W. Burke Royster, who has led the Greenville, S.C., school district since 2012, has been chosen as the state’s 2018 Superintendent of the Year.
Royster is also a member of this year’s class of Leaders To Learn From, Education Week’s annual initiative that spotlights the work of stellar district leaders across the country.
Education Week chose Royster for the work he has led to provide early supports and interventions to students mired in poverty so that they will be able to concentrate on learning. He was also lauded for his emphasis on keeping students on track to high school graduation and creating multiple college and career pathways.
The heart of the program focused on students in poverty is On Track Greenville, a multi-agency initiative that began in partnership with the United Way of Greenville County.
Greenville Online reports that Royster’s contract with the district was recently extended through 2020.
“Dr. Royster continues to lead with a keen awareness of what needs to be done, and with a focus on action to improve student engagement and success,” Greenville School Board Chair Crystal Ball O’Connor said in a news release announcing the award. “His knowledge of, and attention to detail in operations, academics, athletics, financial health, and support for personnel sets an outstanding example for our state.”
During Education Week’s visit to Greenville last year, staff and school leaders praised Royster for his vision, for managing a balancing act between giving schools autonomy while providing them with the supports they need, and for building a knowledgeable team.
Royster was a finalist for the 2017 award, which is given by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. In the announcement, the organization also named nearby Spartanburg deputy superintendent Terry Pruitt as the outstanding District Level Administrator of the Year.
Royster is now up for consideration for the national 2018 Superintendent of the Year award, which is handed out by the AASA, the School Superintendents Association. That announcement is usually made at the AASA’s winter conference.
Photo: Abbi O’Leary for Education Week
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.