Front row – Tracy Parkinson, Nique Knockemus, Kimberly Nelson and Tim Newman.
Back row – Von Crawford, Randy LaCross, Rainey Knight and Gloria Bell.
Not pictured – Reginald Alford
TEACH Foundation Board of Directors
The TEACH Foundation, a not for profit, 501(c) (3) organization serves as the administration arm for the Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence (PULSE) initiatives. The TEACH Foundation was formed in 2011 with the assumption that multiple entities with unique resources can together inspire and improve academic outcomes and personal development of students. The Board of Directors represents a unique collaboration of the private and public sectors. It is comprised of community members and representatives of the four key partners of PULSE.
Dr. Rainey Knight
Dr. Rainey Knight retired as superintendent of the Darlington County School District in 2013. She served as superintendent for 14 years and was responsible for 23 schools serving approximately 11,000 students in grades K-12 in Darlington County. Dr. Knight received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Francis Marion College in 1977 and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of South Carolina in 1980. In 1991, she earned her Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Knight has been a teacher and coach at Cheraw High School; adjunct instructor at the University of South Carolina; worked at the South Carolina State Department of Education in the Office of Research; and served as secondary coordinator, principal, and associate superintendent in the Darlington County School District. She is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Pee Dee Education Center, serves on the board of directors for the Darlington County Free Medical Clinic, Rubicon, Darlington County Economic Partnership and the Darlington County Coordinating Council. She is a member of the Darlington County Education Foundation, Coker College Board of Trustees and a former member of the Board of Trustees at Francis Marion University.
Dr. Knight was named 2013 South Carolina Superintendent of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA).
She resides in Hartsville and has one son, Harris, who attended Hartsville public schools. He is works in the banking industry in Charlotte, NC.
Dr. Tracy Parkinson - Coker College
Dr. Tracy Parkinson serves as Provost at Coker College, a position that brought him to Hartsville in July, 2011. He came to Coker from King College in Bristol, Tenn., where he most recently held the position of associate vice president for Academic Affairs. As a faculty member he taught courses in French, Francophone, Spanish language and literature, as well as courses in language acquisition theory and earned the rank of professor of Languages and Literatures. He was also twice elected a faculty lecturer at King, the highest honor given teaching faculty at the college.
Tracy holds a B.A. from Carson-Newman College, an M.A. in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Tennessee, and Ph.D. in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Tennessee. He also completed studies at the American University of Paris and certificates from Cornell University and the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
He was honored as the 2009 Outstanding Young Alumnus by Carson-Newman College. In 2010-11, he was elected chair of the Deans’ Council of the Appalachian College Association, a consortium of 36 private colleges in five states. He recently completed the year-long Chief Academic Officers’ Institute of the American Council on Education, as well as the Colloquium for CAOs of the Council of Independent Colleges. He has most recently been a guest speaker at Ferrum College, Emory and Henry College, Davis and Elkins College, the Salzburg Global Seminar, and Mars Hill College, where he delivered the 2011 Opening Convocation Address.
Locally, he serves on the board of the Greater Hartsville United Way.
Gloria Bell, Retired, Sonoco
Gloria Bell is the retired staff vice president, Internal Audit at Sonoco Products Company in Hartsville, S.C. She retired with more than 30 years of service with Sonoco, having joined the company in 1978.
A native of McBee, S.C., Bell graduated with a B.S. degree in business administration from Coker College in 1974. After working as a senior accountant with Price Waterhouse, Bell joined Sonoco and held management positions in Company’s general accounting and public reporting function and as director of finance and administration for its Protective Packaging division. Prior to this, she was director of internal audit. She is a Certified Public Accountant.
Bell is active in the Hartsville community, serving on numerous boards and volunteering her time to improve the quality of life for all residents.
Randy LaCross, South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics
Randy LaCross, vice president for Outreach and Research at the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM), is responsible for leading a team of STEM educators in the development of educational experiences for the state's students and teachers. He is also responsible for the oversight of the Summer Program for Research Interns (SPRI). LaCross joined GSSM in 1998, as a curriculum development specialist. In 2000, LaCross became curriculum coordinator in the school's Outreach Center, where he created and directed a middle school outreach program called TEAM GEAR UP, which was a STEM academic component of the South Carolina Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) partnership with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. He and his team of GSSM students conducted inquiry-based Saturday Academy Science workshops for over 2,000 middle school students across the state during the five years of TEAM GEAR UP.
Prior to joining GSSM, LaCross taught high school science in Darlington County, where he was also an assistant varsity football coach and a head girls’ varsity track and field coach. He previously also taught science in Kershaw County and he spent several years at Francis Marion University as a science education instructor. In 2008, Randy was awarded the Lawrence S. Swails Outstanding Alumni Award by the Biology Department at Francis Marion University for the contributions he has made to STEM education.
LaCross earned a BS degree in science and a master's degree in secondary science from Francis Marion University. Additionally, he has completed all the graduate courses in a secondary science education Ph.D. program at University of South Carolina.
LaCross and his wife Pamela R. Flowers, are the proud parents of two sons and two grandsons. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching high school and college football, cooking, playing golf and volunteering in various youth programs.
Yvonne (Von) Crawford, Assistant Principle, Hartsville High School
Yvonne (Von) Crawford is an assistant principal at Hartsville High School where it has been her home for the last 10 years. Previously, she worked at Hartsville Junior High School for three years as an exceptional education teacher. She then transferred to North Hartsville Elementary where she worked for five years as a 5th grade teacher and three years as the curriculum coordinator.
