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Dr. O'Malley Named 2022 SCAEA Outstanding Administrator of the Year

For the second time this school year, Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley has received a statewide award for his support of the arts. On November 19, O’Malley was presented the 2022 Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award by the South Carolina Art Education Association (SCAEA) during their annual meeting in Greenville. O’Malley is the first superintendent to win the award in the 41-year history of the SCAEA awards.

“Art teachers make such a unique impact on students,” Superintendent O’Malley said. “I’m proud of the investments we have made, not only in supplies and equipment but also in our people. I appreciate the South Carolina Art Education Association and their recognition of the first-class work we’re doing in Florence 1 to provide world-class experiences for our students. I also appreciate them recognizing what is being done to support our staff who work in the arts.”


According to the SCAEA, the award is given to someone who demonstrates "consistent support and commitment both philosophically and financially to art programs at their school." The state chapter of the National Art Education Association, SCAEA represents “art educators and administrators, college and university professors, preservice students studying art education, researchers and scholars, museum educators and teaching artists.” 


Lauren Greenway, art teacher at Lucy T. Davis, said that the award is well deserved.


“Dr. O'Malley's leadership and support for the arts has been instrumental in providing students in Florence 1 opportunities to explore and nurture their love of the arts,” Greenway said. “It is great to know that visual arts teachers, like myself, have support and a leader who has the desire to see the arts prosper in our community.”

Dr. Erick Figueras, F1S Director of Arts and Innovative Programs, said that the visual arts programs across the district have seen a renaissance under the leadership of Dr. O’Malley.


“Last year, a record 44 Florence One students were selected to present artwork at ArtFields Jr.,” Figueras said. “Dr. O’Malley has allocated millions of dollars in district funds over the past four years for the arts for things like quality instruments but also visual art supplies and equipment. Many millions more have been spent across the numerous building and renovation projects that have included new visual arts classrooms. He has made funds available for meaningful arts professional development which has allowed our arts teachers to attend conferences and travel to extraordinary arts schools in other areas for inspiration such as the Governor's School and Fine Arts Center.” 


Figueras, who nominated O’Malley for this award, also said that the arts have blossomed at Brockington Elementary School after district consolidation.


“Prior to the merger, Brockington employed no certified arts teachers,” Figueras said. “Now, Brockington employs full-time, certified teachers in a variety of arts, including visual arts. The school is equipped with a visual art room with a kiln and years of varied supplies; a digital art room with 24 iMacs and a 3D printer. Brockington, the district’s elementary Arts Magnet School, is also working to become an Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) school.” 


Murriel Calcutt, an MYP and IB Visual Arts Instructor at Wilson High School, said that the arts are a vital part of education and she appreciates the support Dr. O’Malley has shown for them.


"It is my belief that a rigorous fine arts program strengthens the academic success of students across the curriculum and empowers their learning,” Calcutt said. “I applaud Dr. O'Malley's efforts to support the fine arts programs throughout our district and congratulate him on this greatly deserved recognition."


South Florence Principal Shand Josey said that the arts have transformed in her school.


“Dr. O’Malley is a constant supporter of the arts and is committed to providing outstanding arts programs and facilities for all Florence One students,” Josey said. “Under his leadership, the Florence One Center for the Arts at South Florence has undergone a total renovation of our visual arts spaces. Our students now have a dedicated ceramics lab, a digital media design studio, a painting and drawing studio and a photography studio. Each space is equipped with new equipment, materials, and design elements that allow our students to explore their artistic interests and fully develop their talents. Dr. O’Malley recognizes the importance of integration of the arts into the curriculum and our students are the beneficiaries.  His innovative vision and dedication to excellence in the arts have paved the way for our program to become a premier arts program in South Carolina.”