Dr. Nancy J. McGinley's Biography
Dr. Nancy J. McGinley was appointed Superintendent of the Charleston County School District (CCSD), in April 2007. She oversees a system that includes over 46,378 students, 84 schools, numerous specialized programs, and 5,500 employees.
Under her leadership—and on the strength of her Charleston Achieving Excellence strategic plan—CCSD’s students have made significant improvement.
- CCSD’s state report card earned an “Good ” growth rating and “Good” absolute rating
- 50.2% of CCSD students attended “Excellent” schools—nearly far exceeding state average
- CCSD’s graduation rate improved three points, from 72% to 75.5%
- CCSD has become a recognized leader in school choice, empowering parents with more options including new magnet and charter schools, and more special themes and programs than any other district in the state
- CCSD received the $23M Teacher Incentive Fund and the $19M “Race to the Top” grant
Dr. McGinley has generated strong support for Charleston County’s public schools and the students they serve. Following nearly ten years of decline, student enrollment has now increased for six straight years.
Inspired by Dr. McGinley’s choice plan, CCSD has dramatically expanded school choice, nearly doubling its number of charter, magnet, and special-theme schools and programs over the last five years. And the district’s new capital plan—modernizing classrooms and pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy—was supported 2-to-1 by the taxpayers of Charleston County.
Dr. McGinley’s reform efforts center on four strategic priorities: Literacy-Based Learning, Educator Effectiveness, Innovative Schools & Systems, and Partnerships. In the spring of 2012 – as part of Dr. McGinley’s ongoing efforts to improve outcomes for all students – CCSD launched a new strategic plan—Charleston Achieving Excellence: Vision 2016.
Vision 2016 is the next phase of Charleston Achieving Excellence. It strengthens the district’s emphasis on literacy improvement and teacher effectiveness; continues to restructure the district to better support schools and students, creates bold annual performance targets for all students, and holds everyone accountable for student achievement. Recognizing that the creation, implementation and eventual success of Charleston Achieving Excellence: Vision 2016 will require full community support; Dr. McGinley led an ambitious effort to engage the Charleston community in a series of unprecedented stakeholder meetings.
Previously, McGinley served as chief academic officer for CCSD. Prior to this position, she was the chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Education Fund, an independent, non-profit affiliate of the national Public Education Network dedicated to improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Prior to joining the Fund, McGinley was director for leadership initiatives at Greater Philadelphia First, an organization focused on improving education and economic opportunities in the region. Previous positions include teacher, central office administrator in The School District of Philadelphia, principal of Abington Junior High School, and principal of Philadelphia's Pepper Middle School.
McGinley is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences, including the American Education Research Association, the National Middle School Association, the Education Trust and the Public Education Network. She has a master's degree in education administration as well as a doctorate in educational leadership from Temple University, and she earned her Superintendent’s Letter from the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to her degree programs, McGinley was an International Fellow in the Eisenhower Leadership Exchange Program and has worked as an adjunct college professor in the graduate schools of Arcadia University, Drexel University, St. Joseph’s University, and The Citadel.
Charleston Achieving Excellence: A Bold Vision for Success and Reform
Dr. McGinley's visionary strategic plan, Charleston Achieving Excellence (CAE), centers the work of the district around three simple, but far-reaching goals: 1) elevate achievement overall; 2) close the achievement gap; and 3) raise the graduation rate. The plan, which builds on the solid academic foundation established while Dr. McGinley was the district’s Chief Academic Officer (CAO), emphasizes the core values of results, access, and partnerships. With these goals and values as a foundation, Dr. McGinley is transforming the culture of the district. Her mantra is three-fold:
- The Victory is in the Classroom! Effective teachers matter more than anything else. Under Dr. McGinley’s leadership, teacher vacancies at the beginning of the school year—once numbering 120—were reduced to less than five. She launched a “Teacher of the Month” recognition program and meets regularly with teacher leaders from every school.
- A quality principal is the cornerstone of an excellent school. Dr. McGinley often says, “There are no great schools without great principals.” As a former teacher and principal, she understands the critical link between effective teaching and school leadership. Great principals develop, motivate, and attract effective teachers. Ineffective principals have the opposite effect on teachers. Since she became CAO, over 70% of CCSD’s schools have changed principals.
- Literacy is the foundation of all learning. All subjects were not created equal. Under Dr. McGinley’s leadership, all discretionary funds have been directed toward the improvement of literacy. Since 2007, the percentage of rising ninth graders reading at a fourth-grade level or below has been reduced by 8 points, from 20.9 to 12.9%.