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HCR Award Winners 2023

The SCEA has an annual tradition of honoring human rights and civil rights leaders.
Human and Civil Rights Awards


The SCEA Friend of Education Award was established to honor a person who has made a significant contribution to the betterment of American Education specifically here in South Carolina. The Friend of Education Award may be bestowed upon any person who through leadership, acts, and support has proven to be a true friend of education, educators and students.

The 2023 Winner of A Friend of Education Award is Roger Meek

Roger Meeks

Roger served as Area 26 School Board representative. He is President and CEO of the Greenville-based Bramlett Insurance Agency. He earned an Associate’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University. Mr. Meek has served as the Chairman of the GCS Board of Trustees on five occasions and has served as a member of many Board committees. He is a Board member for Greenville Technical College, Communities in Schools, and the South Carolina School Boards Association. During his professional career, Mr. Meek served in several offices, including the Presidency, with the South Carolina Association of Auto Insurance Agents. He also served as a member of the South Carolina Reinsurance Facility Board of Governors. Mr. Meek has served as a member and officer in local PTAs, School Improvement Councils, and Booster Clubs. 


The Al Nickels Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional achievement in public education advocacy in the state of South Carolina or service to the membership of the SCEA.

The 2023 Winner of the Al Nickles Award is Derek Black


Derek Black focuses on school funding and equality for disadvantaged students. He has published over thirty scholarly articles in the nation’s top legal journals, including the flagship journals at Yale, Stanford, New York University, California-Berkeley, Cornell, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. His research has been cited several times in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is also involved in school funding and federal policy litigation, where he has served as an expert witness and consultant. His work, however, reaches beyond the legal community. In an era of dwindling public school resources and ever-expanding inequality and privatization, he frequently appears in the media. His essays appear in USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and Time, among others. Outlets like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, Washington Post, and Education Week regularly request his expert analysis and commentary. He is also a frequent radio and television guest for national, regional, and local outlets. He is currently a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina, where he is the Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law and Director of the Constitutional Law Center. He began his career in teaching at Howard University School of Law, where he founded and directed the Education Rights Center. Prior to teaching, he litigated education cases at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. His newest book, Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy, warns that current education trends represent a retreat from our nation’s foundational commitments to democracy and public education.

Walker E. Solomon Award

Individual Category

The Walker E. Solomon award is given to an individual, local association, school or community who has worked for the eradication of racial inequalities in the education profession, school, and community.

This year, the Association gives three awards in the individual category.  

One of the 2023 Winners of Walker E. Solomon Award is Cecil Williams

Cecil Williams

Cecil Williams is an Orangeburg native who is famous for his photography during the civil rights movement in South Carolina. His work has been published in hundreds of books, newspapers, and television documentaries. The Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum is the first and only civil rights museum in the state and was founded in 2019. The museum holds artifacts and photographs from the civil rights era. This museum, lovingly curated and designed by Civil Rights-era photographer Cecil Williams, delivers a story about a generation of people who fought for equal rights throughout the Palmetto State.  As staff photographer for Jet Magazine and a content Provider for Time and Life Magazines, Williams was able to capture the movement as it progressed from litigation in the 1950 to protests and marches in the 1960s

One of the 2023 Winners of Walker E. Solomon Award is Ms. Marguirite DeLaine

Marguirite DeLaine

Ms. De Laine serves as Board Chairman of the BDP Foundation.  Founded in 1993, the organization memorialized the participants of the Briggs v Eliot Case.  Briggs v Elliot was the first case in the twentieth century to challenge the constitutionality of racially segregated schools.  It was the first of the five legal cases filed in the United States Federal Courts that led to the May 17, 1954, Supreme Court verdict on Brown v Board of  Education  of Topeka , KS.

One of the 2023 Winners of Walker E. Solomon Award is Dr. Roy Jones

Dr. Roy Jones

Dr. Roy Jones, Clemson University, is being recognized for his work in the creating the J.A. & Mattie De Laine Lecture Series. Dr. Jones is Executive Director for the Clemson University College of Education’s Call Me MISTER Program, Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership at Clemson.  Based on a True Story! “From Segregation to Justice” The J.A. & Mattie De Laine Lecture Film Series  portrays the events that led to the landmark court case of Briggs V. Elliot. Witness a story of true courage and love through the perspective of J.A. & Mattie De Laine. This film is sponsored by The Call Me Mister Program of Clemson University and in collaboration with the Division of Inclusion and Equity, Clemson University with the Briggs - De Laine - Pearson Foundation, and consultation from the Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum. This film will be released  Worldwide on February 16th 2023!

Walker E. Solomon Award

Group Category

The 2023 Group Category Winner is The Briggs-De Laine-Pearson Foundation

Walker E. Solomon Award Winners

The Briggs-De Laine-Pearson Foundation receives this award because of its work in the Clarendon County Community This charitable, volunteer organization is located in the economically distressed, rural town of Summerton, South Carolina.  The Foundation has developed, initiated and taught a number of educational programs for children and adults including the following: Tutorial enrichment program for children Health education programs for children and adults Parents’ leadership program African-American history program Cultural enrichment program for selected disadvantaged youth Personal skills development program for disadvantaged women Basic understanding of the justice system, and drug awareness education

School Bell Award

The SCEA recognizes the contributions made by members of the mass media (radio, television, newspapers, billboards) in the advancement of public awareness and quality public education.

One of the 2023 School Bell Award Winner is WIS TV - Andrew Pierce Fancher

Andrew Pierce Fancher

Andrew Pierce Fancher is a first-generation college graduate born and raised in Dallas, Texas. While attending community college in South Dallas, Fancher self-funded a critically acclaimed web series on the lives and legacies of World War II veterans. His efforts were featured on NBC Nightly News during his senior year of high school in 2017. In his senior year of college, Fancher served as a freelance journalist on the Texas-Mexico border for two months. He was the first reporter permitted a ride along with U.S. Border Patrol since 2019. USBP’s Chief Patrol Agent of Texas commended his impartial reporting of the nation’s humanitarian crisis. Weeks after graduating UNT cum laude, Fancher joined WIS in June 2022 as a general assignment reporter. He strives for impartiality with every story and commonly turns to Mike Wallace reports for inspiration.  Andrew did an intensive story on tax abatements in South Carolina and covers education issues in the Midlands.


One of the 2023 School Bell Award Winner is Post and Courier Education Lab  - Hillary Flynn Editor

Post and Courier Education Lab Hillary Flynn Editor The Post and Courier Education Lab is a multi-year project, employing four reporters, focused on the need for public education reform in South Carolina.  The Costal Community Foundation and Spartanburg Foundation serve as fiscal sponsors for the Education Lab, which is supported by grants from the Jolly Foundation.  The Post and Courier has created the dashboard to help parents, teachers and others navigate South Carolina’s education landscape and learn how schools are performing.  


Footage from Zebulun Dinkins of The SCEA Day of Celebration, January 21st, 2023. We celebrated a ribbon cutting for the new building at 2999 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia, SC as well as the Human & Civil Rights Awards Ceremony followed by a Private Screening of the film "From Segregation to Justice."


Your Voice. Our Power. Their Future.

The SCEA is an affiliate of the largest professional association of educators in the country. As the leading advocate for the schools South Carolina students deserve, The SCEA works to promote quality public education and to support public school employees.