SC Council on Competitiveness to lead STEM Educator of the Year Award

Statewide education foundation closes its doors after 25+ years of positively impacting public education in South Carolina

Florence, SC —

South Carolina Future Minds (SCFM), a statewide nonpartisan organization convening business and education stakeholders to advance smart programs and policies that improve public education, announces the dissolution of the 20+ year organization and subsequent transition of its teacher and student focused programming and partnerships.

Over the past twenty years SCFM has convened over 4,000 education advocates and 800 teachers to celebrate public education, provided critical home libraries to almost 6,000 students in low income schools, and gifted over $3.8 million in-kind and cash donations directly to educators. SCFM has collaborated with key partners like The Riley Institute at Furman to highlight evidence-based programs impacting our public education system, and most recently, launched the first-ever STEM Educator of the Year Award, powered by Comporium.

“It has been an honor working with this organization and our partners for the past 11 years,” said Debbie Jones, Executive Director of SCFM. “Advocating for and connecting with so many excellent public educators in our state along the way has been the biggest reward. I’m thrilled to continue my work in the public education space at SEL4SC and delighted that we’ve found homes for our core programs to thrive in years to come.”

Mrs. Jones was appointed as Interim Executive Director in July 2019 after serving as Director of Programs for the statewide organization since 2009. Ms. Jones will be spearheading efforts at the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for South Carolina (SEL4SC) to promote and advance effective social-emotional learning in all schools, families, organizations, and communities in South Carolina.

“SC Future Minds’ mission has always been to connect private resources to public education,” said David Cote, Chair of the Board and VP of Human Resources at BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina. “Debbie has a track record of growing sustainable and impactful partnerships and programs through her nearly decade long service with SCFM. And her efforts supporting and advocating for educators and children in the public education system will only continue with SEL4SC.”

SC Future Minds is thrilled to announce that its My First Library program, which has reached nearly 6000 rising first-graders in high risk schools with their first library to take home over the summer, will now reside with the Original Six Foundation.

Founded and chaired by former Governor Nikki Haley, the Original Six Foundation works to improve education in underserved areas of the state by identifying and filling gaps through hands-on engagement and resources. “Thank you to SC Future Minds for twenty incredible years of service. We could not be more excited to partner with Bojangles’ to continue the legacy of the My First Library program. Learning to read from an early age creates a path to a successful education and future. We want to help every single child in South Carolina know they are meant for great things, and give them the tools to make it possible.”

The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness (the Council), which manages multiple industry clusters and K-12 initiatives, including TransformSC, the Talent-Opportunites Program with SC Future Makers and Tallo, statewide SC Aerospace Lunch-and-Learns, and the SC Logistics Lemonade Supply Chain, will lead the South Carolina STEM Educator of the Year Program in partnership with the South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science.  SC Future Minds is excited to have the Council usher in the third year of the program that honors and elevates STEM Educators in the state.

 “The STEM Educator of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to recognize the important role that our STEM educators play in the development of our workforce pipeline,” said Susie Shannon, CEO of the SC Council on Competitiveness. “Adopting this annual award, and partnering with SC Coalition for Mathematics & Science, fits the Council’s mission to collaboratively optimize existing resources, expertise, and ideas to develop world-class talent in South Carolina around our burgeoning and ever-growing industries within the STEM fields.”

About SC Future Minds:

South Carolina Future Minds (SCFM) knows that the future of our state depends on an education system in which all students succeed and thrive, regardless of their race or zip-code. Established in 1995, SCFM is a statewide, nonpartisan organization convening business and education stakeholders around a shared goal: to advance smart programs and policies that improve public education. For more information, please visit

About Original Six Foundation

The Original Six Foundation believes children across South Carolina deserve a quality education regardless of where they are born and raised. Founded in 2011 by then-Governor Haley, the Original Six Foundation works to improve education by identifying gaps and filling them through hands-on engagement and resources. For more information, please visit

About South Carolina Council on Competitiveness:

The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness is a nonpartisan, business-led nonprofit organization that drives South Carolina’s long-term economic growth by supporting the state’s key industry clusters and providing the research, network, and resources that industry clusters require to thrive. Clusters include both competitors and collaborators, and the resulting inter-cluster business environment fosters innovation. Innovation, in turn, spurs new business ventures. Learn more at

About Social Emotional Learning Alliance for South Carolina:

SEL4SC is a statewide organization focused on bringing all parents, educators, businesses, and community leaders united in supporting social-emotional learning; where SEL is practiced throughout our schools, homes, organizations, and communities; and where we work together as a state to elevate equity, fairness, and a better life for all.

Media Contact: Debbie Jones or 803-741-5646

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