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Riley Institute announces winner of education award

Last updated October 21, 2015

By Tina Underwood

Teacher Cadet Program, CERRA, sizedA program aimed at attracting the best and brightest South Carolina students to teaching has won the 2015 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence.

Furman University’s Riley Institute and South Carolina Future Minds presented the award Oct. 14 to the Teacher Cadet Program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, & Advancement (CERRA) based in Rock Hill, S.C.

The award, which highlights innovative educational initiatives throughout the state, was presented before an audience of more than 300 people during the WhatWorksSC award luncheon, held in conjunction with the South Carolina Future Minds’ annual Public Education Partners meeting.

As the top award recipient, the Teacher Cadet Program received $5,000 to support its ability to share its story and continue to expand throughout South Carolina. In addition, two finalists for the award received $1000: Parents as Teachers SC, and Reach Out and Read Carolinas.

Finalists were selected by a national panel of judges from more than 100 entries in the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSC clearinghouse, an online tool that showcases initiatives which explore and exemplify key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools.

The Teacher Cadet Program, under the leadership of Marcella Wine-Snyder, seeks to encourage academically able students who possess exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career. It provides the opportunity for schools and districts to identify and recruit “homegrown” teachers and educators, providing a gateway for these academically talented students to return to their communities as education professionals. Founded in 1986, the program has grown to include approximately 165 South Carolina high schools serving nearly 2,500 juniors and seniors annually.

The award was presented in conjunction with the South Carolina State Board of Education, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee. The award presentation was sponsored by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA), Riley Pope & Laney, LLC, and South Carolina ETV.

For more information about the WhatWorksSC Award and the WhatWorksSC clearinghouse, contact the Riley Institute at (864) 294-3546 or email

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