COLUMBIA, S.C. — Are great leaders born or made? While arguments are often given for both sides, there’s no arguing Richland School District Two has several educators who are on a pathway to becoming better leaders. The South Carolina ASCD has selected Dr. Deborah Bennett, Kelley Dinkins, Kristen Eubanks, and Brandon Ross for its 2020-2021 Emerging Leaders Program.
The SCASCD Emerging Leaders Program seeks to empower educators to achieve excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. According to SCASCD, emerging leaders participate in various networking opportunities and become part of a select pool of educators with exclusive access to opportunities to expand their professional reach.
Richland School District Two 2020-2021 SCASCD Emerging Leaders
Dr. Deborah Bennett – Curriculum Effectiveness Specialist, Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle School
Dr. Bennett brings 28 years of experience in education to her school and district. She currently serves as the Curriculum Effectiveness Specialist at Kelly Mill Med Pro Middle School. Other roles include teaching elementary and middle school in South Carolina and Georgia. She has served as principal of Richland Two Middle Summer School and Chair of the Math Department at Sanders Middle School in Richland School District One. Dr. Bennett is National Board Certified.
“I am excited and honored to be selected for the SCASCD Emerging Leaders Program. I look forward to this journey, learning from and working collaboratively with leaders across our state. I will strive to empower, engage and educate students and teachers to become the best versions of themselves and pursue their passions,” said Dr. Bennett.
Dr. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Columbia College; Master of Arts in Middle Grades Math and Science from Berry College; Master of Education in Education Leadership from American College of Education; and a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University.
Kelley Dinkins – Technology and Learning Coach, Sandlapper Elementary School
Kelley Dinkins taught middle school English/Language Arts in Richland Two and Charleston County School Districts for 13 years before transitioning to technology integration. She is her school’s reigning Teacher of the Year. From the very first day in the classroom in 2004, her goal as an educator has been to make a positive impact on students in hopes that they will pay it forward by teaching someone else the value of having an education.
“My commitment to be a servant leader aligns with the tenets of the SCASCD Emerging Leaders Program to support our students. I plan to use this opportunity to connect, network, and learn from other leaders to increase my knowledge and leadership impact in Richland Two and the surrounding educational communities,” said Dinkins.
Dinkins received certification in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the College of Charleston; Master of Education from Southern Wesleyan University; Gifted and Talented Endorsement from Coastal Carolina University and Educational Specialist degree in Educational Technology from Walden University.
Kristen Eubanks – Principal, Bridge Creek Elementary School
Kristen Eubanks is entering her eighth year as principal of Bridge Creek Elementary. She began her teaching career at Lake Carolina Elementary in Richland School District Two where she taught fourth and fifth grade. Prior to being appointed principal, she served as assistant principal at Bridge Creek Elementary for three years.
“I am honored to be selected as a participant in the 2020-21 Emerging Leaders cohort and look forward to collaborating with leaders from across our state,” said Eubanks.
Eubanks received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and her Master of Arts degree in Teaching from the University of South Carolina (UofSC). She received her Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Capella University.
Brandon Ross – Assistant Principal, Ridge View High School
Brandon Ross has spent the last eight years working in public education. He began as an Adult Education Counselor with the W. R. Rogers Center in Richland Two and Richland One Adult Education Center. Since then he’s held several positions in Richland Two, including Career Development Facilitator, Westwood High School; School Counselor, Spring Valley High School; Assistant Administrator and Assistant Principal, Ridge View High School.
Ross enjoys working with students and making a positive difference in their lives. He believes, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give. This Emerging Leaders Program will afford me an opportunity to network with a group of like-minded educators to build my capacity as a school leader and further give back to faculty, staff, and students. I am excited to share what I learn with my school community to help elevate students to their next level academically and teachers to their next level in their professional practice.”
Ross has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the UofSC, Master of Education in Counselor Education from South Carolina State University, and Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the UofSC.