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Riley Institute Announces finalists for education award

tunky-riley-kidsFurman University’s Riley Institute and South Carolina Future Minds have announced the finalists for the 2015 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence.

The winner of the award will be announced at a luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 12:30 p.m. at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Presented in conjunction with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina State Board of Education, the award highlights innovative educational initiatives throughout the state.

At the award luncheon, held during South Carolina Future Minds’ annual Public Education Partners conference, Linda O’Bryon, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV, will host a conversation with current South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. Former two-term Governor of South Carolina and United States Secretary of Education Dick Riley will present the award.

The 2015 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC award finalists are:

  • Parents as Teachers SC, South Carolina First Steps, an evidence-based early childhood home visiting program for families of children prenatal through age five
  • Reach Out and Read Carolinas, serving children from birth to five years old statewide through their healthcare providers
  • The Teacher Cadet Program, encouraging high-achieving high school students with interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career

Using program research and evaluation, maximization of resources, and sustainability as criteria, a committee of corporate leaders and education experts selected these finalists from more than 100 entries in the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSC clearinghouse. Each finalist will receive a cash prize to grow their program and share information about it.

The WhatWorksSC award luncheon and the S.C. Conference of Public Education Partners (PEP) are open to the public. Register for the full day conference ($75 before September 24) or the lunch only ($20) at this link.

For more information about the award luncheon, call the Riley Institute at (864) 294-3546 or email  For more information about the PEP conference, visit Information about the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSCsm clearinghouse can be found here.

About WhatWorksSC

The WhatWorksSC clearinghouse showcases initiatives that explore and exemplify key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools.

WhatWorksSC ties strategies for world-class schools in South Carolina to promising in-state initiatives. The resource includes policy papers written by state leaders, case studies, and an evolving clearinghouse of initiatives that explore and exemplify key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools. WhatWorksSC is continually seeking information about exemplary education initiatives for inclusion in the clearinghouse, and welcomes ongoing nominations for consideration for succeeding years’ awards.

*Creation of WhatWorksSC was driven by “In Their Own Words: A Public Vision for Educational Excellence in South Carolina.” This study, the largest ever done in South Carolina and unique nationally, details key strategies for creating world-class schools in South Carolina, derived from 3,000 focus group hours with more than 800 stakeholders. It was conducted by the Riley Institute in 2005 and 2006 with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Last updated September 2, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director