Activity

    Heyward Career and Technology Center was recognized in Implementing Local School Wellness Policy.

    In addition, all Richland One elementary, middle and high schools, as well as Carolina School for Inquiry and Pendergrass Fairwold School, were recognized in Bolstering Physical Education and Activity.


    • Two Richland One teachers were chosen to participate in the Strategies for Teacher Advancement and Renewal (STAR) seminars, sponsored by the Foundation for Professional Development and the Palmetto State Teachers Association. Mukkaramah Smith, a third-grade teacher at A.J. Lewis Greenview Elementary School, was selected for the Fall 2023 seminar. Teresa Jones, a sixth-grade math teacher at Hand Middle School, was chosen for the Spring 2024 seminar. STAR is a biannual reward and recognition program for outstanding South Carolina veteran teachers. The program is designed to enhance teachers’ commitment to education and provide them with opportunities for personal and professional growth.