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Erskine establishes Charter Institute

Erskine President Dr. Robert Gustafson has announced the creation of the Charter Institute at Erskine, an initiative approved by the Erskine College Board of Trustees, which will enable Erskine to begin sponsoring South Carolina charter schools.

Wayne Brazell, former superintendent of the South Carolina Public Charter School District and former South Carolina Association of School Administrators District Administrator of the Year, is assisting Erskine during the Institute’s startup phase. Cameron Runyan, a former financial professional who recently completed a term on the City Council of Columbia, S.C., and has experience in the preparation of charter school applications, is serving as interim director.

Runyan cited several factors contributing to Erskine’s decision to establish the Charter Institute, including “a commitment to sponsoring quality educational opportunities for some our most disadvantaged rural communities across South Carolina” as well as the “background, education, and understanding of K-12 education” of recently appointed president Dr. Robert Gustafson, who served for 15 years as head of school at the Stony Brook School in New York.

Gustafson commented on the approval and encouragement the Erskine administration has received from the Board of Trustees to move forward with the Charter Institute at Erskine. “I think the Board of Trustees appreciates the idea of helping South Carolina students gain broader options for elementary and secondary schooling,” he said.

“The Charter Institute at Erskine gives us an opportunity to offer a service to the state that provides for these options. Our oversight will help to assure that these schools operate excellent and productive programs.”

Erskine registered as a sponsor under South Carolina’s Charter School Act in late May and updated its registration in July.

Gustafson has appointed a Charter Institute Board, which will oversee the formation of the Institute and begin reviewing transfer applications for the 2018-19 school year. The board will also begin preparing for new charter school applications.

Two virtual charter schools currently under the sponsorship of the South Carolina Public Charter School District approached Erskine with transfer requests, hoping to engage Erskine as sponsor, Runyan said.

“After several meetings and due diligence, the Institute believes these schools’ efforts to provide high-quality education to our state fit well with the mission of Erskine.”

The deadline for existing charter schools to request consideration for transfer is Sept. 1, 2017, and the deadline for new charter school applicants to submit a Letter of Intent to apply for opening a new charter school in 2019 is Nov. 1, 2017.

More information is available at


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