Thirty Seven Graduate From Leadership South Carolina

Leadership South Carolina Class of 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Thirty-seven participants from across South Carolina recently graduated from Leadership South Carolina, the state’s oldest and most respected leadership development program. Graduates completed 120 hours of instruction about issues facing the state while their class project raised $70,000 for Orangeburg’s Robert E. Howard Middle School.

For more than four decades, Leadership South Carolina, created in 1979 by Gov. Richard Riley, has molded leaders in the only statewide program exploring the array of problems facing the Palmetto State. During the past 15 years, class projects have raised $600,000 for critical needs.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic required some speakers to address the class remotely, members traveled throughout the state during the nine-month program learning about education, the environment, economic development, social issues, and future challenges. Sessions were held in Columbia, Seabrook Island, Greenville, Greenwood, Spartanburg, and Florence with graduation Sept. 8 at the Lace House in the Governor’s Mansion Complex. Leadership South Carolina Board of Trustees Chairman Jason Bristol awarded diplomas while Dr. Ron Rhames, president of Midlands Technical College and a LSC graduate, presented Continuing Education Certificates to graduates.

For their class project, the Class of ’21 chose to assist Howard Middle School in Orangeburg, a Title I School in the economically depressed area of the state sometimes referred to as the Corridor of Shame. All 430 students at the school are eligible for free school lunches. Project Paint the Way raised $70,000 to repaint deteriorating hallways, add much-needed landscaping and create a clothes closet on campus to provide clothing and shoes for needy kids.

Leadership South Carolina’s goal is to inspire future leaders through leadership training and awareness of the state’s most urgent challenges.
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Leadership South Carolina Class of 2021:

  • Rick Adkins, Deputy Chief of Staff and District Director, U.S. Rep. Tim Duncan, Anderson
  • Lee Belcher, Assistant Vice President, Synovus Bank, Columbia
  • Emily Bentley, Chief of Recovery and Mitigation, South Carolina Emergency Management Division
  • Mari Blanding, Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army National Guard
  • Brenton Brown, Director Public Policy/Community Affairs, South Carolina Commission on Minority Affairs
  • Col. Kelvin Brown, Deputy Property and Fiscal Operations Office, South Carolina National Guard
  • Amanda Burgin, Financial Planner, First Command Financial Services, Beaufort
  • Sarah Gams, 2021 South Carolina Teacher of the Year, Irmo
  • Kyle Gunter, President, FBi Construction, Florence
  • Claire Hall, Counsel, Fluor Corporation, Greenville
  • Amy Heard, Assistant Superintendent, Director of Finance, Anderson County School District 5
  • Steven Hicks, Vice President, TD Bank, Columbia
  • Alice Hodges, Executive Director, Meg’s House, Greenwood
  • Staci Johnson, Administrative Services Manager, City of Sumter
  • Sydney Reid Keith, Extension Agent , 1890 Research and Extension, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg
  • Marcia Leake, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Tri-County Technical College, Pendleton
  • State Rep. Krystle Matthews, House District 117, Ladson
  • Michael Lutes, President, South Market, Atrium Health, Matthews, N.C.
  • David McCuen, City Manager, City of Anderson
  • Leslie McIntosh, Partner, McIntosh, Sherard, Sullivan & Brousseau, Anderson
  • Maurice Mitchell, Marketing Coordinator, 1890 Research and Extension, S.C. State University, Orangeburg
  • Stacey Moore, President, York Technical College, Rock Hill
  • Matthew Myers, Senior Vice President and City Executive South State Bank, Spartanburg
  • Brad Neese, Vice President Division of Economic Development, South Carolina Technical College System
  • Stephanie O'Cain, Chief Financial Officer, Municipal Association of South Carolina
  • Michele O’Shaughnessy, Engineer and Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River Site
  • Craig Plank, Owner, Craig Plank State Farm Insurance, Columbia
  • Keith Poston, Partner, Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, Columbia
  • Marcus Preston, South Carolina Director of Regulatory Affairs, Duke Energy, Columbia
  • Henry Simons, Assistant City Manager, City of Columbia
  • Crystal Stapleton, Superintendent, Barnwell School District 45
  • Maj. Christopher Turner, Operations Planner, 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Anderson
  • Brian Urban, Supervisory Lead, U.S. Department of Labor, Columbia
  • Pamela Vaughn, Manager Environmental and Regulatory Compliance, FujiFilm Manufacturing U.S.A., Greenwood
  • Ryan Wathen, Senior Vice President, Rodgers Builders Inc., Columbia
  • Matthew Wilder, Chief Engineering Design Services, Fort Jackson, Columbia
  • State Rep. Richie Yow, House District 53, Chesterfield

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