South Carolina wins 2024 SREB State Leadership Award
State honored for commitment to professional development and preparing students for success

News SREB News Release

The South Carolina Department of Education is the winner of the Southern Regional Education Board’s 2024 State Leadership Award for creating professional learning experiences for educators and implementing college- and career-readiness strategies. The state received the award July 9 at SREB’s Making Schools Work Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

SREB’s State Leadership Award recognizes states that have established continuous improvement structures and processes to help schools transform school and classroom practices, establish and sustain change, and increase student achievement.  

“South Carolina is creating opportunities for each student to achieve career and college readiness,” said Dale Winkler, SREB senior vice president for school improvement.  

The South Carolina Department of Education has been a member of the SREB Making Schools Work network, formerly known as High Schools That Work, since the 1986-87 school year. South Carolina has made strides in providing educators with high quality professional learning that is engaging, job-embedded and ongoing. Many schools across the state have implemented the Making Schools Work key practices and created a culture of continuous improvement.

The department’s vision is for all students to graduate prepared for success in college, careers and citizenship. The department has ensured that districts have a system of personalized digital learning that supports students in a safe learning environment to meet the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.

Collaborating with SREB over the past couple of years, South Carolina is taking a concentrated look at its career and technical education programs and credentials for career readiness. The state is establishing technical advisory committees for all career clusters, developing a credential library and implementing a tiered credential system.

Additionally, in the past year the state has developed and adopted standards related to artificial intelligence.  The state is developing a four-course sequence in AI for high school students. This work aligns with SREB’s Commission on Artificial Intelligence in Education, chaired by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.

“The work of the South Carolina Department of Education is helping more students achieve their career and life goals,” Winkler said.

SREB’s Making Schools Work Conference is held annually and provides educators with opportunities to participate in professional development, network with colleagues from across the country and build school and district leadership capacity. 

Contact: Janita Poe, SREB News Manager, at or 404-879-5516, ext. 216

The Southern Regional Education Board works with states, districts and schools to improve education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education and the workforce. An interstate compact and a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislators to advance education and improve the