Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina

Alliance Staff

Kevin S. Mason
Executive Director

Kevin brings a vision of building positive school choices through quality charter schools across South Carolina to the Alliance. Through engagement, building awareness, understanding, and support, he’s confident charter schools can meet the needs of their communities by providing families with public school options. Before taking the role as Executive Director, Kevin provided support as the Director of Communication & Engagement. Since 2017, Kevin has been an active member of the Alliance, volunteering and helping to fulfill his passion for educational options.

Previously, Kevin worked at a K-12 charter school as the Director of Communication. His responsibilities included internal and external communication, public relations, media relations, marketing, brand awareness, campaigns, and content management for the website and social media accounts. He started his career as a journalist working as a TV news producer for local television stations in Upstate, South Carolina, and Piedmont, North Carolina.

Kevin is a graduate of Winthrop University, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He is a native of Spartanburg, where he currently lives with his wife and daughter.

Laura Blackmore
Director of School Development

Laura has been in the South Carolina charter school movement, in one capacity or another, since 2003. Before officially joining the PCSASC team, she worked closely with the organization over the years to ensure that South Carolina’s children have had the choice of good, quality schools by providing application writing and editing, interim administrator services, and training. Laura believes that ALL families should have an educational choice for their children.

Over the last 19 years, Laura has seen many positive changes in the SC charter school movement, which has led to the overall quality and improvement of its schools. These changes include adding the SC Public Charter School District, one of the only states in the country where such a district exists, and the addition of multiple higher education authorizers. Laura brings a vision of partnering with all authorizers so that quality educational choices for all families through high-performing charter schools remain a priority for South Carolina.

Most recently, Laura was on the administrative team of a Lowcountry charter school, where her key responsibilities included daily operations, teacher effectiveness, data-driven decision-making, professional development, student discipline and well-being, and charter fidelity. Additionally, Laura was tasked with leading the Cognia/SACS accreditation team. When this lengthy process concluded, the school was awarded this highly regarded accreditation. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the faculty, staff, and administration named Laura the school’s Employee of the Year.

Originally from Florida, Laura first came to and fell in love with South Carolina in 1985 when she attended Winthrop University on a full athletic scholarship. She received her Masters in Education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where she became a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, much to her family’s chagrin. Laura returned to South Carolina and began her educational career working with children and adolescents with behavioral and mental health challenges. She completely revised and improved educational departments in two different residential programs, eventually and directly leading to her entry into the charter school movement, where she created a charter school that addressed the needs of these challenging students.

In 2006, Laura was recognized as the Public Charter School Administrator of the Year for her outstanding leadership and for her work in developing “value-added” assessments to determine the long-term effectiveness of producing a quality education for special needs students at the charter school. In this regard, her work directly affected policy changes at the U.S. Department of Education and the No Child Left Behind Act.

For the last couple of years, Laura has resided in Charleston. She has recently returned to the Upstate and Greenville, which she has called home for nearly 25 years. She lives with her family and her dachshund-pit mix, B. Rod Tidwell.

Melissa DeWalk
Director of Operations

Melissa is a devoted educator and enthusiastic advocate for student success. She is originally from Upstate South Carolina. Melissa left a lasting impact on student’s lives as a lead teacher, interventionist, and administrator in a charter school since 2008. Throughout her extensive experience in the charter school community, she has sharpened her expertise in fostering engagement, enhancing organizational systems, and delivering effective training. She eagerly anticipates utilizing these skills to benefit the Public Charter School Alliance and its member schools throughout the state.

 

Currently residing on James Island in the Charleston area, Melissa and her husband, Rick, are parents to three boys: Gabriel, Christian, and Jeremiah. This spring, they joyfully welcomed a new daughter-in-law, Abigail, into their family. During her free time, Melissa finds enjoyment in being a dedicated soccer mom, participating in Crossfit, and riding four-wheelers on their family land.

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