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Brenda D. Byrd
Bethel Elementary School
Greenville County Schools
Simpsonville, South Carolina

A strong at-risk student support program; affordable, high-quality after school care; and a reflective, inclusive approach to improving learning and social environments are hallmarks of Principal Brenda D. Byrd’s leadership at Bethel Elementary School. Five years ago, Byrd implemented an intensive RTI program for at-risk kindergarten students, and due to its success, expanded it to first and second grades. Students in the RTI program are provided thirty minutes of daily reading intervention and progress monitoring every ten days. Under-performing students in grades three through five attend a Breakfast Club with computer-assisted instruction, and for those needing additional support, Byrd and her administrative team act as coaches. Since the RTI program’s inception, the school has been able to greatly reduce the number of students qualifying for Special Education, and some have gone on to qualify for the GATE program. To support parents, Byrd implemented an extended day program with snacks, homework assistance, recreation, technology, services, and arts at a weekly fee of $40 per child. Byrd keeps a finger on the pulse of the school’s effectiveness through ongoing student, staff, and parent surveys; 2012 results showed satisfaction by all stakeholders at 95 percent and above in areas of instruction, physical environment, and morale. In 2010-2011, Bethel received a Carolina First Palmetto’s Finest Award for which Byrd credits the hard work and dedication of staff, students, volunteers, and the community. Byrd holds a B.A. in Elementary Education, and an M.Ed. in Administration from Clemson University.