Local educators learn from business leaders

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 1, 2017) — Local educators will be better equipped to prepare students for the workplace of the future because of the Midlands Educator Leadership Experience, which recently began a 10-month journey of connecting education professionals with business leaders. 

It’s the second class for MELE, a collaboration between the Midlands Education and Business Alliance and Colonial Life.

“Our education leaders and business leaders need continual interaction to discuss both the trends of the workforce and the role of educators,” said Mary Snipes, executive director of the Midlands Education and Business Alliance. “The MELE program guides the conversation through monthly themed discussions to improve workforce preparation. Educators expand their network and teach the business community about curriculum design, values and progressive thinking within the schools.”

The 17-person class includes principals, counselors and district office employees from Lexington, Richland and Fairfield counties, higher education and state public education officials. The members of the 2017-18 MELE class are:

• Howard Bissell, director of online environments, Lexington School District One
• Martha Blankenship, school counselor, Frances Mack Intermediate School, Lexington School District Four
• Dr. Robin Coletrain, principal, W. A. Perry Middle School, Richland School District One
• Dr. Angela Cooper, chief human resource officer, Lexington School District Two
• Dr. Jennifer Etheridge, director of special projects, Fairfield County School District
• Dr. Harry Gates, director of career & technical education, Center for Advanced Technical Studies, School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties
• Nancy Gregory, chief instructional officer, Richland School District Two
• Dr. Marcella Heyward-Evans, chief instructional officer, Lexington School District Two
• Dr. Neely Kelly, elementary curriculum coordinator, Fairfield County School District
• Jesse Outen, coordinating director of the Career Pathways Initiative/Service-Learning, Benedict College
• Dr. Jon Pedersen, dean, College of Education, University of South Carolina
• Allyson Porter, associate director of admissions and recruiting, Midlands Technical College
• Randall Price, director of adult education, Batesburg-Leesville Lifelong Learning Center
• Dr. Veronica Scott, principal, C. A. Johnson High School, Richland School District One
• Dr. James Ann Shelley, assistant superintendent, Richland School District Two 
• Dr. Angie Slatton, director of special services, School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties
• Kama Staton, education associate, S.C. State Department of Education

“The shared perspectives gained between education and business leaders through this program enhance awareness and understanding of how today’s educational experience can support the talent needs of a global workforce,” said Marie McGehee, community relations manager at Colonial Life.

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 90,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3.8 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit www.coloniallife.com