2017 Summit Keynote Speaker


W. Burke Royster - Greenville County Schools Superintendent - Click to enlarge

Dr. W. Burke Royster became the 10th Superintendent of Greenville County Schools in 2012 and is in his fifth year at the helm of the nation’s 44th largest school district.  A 38-year veteran of public education, his tenure as Superintendent has been marked by significant advances in student achievement, with a particular focus on improving the District’s graduation rate and ensuring that students are college and career ready. In a nod to the progress achieved under his direction, Dr. Royster was named an Education Week Leader to Learn From in February of 2016 and was one of Greenville Business Journal’s 2017 50 Most Influential.

The signature initiative of Dr. Royster’s tenure is called Graduation Plus, and is the key ingredient in the District’s focus on “Building a Better Graduate.”  Graduation Plus works to increase student achievement and engagement by providing meaningful opportunities for every student to graduate with a South Carolina State Diploma, plus industry certifications and/or college credit.  A hallmark of this initiative is increasing opportunities for high school credit at the middle school level so that ample space is available in students’ high school schedules to pursue areas of interest and potential career focuses ranging from cosmetology certification to the completion of freshman-level engineering coursework through the Accelerate Engineering virtual program.  

As a direct result of his direction and expectations, the Greenville County Schools’ graduation rate has risen 15 points since 2012 and is currently at 87%.  During the same period, the graduation rate for the African American subgroup has risen 20 points (82%), the subsidized subgroup is up 19 points, and the Hispanic subgroup has improved 21 points to 88%, which is one-point higher than the overall student body.