Spartanburg First Steps/Quality Counts is one of three South Carolina initiatives being recognized for its effectiveness in improving student outcomes in public schools. It has been named a finalist for the 2020 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute.

The WhatWorksSC Award, now in its 10th year, highlights outstanding evidence-based educational initiatives throughout South Carolina. The award ceremony, one of the biggest celebrations of public education in the state, will take place virtually on October 6. The winner will be announced by former U.S. Secretary of Education and S.C. Governor Richard W. Riley.

Spartanburg First Steps/Quality Counts, the Alternative Pathways to Educator Certification Program, and the Monaview MAGIC Initiative were selected as finalists from a large pool of entries based on effectiveness as evidenced by their research, resource allocation, and sustainability by a committee of corporate leaders and education experts.

Spartanburg First Steps/Quality Counts creates high-quality learning environments and promotes best practices for teachers that help prepare students for success in school and life. By providing targeted professional development, mentorship and coaching, and nationally recognized assessments, the program lays the foundation for continuous improvement.

The winner will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize, and the two finalists will receive $1,000 each. All will become members of the Riley Institute’s WhatWorksSC Clearinghouse, an online resource that collects and shares key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools, and will be featured on South Carolina ETV’s, which compiles thousands of media resources for teachers and students from pre-K through 12th grade.

The live Zoom event will take place on Tuesday, October 6 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend this celebration of demonstrated excellence in South Carolina public education. Register by visiting

For more information about WhatWorksSC, contact Riley Institute Marketing and Communications Manager Katie Quine at 864.294.3368 or email

For more information about Spartanburg First Steps/Quality Counts, contact Barbara Manoski, Executive Director at 864.327.4914 or email .


About the Riley Institute at Furman University
Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute broadens student and community perspectives about issues critical to South Carolina’s progress. It builds and engages present and future leaders, creates and shares data-supported information about the state’s core challenges, and links the leadership body to sustainable solutions. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at