Crawford received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Clemson University, a Masters degree in Remediation from Francis Marion University, and a Masters of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Winthrop University.
She serves on the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, is a member of the Hartsville Rotary Club and will be serving on the Rotary board for the next three years. One of her goals is to inspire more students to get involved in the many events that take place in Hartsville. She has initiated a new Rotary Club for Hartsville High School students called Ready 2 Interact, building a bridge between students and the community.
She resides in Hartsville with her husband and 3 children.
Nique Knockemus, Hartsville YMCA
Nique Knockemus is a native of Mobile, Ala., where she earned a degree in International Business from the University of South Alabama.
Knockemus worked for Barnes and Noble for over six years before moving to Hartsville in 1999 with her husband, Mark. After having children, she chose to be a stay-at-home mom to her twin daughters, Camille and Rebecca. She was active in the PTO and the Carolina Elementary Education Foundation, and served as president of the school's improvement committee. She teaches Sunday school at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Hartsville.
She is the group exercise coordinator and fitness center supervisor at the YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee Hartsville site.
Kimberly Nelson - Darlington Police Department
Kimberly Nelson is a lieutenant with the Darlington Police Department serving as the public information officer. In her role she is a victim’s advocate, community outreach organizer and oversees the school resource officers for Darlington County. She has over 18 years experience with the police department.
Nelson preciously worked for the Darlington County School District as the Safety, Security and Risk Management Technician where she administered safety, security and risk management programs for the district and its schools. She was also a member of the district’s Incident Response Team.
Nelson holds an Associate of Arts in criminal justice from Florence-Darlington Technical College, a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Coker College, a Master of Arts in management and leadership from Webster University and a Criminal Justice Post-Master’s Certificate from Northcentral University.
Reginald Alford, Pastor
Reginald Alford is a native of Hartsville, S.C., and has over 33 years in education. He began his career teaching Electronics and Drafting, while serving as a certified counselor. He spent several years in guidance counseling at the elementary and middle school levels. In addition to teaching, Mr. Alford served as assistant principal at Alternative, Middle and High Schools. He worked with Misters in Action, a mentor program for young high school-age males. He has also served as assistant principal at Hartsville High School.
Alford is involved with numerous activities and community organizations including Rubicon Family Counseling Service, Greater Hartsville Ministerial Alliances, Hartsville Civic Chorale and the Historical Butler Heritage Foundation.
Alford holds an undergraduate degree in Religious Education from Bay Ridge Christian College, a Master's of Education Industrial Technology and Guidance from Prairie View A & M and Administrative Certification from Texas Woman’s University. He is also a licensed minister of the Church of God Presbyterian of South Carolina and is pursuing a Masters of Divinity and Leadership Degree at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
Dr. Tim Newman
Dr. Newman was selected as the Superintendent of the Darlington County School District in March of 2018. Prior to coming to Darlington County, Dr. Newman served as a Superintendent and an Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources/Public Relations in Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four. Previous education roles also include Executive Director of Operations, Maintenance, and Technology Services; a High School Administrator, and a classroom teacher in the School District of Pickens County.
Prior to entering public education, Dr. Newman worked in the retail sector for 17 years. He worked for the Macy’s and Belk store chains as a clothing buyer, as well as owner/CEO of TNT Music; a musical instrument retail chain. Dr. Newman is also an accomplished musician, playing drums professionally for over 40 years in various Country, Rock, and Contemporary Christian bands.
Dr. Newman has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, with a minor in Accounting from Clemson University; a Master’s degree in Economics from Clemson University; a Masters of Education from the University of South Alabama; an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from South Carolina State University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from South Carolina State University.
Dr. Newman has been prominently involved at the state level, serving on technology committees, policy crafting committees, administrator professional development planning; and has served as President of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators Human Resources/Personnel division. Believing in the critical importance of community/business/school partnerships, Dr. Newman took an active role in his former community, more notably serving as Chairman of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, and Chair of the K-16 committee with the Orangeburg One Initiative; which brings together business, faith, public sector, and education leaders to chart future growth and success.
Sharman Poplava was named executive director of the TEACH Foundation, Hartsville, S.C., in Aug. 2011 after serving as president of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce since January 2004.
Poplava has over 25 years of management experience in financial, arts and non-profit organizations. She is a native of Greenville, S.C., where she was assistant manager and loan supervisor at Greenville Federal Credit Union. During this time she also owned and operated Footloose dance studio. Prior to moving to Hartsville, she was box office manager and manager for education, development and outreach at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte, N.C.
Poplava received a BFA from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth Texas, Executive Nonprofit Leadership and Non-Profit Management Certifications from Duke University and is a Certified Grants Specialist. She is a graduate of Leadership Darlington County and a Furman University Riley Institute Diversity Fellow. She is the recipient of the 2015 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Coker College, in recognition of excellence of character and service to others and their communities.
Poplava is the host of Good Morning Hartsville with Sharman Poplava on WHEZ 95.9 FM. She currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Hartsville, Darlington County First Steps and is past president of the Hartsville Rotary Club. She has previously served on the boards of the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center Foundation, , Hartsville Coker-Concert Association and the Darlington County Economic Development Partnership. She is a member of the Hartsville Civic Chorale, Hartsville Chamber Ensemble and active in St. Mary’s Catholic Church.