SC-SIC Executive Director
Tom F. Hudson
Tom F. Hudson joined the SC-SIC staff in 2007, bringing a strong and diverse background to School Improvement Councils from a long career in communications, public information, media/constituent relations, and news reporting in the public, private, and education sectors. As SC-SIC Executive Director, Tom serves as a director within the University of South Carolina College of Education’s Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) overseeing the work of SC-SIC, and he provides training, technical assistance, information, and other vital support to local SIC members, educators, and public officials at all levels across the state. He also serves as co-coordinator of the SC Education Policy Fellowship Program (SC-EPFP), a 10-month intensive professional development program for current and emerging leaders in education and related fields.
He has a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement in public education as both a practitioner and a parent, and he has gained specialized expertise with SICs as a district SIC contact, a local SIC vice-chair and member, and as an SC-SIC Board of Trustees member. Tom’s professional work has won awards from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), the SC Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (SC/NSPRA), and the SC Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (SCPRSA). He currently serves as Immediate Past President of SC/NSPRA, and throughout the years, he has presented numerous trainings and workshops at professional conferences on the local, state, and national levels.
In the community, Tom has served with several charitable, civic, and faith-based organizations. He currently holds a federal appointment as a South Carolina Local Board member for the Selective Service System, is a past member of the Beaufort County First Steps Partnership Board, and was Education Committee Chair for the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council. Tom received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Maryville College (TN), is a 2010 Diversity Fellow of the Riley Institute at Furman University, and is a 2012 Education Policy Fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC. He has completed an assortment of professional development opportunities and trainings related to education, public/media relations, quality improvement, organizational leadership, and community mediation.
SC-SIC Digital and Web Director
A graphic and web designer and member of the SC-SIC staff since December 2004, SC-SIC Digital and Web Director Claudia Parnell directs all SC-SIC websites, publications, social media, and technical communications and information. She is the analyst behind the online School Improvement Council membership database, the SC-SIC Member Network, and serves as editor and designer of the SC-SIC newsletter, Council News, a winner of the SC Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association's "Rewards for Excellence" award.
Claudia designs and manages production of all SC-SIC printed and web-based materials, electronic media, social media, and provides direction for short- and long-range planning for SC-SIC technology initiatives. She brings over 30 years of graphic design, art, Professional Development, and technology and communications experience to provide information and resources to SICs across the state.
Claudia holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Studio Art and English from the University of South Carolina and the Certification in Web Design from the University of South Carolina. She engages in Educational and Professional Development on a continuing basis in keeping with the demands of advancing technology and the SC School Improvement Council's growing effectiveness and performance.
SC-SIC Coordinator of Council Services
Karen Utter joined the SC-SIC staff in a part-time capacity in November 2010, becoming SC-SIC’s full-time Coordinator of Council Services in December 2014. She brings a wide range of experience and skills to SC-SIC developed over a career that has included the practice of labor and employment law and teaching numerous trainings and workshops on legal issues for non-lawyers.
As Coordinator of Council Services, Karen assists in the development new materials, resources, website content, and other initiatives designed to assist local SICs with their roles and responsibilities, as well as general organizational capacity building. She also provides technical support in the areas of family and community engagement and school improvement. Karen also oversees SC-SIC’s Engagement for Outcomes program, which provides participating SICs with training and ongoing technical assistance in planning, implementing, and evaluating their work. She also coordinates the Dick and Tunky Riley Award for SIC Excellence program and conducts SIC-related training sessions statewide.
Karen graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan with a BA in Political Science, and earned her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. A 2013 Education Policy Fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC, Karen has also undertaken additional training in mediation, organizational development, and grant writing.
SC-SIC Business Manager
Debra Williams serves as Business Manager to SC School Improvement Council, bringing over 20 years experience in budget and fiscal management to the position. A longtime University of South Carolina staff member, Debra began her USC career in the Department of Biological Services in 1978. In 1996 she accepted the position of Business Manager at the USC Department of Statistics, eventually moving to the College of Education in 2006. In addition to the services she provides to SC-SIC, Debra also serves as Business Manager for the Department of Educational Studies and the Department of Leadership and Policies in the USC College of Education.