© 2017 SDA is an initiative supported by Hispanic Alliance of SC

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James Campbell

James Campbell is a Spanish teacher and the Student DREAMers Alliance (SDA) facilitator at Carolina High Academy, whose low-key style and dry sense of humor make him a trusted confidant for his students, many of whom are first-generation Hispanic immigrants to the US. When these students began to express frustration and hopelessness regarding the barriers they faced to higher education, Mr. Campbell became a champion for the SDA pilot. All senior Student DREAMers under his wing during this year graduated at the top of their class, and went on to higher education. His critical contributions to the implementation of SDA earned him the "Amigo Award" at the Hispanic Alliance La Fiesta Gala in 2017.  Mr. Campbell continues his steadfast personal devotion to the success of his students as part of year two of SDA.

Hon. Neal A. Collins

Neal Collins is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 5th District (Easley), serving since 2014. He is a current member of the committees for Education and Public Works and Legislative Oversight. 

 

Collins is a graduate of Furman University and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a private-practice attorney admitted to both the North Carolina and South Carolina bars. He was honored as the 2016 SC Public Health Association Douglas E. Bryant Legislator of the Year.

Dr. Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter

Dr. Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter is the Vice President of Initiatives and Public Policy for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina where she helps families in South Carolina escape poverty through action, advocacy and leadership. She plans and manages the Foundation’s organizational mission and strategy, and ensures community engagement and influence by leading the Foundation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives statewide. She directs two Statewide Initiatives with Sisters of Charity – the Immigrant Families Initiative and the Kinship Care Initiative.

Dr. Cooper-Lewter eraned her Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work from the University of South Carolina as a Council on Social Work Minority Clinical Fellow. She graduated from the Spring Midlands Diversity Leaders Initiative through the Riley Institute at Furman University in 2015. She is a current Riley Fellow.

Michael Delaney

More than 14 years ago, Michael Delaney began his work at Carolina High Academy as a math teacher. Now serving as a dynamic and respected principal, he has worked tirelessly to match the attitude of his students to the spirit espoused in their school motto: “Whatever It Takes!” He has aggressively pursued services and opportunities for his students, many of whom face obstacles unknown to those outside their community. Hispanic students who feel particularly ostracized in the wider world have a safe haven under his protection. They benefit from the relationships he has formed with non-profits and services dedicated to their wellbeing, which are openly welcomed to the school. He is also one of the rare education administrators in Greenville County Schools who is well versed in the complex challenges of DACA students. In 2014, his achievements and dedication were recognized when he was named “Hero Next Door” by Greenville Forward. He is a compassionate and experienced ally for the cause of equal access to education in South Carolina.

Hon. John Cannon Few

Judge Few was elected as a Justice to the Supreme Court of South Carolina in February 2016. He graduated from Duke in 1985 with an A.B. Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Economics, then attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he was a member of The Order of Wig and Robe and The Order of the Coif. He received his Juris Doctor degree in 1988.

Judge Few is a Fellow in Liberty Fellowship, and as a part of Liberty Fellowship is a member of the moderator corps at The Aspen Institute. 

Joy Grayson

Joy is a passionate advocate for education opportunity and equity for all of South Carolina’s children. 

 

She is the recipient of the National PTA “Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year” award and former Vice President of Advocacy for South Carolina PTA. In this role, she led the adoption of an annual SC PTA legislative platform; organized and moderated annual state legislative conferences. She also worked with other educational associations to develop a Collaborative K-12 Public Education Policy platform for South Carolina.

Neil E. Grayson

Neil Grayson is a partner with Nelson Mullins and serves as the head of the Firm's Financial Institutions Practice Group.  He is also involved with a number of education-related initiatives.  Mr. Grayson served on the board of directors of Public Education Partners from 2009 through 2017, including a term as board chair, and has served on the board of directors of the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation since 2010.  His undergraduate is from Wofford with a double major in Accounting and Economics, cum laude. 

Adela Mendoza

It is rare to find a dynamic and accomplished leader who has the strategic acumen to match her deep compassion for people. Adela gracefully merges a keen business sense with the bravery to pilot initiatives that are desperately needed in the immigrant community. A native of Veracruz, Mexico, she was deeply concerned when a large immigration raid in 2008 left the Hispanic Community of Greenville in crisis. This experience and her ability to build and sustain coalitions led her to her natural role as Executive Director of the Hispanic Alliance. Adela is a Liberty Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Furman University’s Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Institute. These prestigious fellowships have informed her model and vision for the Student DREAMers Alliance (SDA).  Unique in South Carolina, SDA was piloted with the goal of equipping Hispanic students with the skills to advocate for themselves and the needs of their community. This fledgling group was so successful in their first year advocating for equal access to higher education, that their efforts led directly to the SC Dreamers initiative.

Mike Noel

Mike Noel, principal of Berea High School, leads a community at the front lines of dramatic changes in the Upstate. The vast influx of Hispanic immigrants to the Greenville area has continued to concentrate in Berea, requiring sensitive and strong leadership to keep the diverse student body unified and on track to succeed. During Noel’s tenure, Berea High School was honored with a Bronze Medal by US News and World Reports top schools listing, made the top 500 High Schools in Newsweek, and three straight years of the Palmetto Silver award for closing the gap in educational achievements. Mr. Noel has fostered a school environment where community resources may move freely and provide much needed support to the Hispanic students.

Ali Noorani

Ali Noorani is the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration. Prior to joining the Forum, Noorani was Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and has served in leadership roles within public health and environmental organizations. In 2015, Noorani was named a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ansel Sanders

With a doctorate in education leadership from Harvard University, Mr. Sanders is uniquely poised to see the potential in large educational systems and build capacity quickly. Greenville is fortunate, indeed, that he has put the full force of his passion and intellect into bringing out the best in our youngest residents through education. Sanders was instrumental in putting the vision for A.J. Whittenburg Elementary School of Engineering into practice, and its success led him to be named as the lead planner for the Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School. Mr. Sanders now proudly serves as the President and CEO of Public Education Partners (PEP), a non-profit dedicated to creating a world where all students have the resources they needed to achieve their full potential. His leadership at PEP is directed towards making public education in Greenville County contemporary, progressive, and forward thinking - a model not only in South Carolina, but for the nation.

John Simpkins

John Simpkins is a Visiting Senior Lecturer with the Duke University School of Law. A South Carolina native and Liberty Fellow, Simpkins grew up in Lexington and now lives in Washington, D.C. Previously he was Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Diversity Initiatives with the Charleston School of Law.

He has observed and consulted in the constitution-building processes in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda and is a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law. Simpkins co-founded the Center for a Better South and is Senior Associate at the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at Furman University. A political analyst, he has worked with WYFF Channel 4 in Greenville and WCBD Channel 2 in Charleston.

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