Colonial Life launches new educator leadership program

Program will build stronger ties between educators, business and community leaders

Businesswoman in a meeting
COLUMBIA, S.C. (June 27, 2016) — School’s out for summer, but a select group of administrators, principals and other school executives from Richland School District Two are heading back to class next month. 

They’re piloting the new Midlands Educator Leadership Experience program sponsored by Colonial Life in partnership with Midlands Education and Business Alliance. The 10-month program will take the class on an in-depth tour of key facets of our community, including business, manufacturing, legislative, health care and higher education. The agenda will focus on examples of change leadership from the business sector and economic trends that influence the workforce in South Carolina. Along the way, educators will discover tools and strategies to make them more effective leaders and strengthen their vision for their schools’ and students’ success.  

“Success for Richland Two students starts with strong leadership from every classroom and principal’s office to every department at the district office,” said Debbie Hamm, Richland Two superintendent. “We encourage employees to try new ideas to inspire students and make schools run more efficiently. That’s where partnerships with community businesses are key. These types of mutually beneficial relationships sharpen our leaders’ knowledge and skills and immerse our partners in the business of public education.” 

The timing for this new program couldn’t be better, according to Marie McGehee, community relations manager at Colonial Life. 

“Transformational change is taking place in our K-12 system,” McGehee said. “This program is a prime example of the private-public partnerships needed to make South Carolina’s educational system more effective.” 

Public education is the primary focus of Colonial Life’s outreach efforts. Colonial Life’s long history of support has included St. Andrews Middle School reading and mentoring partnerships, becoming the University of South Carolina’s first naming rights partner, financial support for other university programs, the Strong Schools Grant program, Junior Achievement classes at Rhame Elementary and St. Andrews Middle schools, Boys & Girls Clubs after-school enrichment programs, an Hispanic Outreach Initiative with Brookland-Cayce High School, school supply drives and more. 

Plans are for the program to grow. Going forward, participants will be from within MEBA’s nine school district service area and possibly from across the state of South Carolina. 

“This program for enthusiastic educational leaders provides a new level of empowerment that will have a positive impact on the future workforce,” said Mary Snipes, MEBA’s executive director. “Having in-person conversations and time to digest and question workplace trends with business leaders provides an opportunity for mutual support and innovative solutions. The growth and strength of this program relies on continued support from the entire South Carolina business community.”   

About Midlands Education and Business Alliance 

Midlands Education and Business Alliance is a leader in the community and a state and national model. MEBA has worked since 1990 to strengthen education and business connections, foster community collaboration, answer workforce needs, promote economic development and enhance the quality of life in the Midlands. For more information visit

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit or connect with the company at, and