School Executive to Lead Early Childhood, Education Work Across South Carolina
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 11, 2018) – Save the Children, which has been helping ensure South Carolina children are ready for kindergarten and read at grade level since 2003, announced the appointment of Sonia Gass as its South Carolina State Director. The Orangeburg resident will lead the nonprofit organization’s team of 70 South Carolina staff and school community partners, who are focused on implementing Save the Children’s evidence-based early learning and school-age programs in five of the state’s counties and serving more than 5,000 children.
“I am excited to join Save the Children as the new South Carolina State Director,” said Sonia Gass. “Save the Children works tirelessly to ensure that every child has a future that begins in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment. I look forward to growing our programs and partnerships to make sure more children are successful in school and life.”
Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success program helps babies and young children in low-income families across the state build a foundation of language and early literacy skills, while supporting their social and emotional development and equipping their parents with the knowledge and skills to be their first and best teachers. In addition, the nonprofit’s school age programs provide struggling readers in kindergarten through sixth grade the opportunity to grow as readers and catchup with their peers, while offering homework support and engaging activities that combine fun, fitness and learning after school.
In the summer, Save the Children’s SummerBoost Camp helps curb children’s summer learning loss in reading and math, while providing them with enriching learning experiences and activities. And the nonprofits’ school readiness program, KinderBoost, provides incoming kindergartners and their families an opportunity to become familiar with their new school environment, meet school staff, make new friends and engage in early learning activities – all before kindergarten begins.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sonia to our South Carolina team,” said Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs and Advocacy for Save the Children. “For South Carolina children living in poverty, the risks of entering kindergarten not prepared to succeed are high, and Save the Children is committed to making sure children get the essential early skills they need to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Once in elementary school, we’re helping kids make that critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Under Sonia’s leadership, I’m confident we’ll strongly deliver for children in the Palmetto State.”
Gass has more than 25 years of executive management experience, having previously worked as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement for both Voorhees College and Saint Augustine’s University, the Executive Director for Orangeburg County First Steps and the Director of Planned Giving for Claflin University. She has also served as president on numerous boards, including Safe Kids and the Orangeburg School District Five Foundation, and as a member of the Girl Scouts of South Eastern South Carolina Board and Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors.
To learn more about Save the Children’s early learning and education work in the U.S., visit www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do/us-programs/us-education.
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Learn more at www.SavetheChildren.org.
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