New partnership forms to rejuvenate teachers and students

By Chris Copeland

people walking in a waterfall

More than 6,800 teachers in South Carolina will not return to schools where they taught last year; and one-third of new teachers leave the profession within three years. A new partnership seeks to change these statistics and set a national standard for education.

The Cliffs Communities and its foundations are donating $10 million and more than 355 acres of land in the Jocassee Gorges area to support development of a Teacher Renewal Center that will be jointly operated by Clemson’s Youth Learning Institute and the S.C. Department of Education.

“We are honored to be a part of a project that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of teachers and children in South Carolina,” said Jim Anthony, founder and chief executive officer of The Cliffs.

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said, “The scope of this takes your breath away. It’s such an amazing show of support for our children, for our schools and for our state. Now we have to honor Mr. Anthony’s support by building something that will become the gold standard for the whole nation.”

The center will include residential and conference facilities where teams of teachers can attend weeklong programs to enhance collaborative inquiry and continuous improvement in schools, and to heighten awareness of personal health and wellness. It also will incorporate experiential learning programs for students while teachers participate in seminars.

“Our goal is nothing less than creating the nation’s premier teacher center and developing a national model for nature-based education programs,” said Clemson President James Barker.

“This partnership allows the Youth Learning Institute to expand our programs for youth and educators into new areas,” said Jorge Calzadilla, executive director. “We are humbled to be the stewards of a gift that will impact education for generations to come.”

For information: Stephen Lance, 803-414-1735,