Education in Sumter: Leaders from different schools provide update, focus on transparency and communication in second annual Sumter State of Education


SUMTER, S.C. — Transparency and communication to improve education for Sumter was the focus of today’s second annual State of Education

Leadership from different educational institutes got together to share what they’re working on to better teach the future generation.

“I think people want to know what the real story is from the perspective of the leaders,” moderator Lefford Fate says. “I’m thinking that the state of education is a growing state. And what I mean by that is, we see where we are, but we see where we need to go.”

Different educational leaders gathered from: Liberty STEAM Charter SchoolUniversity of South Carolina (USC) SumterCentral Carolina Technical College (CCTC)Morris CollegeThomas Sumter AcademySumter Christian and Wilson Hall.

“We’re all in this together, and we all are contributing to the same outcome, which is we want to produce thoughtful, productive citizens that hopefully choose to remain here in Sumter. Right?” Trevor Ivey with Liberty STEAM said during the discussion.

“I think the first thing we have to say is the fact that all of us combined are the education group here, you know, it’s not like we’re all separate,” CCTC’s Kevin Pollock added. “Combined, we’re making a difference in the community.”

Ben Herod with Thomas Sumter Academy was one of many who emphasized the importance of unity among all educational entities in the area.

“One thing that I like to tell people is you know, your, your child is your most valuable possession. And you trust us with your most valuable possession. So thank you for that,” Herod shared with the group. “If one school does not fit you, another one will. And if another school does not fit you, then another one will. Go find what works for you and your family because our schools do a lot of the same things with different words. And we all do things great, and we all care and we all try to take care of our teachers and we all try to keep our ratio, our student-teacher down. You know, we do all of those things, but find what works best for you.”

Discussing topics from raising literacy rates to collecting feedback and data from parents to the prospect of offering more two year higher education programs, panelists spoke to attendees like Brittany Tindal. 

“I think one wonderful thing about Sumter and our surrounding communities is everyone’s acting like a team. They’re not acting like competitors. They’re all working together for the betterment of our community and our children,” Tindal tells me. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for community leaders to get together and talk about the state of education because the children are our future. And it’s important for us to teach them, you know, how to carry on so that our community is sustainable.”

“I think the future is really bright. And the more we work together and get out of this idea of like dog eat dog world, sort of competitive about everything and look at and say like, we live in this ecosystem of really great schools, how do we benefit each other? We all have different missions, so we’re not necessarily in competition,” Wilson Hall’s Brent Kaneft explains. “We want families to find the right fit for them. And so I just think it’s really positive. I think we’re breaking bread and we’re coming to the table and we’re talking. And that is something, I think, new historically here and so I think it’s really positive.”

The event was hosted by the Sumter Chamber of CommerceSumter School District’s Superintendent William Wright had planned to attend the event, but a scheduling mixup prevented him from making an appearance, the district tells News 19.

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