About Us

Early Learning Partnership

The Early Learning Partnership of York County (ELP) was established in 1998 as a United Way initiative called Success By 6. South Carolina ranked 48th in overall child well-being and like many children in our state, York County’s children entered school unprepared to learn. Our children lacked an environment necessary to promote healthy development and basic foundational skills for learning and the potential for a successful academic career. Literacy programs such as Born to Read, Reach Out and Read and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library were established. Four Family Resource Centers were created in 2002 to serve children within each of the four York County school districts (Clover, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and York). Beginning in the fall of 2003, a Free Medical Clinic for uninsured children began opening in these centers and operating on a daily rotating schedule. The United Way and Success By 6 decided that the programs now administered by ELP would be better managed by an independent corporation with its own board and decision making authority. To that end, ELP was spun off with its own nonprofit status in 2005.

ELP has a staff of one full-time Executive Director, one part-time Program Coordinator, one Winthrop student intern, and a Board of Directors with approximately 20 members which represent the geographic areas of all four school districts in York County. In July 2015, ELP transferred the fiscal and managerial duties of the Free Medical Clinic over to Affinity Health Center through a two-year collaborative effort. In 2015, ELP worked through the strategic planning process to better define our identity, branding, and work in York County.

Our Board of Directors

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Executive Committee

Julie NeeleyPresident, Grant Consultant, Clover
Elizabeth OwenVice President, Attorney, Morton & Gettys, York
Ouida DestPast President, Deputy Solicitor, York County Solicitor’s Office, Fort Mill
Marie SpearmanTreasurer, C.P.A., Bernard N. Ackerman, C.P.A. P.A., Clover
Debra Hess, Secretary, Supply & Inventory Planning, Springs Creative Products Group, Rock Hill

Board Members

Sherri CiurlikSchool Board Member, Clover
Marshall ClarkeMarketing Leader, Wells Fargo, Rock Hill
Alice Williams DavisWilliams & Fudge, Foundation & Community Support, Rock Hill
Kay DeWalt Early Childhood Teacher, Riverview Elementary School, Fort Mill
Sylvia EcholsCommunity Volunteer, Rock Hill
Nicki ElkinsCounselor, The Palmetto School at the Children’s Attention Home, Rock Hill
Dr. Tom FaulkenberryVice President, Retired Dean, Graduate Studies, Converse College, York
Wes Hayes, Attorney, Wes Hayes Law Firm, Rock Hill
Brittany KellyInterior Designer, Copper Dwelling & Design, Rock Hill
Carol LovelaceRetired Educator- ESOL, York
Gene MartinCommunity Volunteer-Duke Energy Retiree, York
Susan MiskellyIntegrated Marketing Specialist, Comporium, Rock Hill
Susanne OkeyRetired, College of Education, Winthrop University, Rock Hill
Jody RankinRock Hill Educator, Rock Hill
Ivan RebolloEngineer, EW Process, Fort Mill
Mary WatsonRetired Educator, Macfeat Laboratory School, Winthrop University, Rock Hill


* Board Members reside in York County, South Carolina, and are representative of one of each of the four school districts within York County.

Ex Officio Board Members

Will CloseConsultant, The Springs Close Foundation
David LiskExecutive Director, York County First Steps
Laura MahonyRetired Social Worker and First Lady of Winthrop University
Jim Vining, Chair, Rock Hill School Board

Rotating Board Members

Rotating Superintendent (2 year term):
Dr. Kelly Pew, Rock Hill District 3

Rotating Resource Center Coordinators:
Jane Culp, LEAP Family Literacy Program, Fort Mill School District 4
Nina Feemster, Bright Beginnings Family Literacy Program, Clover School District 2
Cindy Hunt, ParentSmart Family Literacy Program, Rock Hill School District 3
Penny Sanders, Parenting Partnerships Family Literacy Program, York School District 1

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