Board and Staff

Board of Directors   


David Cote,  Chair 
Vice President Human Resources
BlueCross BlueShield SC

Chris Verenes, Chair Emeritus
Security Federal Bank

Patrick M. White, Treasurer
Vice President, Supply Chain

Audrey Lane, Secretary
Founder and Principal Consultant for Lane Equity Enterprises
Executive Director Royal Foundation                                                                          

Katelyn Brewer
President & CEO
Darkness to Light

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

Spann Laffitte
Vice President of Sales and Account Management
Delta Dental SC

Jim Stritzinger
Center for Applied Innovation and Advanced Analytics
USC Office of Economic Engagement

Ken Reynolds
Director of Corporate and Community Affairs

Christopher Jaros
K&L Gates

Jeff Maxey
SC Teacher of the Year, Anderson School District 3   

Harrison Goodwin
SC Superintendent of the Year, Chesterfield 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.

Prior to returning to her native South Carolina, 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.

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 Riley Institute at Furman University as well as the Truman National Security Project in Washington, DC.

In Charleston, Caroline is a Reading Partners tutor at Mary Ford Elementary and serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina, the SC Arts Alliance, and Charleston Legal Access. She also sits on the Steering Committee of TransformSC, the SC Coalition for Math & Science, and the Community Impact Committee of Trident United Way.  In 2018, she was named to Charleston Regional Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” and Columbia Regional Business Journal’s “Thirty-Five Under 35.”

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.


Morgan Roberts
Digital Media Intern

Morgan Roberts is a Capstone Scholar at the University of South Carolina majoring in public relations and minoring in Spanish. Last fall she worked as an intern for the Palmetto Health Foundation assisting executive event planners for Palmetto Health’s Cancer Center and Children’s Cancer Center. While dedicating more than 20 hours per week to her internship and taking a full course load, Roberts continued to earn a place on the dean’s list. Additionally, she is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, a Spanish honors fraternity, and a member of PRSSA, a collegiate public relations society. Roberts has a passion for helping others and volunteering, putting in more than 50 hours of volunteer work each year. She also has a love for travel and has been to 20 countries around the world, most recently by continuing her studies for a semester in Galway, Ireland. Roberts is expected to graduate in 2019.

Sareen Handoush
Policy Fellow

Sareen Handoush is a senior Public Health, with a minor in Business Administration at the University of South Carolina. She is from Jacksonville, Florida and is graduating this December. She hopes to pursue a career in health policy and Corporate Social Responsibility, with a focus on global health and nutrition. Her previous experiences including interning with Save the Children in Washington DC and conducting nutrition research in Guatemala.