Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Nella Gray Barkley, Chair
Crystal-Barkley Corporation    

Chris Verenes, Treasurer
Security Federal Bank                                                             

Susan Heath, Secretary
SC Bishops Public Education Initiative                                

Jim Rex
Former South Carolina Superintendent of Education

Ken Childs

David Cote
Assistant Vice President
BlueCross BlueShield SC

Theodore DuBose
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA

Karla Hawkins
Deputy Superintendent
SC Department of Education

Jon E. Pedersen
Dean, College of Education
University of South Carolina

Scott Price
Executive Director
SC School Boards Association

Jim Stritzinger
Executive Director
Connect South Carolina

Patrick M. White
Supply Chain/Vice President


Jennifer Wise
SC Teacher of the Year, Richland One  

Steve Wilson
Superintendent of the Year, Calhoun County


Caroline Mauldin
Executive Director    

Caroline is a lifelong advocate for equity and social justice with over a decade of experience in public policy, communications, and social enterprise.

From 2009-2012, Caroline served as special assistant and speechwriter at the U.S. Department of State, where she led interagency work on financial inclusion and helped launch the Open Government Partnership. Previously, Caroline worked for leading social impact organizations including the Omidyar Network, Oxfam America, the Carter Center, and Accion International, where she helped launch the Center for Financial Inclusion.

Originally from South Carolina, Caroline holds a MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, a MPA from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was a Zuckerman Fellow with the Center for Public Leadership, and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. She is fluent in Spanish and a fellow with the Truman National Security Project. In Charleston, Caroline is a Reading Partners tutor at Burns Elementary and serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina, Loving America Street, and Charleston Legal Access.

Debbie Jones  
Assistant Director  

Debbie has always been very interested in the continued improvement of all aspects of public education in our state. Her three children having all attended public school fueled that desire even further. Debbie took the opportunity to volunteer at all levels of the public school system and was provided a firsthand view of public education. She is a “how can we improve” person and has a deep passion for education reform and excellence in education for our children.  She used her degree in Marketing from Meredith College to lead school fundraising efforts and to help promote the “good news stories”.  Debbie has served in various leadership roles within local and state parent organizations as well as volunteered at The School Foundation, one of the top local education foundations in the state. Debbie provides support to our Executive Director and is thrilled and motivated to have the opportunity to help improve our public education system in South Carolina.

Ian Shannon, Policy Fellow: Ian is a senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in Finance and Supply Chain Management. He has interned for two Fortune 50 companies and has held the position of Student Body Treasurer for the University of South Carolina. Ian found his passion for public education through his time as a student of James L. Mann High School in Greenville County as well as studying abroad in Chile. He is “excited to aid the process of improving South Carolina’s public education system.”

Sarah Quackenbush, Media & Outreach Intern: Sarah is a recent graduate of Brevard College. She holds a BA in Music and is currently getting a certificate in Audio Engineering from the Midlands Audio Institute. She has a passion for people as well, which what has drawn her to nonprofit work. She is “excited for the opportunity to have an impact on public education in our state.”

Louise Ray, Program Intern: Louise graduated from the College of Charleston with a BS in Early Childhood Education. She is a certified teacher and full time graduate student at the Citadel Graduate College. She will graduate in May with a Masters in Education with a concentration in Literacy Education. She is “thrilled to be part of the SC Future Minds team and hopes to learn from this great experience!”

Kate Reid, Communications Intern: Kate is a freshman at the University of South Carolina studying International Business and Finance. She developed her passion for media outreach while serving as the Social Media Liaison for the Mentoring Program at her former high school in Virginia. Her sister’s career as a high school biology teacher sparked Kate’s interest in the public education system. She is “eager to support and celebrate public education in South Carolina.”