Dent Middle School
Richland County School District 2, Columbia, South Carolina
Tamala Ashford is an authentic connector and leader worth following. Students, parents, and her staff equally love her because she cares, demonstrates, and inspires excellence.
Her decision to start the Dent Leadership Academy was driven by her personal desire to see each child excel. She goes beyond the call of duty often, which we experience when she’s on our evening or weekend Dent Leadership Academy planning calls. She knows each student by name, but more importantly, she knows their stories. Together, we have been able to provide additional supports to the students in most need, and it has changed the culture of the school.
Later this school year, she will lead efforts to take these students to two local colleges to expose
and inspire them to college and career options.
Outside of the school, Mrs. Ashford has partnered with us as a key volunteer for our South Carolina Fatherhood and Male Achievement Conference, the largest Father and Son’s conference in the southeast. Every year this conference attracts fathers and sons to Columbia to connect, engage and be empowered. From the first time we held the conference in 2015, Mrs. Ashford readily volunteered because she believes in our youth and efforts that will make them better. She was a tireless volunteer who often hosted or met with our planning team to assist with coordinating the event, and enrolling youth and their parents. Our initial plan for this conference was to attract 200 attendees annually. Under Ms. Ashford’s leadership, we have averaged 703 fathers and sons in attendance each year, including those that have traveled to South Carolina to attend the conference from as far as California and Texas.
Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.