CONTACT US

PHONE:

803.200.1910 (SC Office)

518.212.7202 (NY Office)

 

FAX:

803.936.0149 (SC Office)

347.578.8810 (NY Office)

 

EMAIL:

info@southernscholars.org

ADDRESSES

The Dr. Doretha Pressey Southern Scholars Initiative, Inc.

SC Office:

1304 Sunset Blvd, Suite 1084
West Columbia, SC  29169

NY Office:

PO Box 298

New Lebanon, NY 12125

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Dr. Thelma F. Sojourner

Dr. Thelma F. Sojourner is a 1971 graduate of Voorhees College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.  She was inducted into Alpha Chi Honor Society and, during her senior year, she was one of five students selected to participate in the Student Teacher Exchange Program which partnered with the University of Rochester, NY, to sponsor student teachers in the public schools of East Irondequoit, NY.  Upon graduation, Dr. Sojourner taught public school in the city of Denmark for 19 years.  She worked steadily to transform lives of the thousands of students she taught and was recognized as Teacher of the Year for Denmark-Olar Elementary School.  This was accomplished by providing diverse excellent strategies, leadership and advocacy to meet the needs and interest of students and co-workers.  She also helped to write curricula for the school and district and was always known to work long hours beyond the regular school day.  She served as school coordinator for the Title I program and the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) Program.  She earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at South Carolina State University where she was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa.

 

Dr. Sojourner was elected as president of the Edisto Reading Council and partnered with members to encourage students to become avid readers.  She taught reading and mathematics at Denmark-Olar Elementary School and tutored students during after school sessions at the elementary school,  Voorhees College and in the community centers.  She led, developed, coordinated and implemented training for students and colleagues to aid in student achievement and retention of skills taught.  She served on school and district lead teams with several teachers and superintendents.  She has served as a Girl Scots leader and student mentor.  She also served as coordinator for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Denmark and on the board for the United Way.  She has taught Sunday school and Bible studies for more than 20 years.  She is a certified Lay Speaker with Franklin United Methodist Church where she serves as president of the usher board.  Keeping pace with the dynamically changing needs and demographics of the school district and community, she has served as a guide on continuous and consistent levels to create an innovative vision for others.  She also worked to support several student teachers in their quest for excellence in becoming classroom teachers in the public schools.

 

In the fall of 1990 Dr. Sojourner accepted the position of Director of Curriculum and Federal Program for Denmark-Olar Schools, a position of magnitude and demands that spanned multiple levels of decision-making and accountability.  She held this position until the fall of 2000.  She then accepted the position of principal of Denmark-Olar Elementary School where she completed four successful years providing quality academic leadership for the students, faculty and staff.

 

During the fall of 2004, Dr. Sojourner earned a doctorate in Educational Administration from South Carolina State University.  Upon completion of that program, Dr. Sojourner was selected to serve as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the district as well as federal programs.  The ability to manage multiple tasks and programs provided her the opportunity to adhere to sound organizational development and responsibilities, the breadth of which encouraged accepting and managing challenges on many levels.  In June 2011, Dr. Sojourner accepted the position of Interim Superintendent of Bamberg School District Two and, in September 2011, she was named the district’s Superintendent.

 

With full diligence and conscientious devotion and effort, she has led the district to secure a $38 million bond referendum to build a Pre-K through 5th grade school and renovate the current middle and high schools.  The vision, enthusiasm and modeling have been articulated to the community, faculty and staff that the success of a district is attainable with an inclusive team and concerted efforts.

 

Dr. Sojourner is a firm believer that students can learn and that academic achievement, positive employee support, commitment and engagement only lead to long-term confidence and maintenance of success.  In the midst of budget cuts, state testing, reduction of funded programs, and changes in policies, she feels that the education of students is far too important to overlook.  She firmly believes that the blue print for success must be developed through an inclusive team process.  Dr. Sojourner believes that the future lies in the abilities of the students who will make major decisions for preparing for the world and we, as educators, must do all we can to enable them to compete globally.

 

As an educator and administrator, Dr. Sojourner has been actively engaged in several organizations that improve lives and spark innovation.  She is a member of SC Education Association of School Administrators; SC Alliance for Black Educators; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Salkehatchie Consortium for School Administrators; Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.; SC Notary Association; and Franklin United Methodist Church.  She is very actively involved in community service and does public speaking.  She has been rewarded and recognized for the following:

 

  • Outstanding Young Woman of the Year, 1976

  • Service on the Second Judicial Circuit, 1998

  • Omega Psi Phi Citizen of the Year

  • Woman of the Year, Franklin United Methodist Church, 2007

  • Teacher of the Year, Denmark-Olar Elementary School, 1977

  • Elizabeth Evelyn Wright Woman in History Honoree, 2015

  • Presidential Award for Outstanding Community Support, Denmark Technical College, 2018

  • Ninth Annual Caring Hearts Founders Award, SEKOTs Foundation, 2017

  • Distinguished Citizen of the Year, Alpha Kappa Alpha, 2019

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Outstanding Education Supporter, 2018

  • Completed the Center for Creative Leadership, 2001

  • Completed the School Leadership Executive Institute, 2003

 

Dr. Sojourner is an avid reader and she enjoys working to stimulate and strengthen community growth.  She is married to James W. Sojourner and is the mother of three children and three grandchildren.