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School District Five coordinator wins prestigious state award

        For Immediate Release – January 4, 2019

School District Five coordinator wins prestigious state award

IRMO – A Lexington-Richland School District Five district official has earned a statewide award for her work in promoting and advancing programs for academically gifted students.


Tami Richardson, the district’s coordinator of gifted programs and visual and performing arts programs, was awarded The Richard W. Riley Award in December by the South Carolina Consortium for Gifted Education (SCCGE).


“I was quite surprised and very humbled because there are a lot of people that do a lot of great things across our state for gifted students. It was quite an honor,” said Richardson.


The Richard W. Riley Award was named after former South Carolina Governor and Secretary of the Department of Education Richard W. Riley. According to the South Carolina Education Association, Riley was instrumental in leading SC in initiatives to enhance the education of students by enlisting community support, providing a solid financial base, and supporting innovated programs for the schools. Criteria for the award include promoting and demonstrating leadership in specific activities and actions and having an appreciation for diversity.


Richardson, who has been in School District Five since 2005 and has been the president of the SCCGE for the last three years, believes that gifted programs are critical and that every child has the right to learn something new every day.


“I believe we need to stretch ourselves and provide opportunities for our students that push them and grow them which in turn pushes other students around them,” said Richardson. “When we remove that ceiling and push them there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.”


Nearly one third of Lexington-Richland School District Five’s students are state identified as academically gifted students. The school district offers a variety of programs to serve those students including elementary and middle level Academically Gifted Programs; The Escolares Academy at Harbison West Elementary, which serves gifted students second through fifth grade as well as the newly implemented Escolares Academy at Irmo Middle School, which currently serves students in sixth grade, but will expand to 7th and 8th grades in the next two years. The district middle schools offer honors classes whereas AP courses, honors arts classes and IB programs are offered to high school students.


In addition to her work in School District Five, Richardson helped organize professional development opportunities for gifted coordinators across the state and helped start an instructional roundtable at the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. Richardson knows that gifted students have a whole set of unique learning needs and strives to develop each child.


“Gifted students have strengths and weaknesses just like everybody else. They may be strong in math, but weak in English Language Arts. They just have a different set of needs and we have an obligation to meet those needs just like with any other student. We want to give them that thirst for knowledge and that skillset to dig deeper and discover things that aren’t there,” said Richardson.


Lexington-Richland School District Five Chief Instructional Officer Michael Guliano wasn’t surprised Richardson received the award and credits it to her hard work and drive to provide ample opportunities for all students.


“Tami takes a lot of pride in her work and strives to give our gifted students as many opportunities and experiences as she can so they can grow academically and excel beyond the classroom. This award exemplifies her dedication to students both in our district and across our state,” said Guliano.