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Hundreds of Educators gather for a day of Learning at the EPI Center’s Annual Conference

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As the school year ends, hundreds of educators gathered in Columbia today for a full day of learning. The Center of Excellence for Educator Preparation and Innovation at Voorhees University (EPI Center) hosted its 3rd Annual Professional Development Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton Conference Center. This year’s theme was Evidence of Excellence in K-12: Educators Leading the Way. More than 200 educators participated in the conference. 

Dr. Thomas Maridada, II, President of the Center for Strategic Leadership and Organizational Coherence in Cambridge, Massachusetts delivered the keynote address. Dr. Maridada reflected on the struggles and triumphs of two Black female educators, Voorhees University founder Elizabeth Evelyn Wright and renowned Chicago-based educator Marva Collins. Moderated by communications executive and media personality, Cynthia Pryor Hardy, the Superintendent’s Luncheon Symposium featured Fairfield County School District Superintendent Dr. J.R. Green and Georgetown County School District Superintendent Keith Price.  

Today’s conference highlighted best practices in teaching, learning, and educational engagement throughout K-12 classrooms and school environments. Presentation topics included financial literacy, artificial intelligence, leading conflict resolution and transformative change, and first-year teacher efficacy. Conference attendees also participated in a Gallery Walk & Talk dedicated to sharing explored innovative strategies and interventions aimed at improving reading scores for students in grades 4-8 using Improvement Science. The conference closed with remarks from South Carolina Senator Tameika Isaac Devine and with the recognition of 50 fellows who completed the IMPACT (Improvement Science Propels Achievement and Critical Thinking) educator support program. IMPACT is for currently certified South Carolina Elementary Education and English/Language Arts educators interested in improving their instructional practices. IMPACT participants receive a participation stipend, renewal credits, and publication opportunities for their data-driven research. 

The EPI Center is a national 501(c)3 organization leading innovation in teacher effectiveness. Professional learning opportunities are offered to currently certified teachers and those seeking to become certified. The EPI Center is committed to providing individualized, competency-based instruction, support services, stipends, and virtual coaching to help eligible educators, debt-free, achieve their professional career goals. 

IMPACT Fellows Awards
(l-r) – EPI Center Associate Director Alicia Truesdale-Cotton, EPI Center CEO Dr. Damara Hightower Mitchell, Fairfield Superintendent Dr. J.R. Green, Georgetown Superintendent Keith Price, and EPI Center COO Dr. Tondaleya Green Jackson 
Conference Participants

About Voorhees University

Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility and #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at www.voorhees.edu.


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