Board of Directors
Academic & Development Committees
Heather Bass is a native of Sumter and a graduate of Sumter High School. After completing her degree in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina, Heather returned to Sumter to begin her career in manufacturing.
Throughout her career, Heather has shared her love of STEAM-based studies with educational volunteerism through the eSTEAM Festival and in-class activities. She believes that a STEAM-based education prepares scholars for future career opportunities and a lifelong love of learning.
Currently serving as Director of Technology and Business Development at Carolina Filters, Heather is excited to facilitate the involvement of Sumter’s wonderful Industrial community with Liberty STEAM Charter as we provide an outstanding education that will prepare these scholars for the next chapter after graduation.
Mrs. Bass was appointed in July 2023 to a two-year term expiring in March 2025.
Ms. Brunson took the oath of office on Monday, March 28, 2022, at the CCTC Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. Ms. Brunson received the fourth highest number of votes in LSC’s inaugural board election that saw 87% of families & staff members participating and earned a one-year term that expires in March 2023.
Ms. Brunson is working towards earning a business administration degree from Morris College and presently serves as the President of the recently formed Sumter Black Chamber of Commerce. An entrepreneur, Ms. Brunson is the owner and operator of both Angel Maids Cleaning Company & Urban Property Firm. Ms. Brunson was also named one of Sumter’s Top 20 under 40 in 2019.
Ms. Brunson says, “As Liberty grows, I look forward to the Sumter Black Chamber of Commerce partnering to bring a financial literacy program to the scholars of Liberty."
Mrs. Brunson was elected in March 2022 to a one-year term expiring in March 2023.
Cameron G. Chandler
Governance Committee, Co-chair
Cameron “Cammy” Chandler retired after 25 years of service with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as an Assistant United States Attorney and Associate Director of the National Advocacy Center, the DOJ’s legal training facility and continuing legal education provider for all DOJ attorneys. She oversaw the development of a core curriculum for newly hired prosecutors and new training on emerging areas of the law, providing more than 200 residential courses and distance learning events each fiscal year.
As a graduate of public school and daughter of a public school teacher, Ms. Chandler understands the importance of a strong and vibrant public school system. Moreover, as a former drug prosecutor, Ms. Chandler witnessed first-hand the hopelessness and vulnerability of young adults who lacked the education or skills for a productive future. Based upon her personal and professional experience, Ms. Chandler is committed to the mission of the Liberty STEAM Charter to provide a premier public school education opportunity to Sumter youths, who will be equipped to excel in college or their chosen career.
Mrs. Chandler was appointed in March 2022 to a one-year term expiring in March 2023.
Development Committee, Chair
Facilities Ad Hoc Task Force
Dexter Davis attended Sumter public schools and Clemson University. He was recognized as a football All-American in 1988 by The Sporting News. In 1991, he left Clemson to enter the National Football League draft; he played professional football for six years before his career was cut short due to injury.
Mr. Davis studied Industrial Technology and Environmental Science, continued his education with executive education classes at The Citadel and the University of Phoenix and graduated from the J.E. Dunn Mentor-Protégé Program, the Kauffmann Foundation Fast-track Graduate Entrepreneurship Program and the Leighton Cubbage Mentor Entrepreneurship Program. Mr. Davis founded Eagle Universal Services in 2009 and provides environmental remediation, training, facilities maintenance, engineering, demolition and site services. He also has ownership of Tallo, a K-12 STEAM social media platform.
He is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the CHAMPION Foundation, which is designed to mentor and equip young men and women to accept leadership roles in the community.
Mr. Davis was appointed in March 2022 to a two-year term expiring in March 2024.
Academic Committee, Chair
Mrs. Knopf took the oath of office in the presence of her husband (Kell) and first-grade scholar (Lane) last Monday, March 28, 2022, at the CCTC Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. Mrs. Knopf received the highest number of votes in LSC’s inaugural board election saw 87% of families & staff members participating and earned a two-year term that expires in March 2024.
Mrs. Knopf holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education and a master's degree in communications disorders, both of which were earned from the University of South Carolina. Mrs. Knopf is presently employed as a Speech Language Pathologist with Sumter School District, a position she has held since August 2014. Prior to that, she taught at RE Davis Elementary School for four years and served as the math interventionist for one year at Crosswell Drive Elementary School.
Mrs. Knopf says, “As an educator, being able to support teachers in their mission to transform lives is a lifelong goal of mine. I chose to run in order to be a strong advocate for both students and teachers. Collaborating with others on hiring and retaining the best educators ultimately benefits the scholars. Having the opportunity to be a part of the board that makes decisions that influence not only the school but the Sumter community, gives me the platform to ensure students are continuing to receive a rigorous and impactful education."
She went on to say, "I believe in the mission of LSCS and I have seen it come to fruition through my scholar's time at Liberty thus far. I hope to advance the mission of LSCS by ensuring that all decisions are made with scholars at the center. Providing teachers with the utmost support will help to ensure all scholars receive the best education possible. In providing this valuable support, my hope is that LSCS will attract and retain highly qualified and motivated educators. I would like to continue to promote partnerships with families and the community by going above and beyond.”
Mrs. Knopf was elected in March 2022 to a two-year term expiring in March 2024.
Rev. Dr. Marion Newton
Marion Newton received bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts and Divinity from the Morris College School of Religion and was honored in 1997 with an Honorary Doctorate in Recognition of Meritorious Christian Service and Inspiring Leadership. He has served as the Senior Pastor of Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church since 1982. He is a man of vision, an inspiring teacher and a revivalist. Under his leadership, the Jehovah family has created two facilities — the Child Development Center and the M.H. Newton Family Life Enrichment Center — to serve the community of South Sumter.
Pastor Newton serves on many local boards: Unity Sumter, Tri-County Needs Assessment, Sumter County Ministerial Alliance, Sumter County Literacy Council, City of Sumter Police Advisory and the United Way of Sumter, Clarendon and Lee Counties. He is Chairman of the Sumter Empowerment Zone, the Sumter Community Vision (Visioning in Progress) and the Habitat for Humanity boards, and is an Executive Board Member of Central Carolina Technical College. He recently was inducted into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame. He brings to the SSCS Board of Directors a determination to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization for all stakeholders.
Rev. Dr. Newton was elected in March 2022 to a two-year term expiring in March 2024.
Governance Committee, Co-chair
Kimberly Rauschenbach, a process improvement professional, has been actively brokering partnerships between Sumter’s business and education sectors for the past five years. After recognizing that many of Sumter’s technological companies are struggling to meet workforce needs, Mrs. Rauschenbach recently launched SCOPE, a volunteer-led education initiative that focuses on preparing students for local jobs that will be waiting for them when they are ready to enter the workforce.
Mrs. Rauschenbach is a veteran of the United States Air Force, holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and certifications in Lean Green Belt, information management and change acceleration. She is employed by Thompson Construction Group as the Director of Talent Development.
Mrs. Rauschenbach was elected in March 2022 to a two-year term expiring in March 2024.
Greg A. Thompson
Facilities Ad Hoc Task Force, Chair
Greg Thompson is the founder of the Thompson Family of companies, a leader whose business acumen and commitment to community were the catalyst for the Liberty STEAM Charter initiative. He serves as President & CEO of Thompson Construction Group and Chairman of Thompson Industrial Services. With a dedication to quality, integrity and hard work, he led the company from its humble beginnings in 1986 with two employees to more than 2,500 employees today and made it the leading industrial cleaning company in the Southeast.
An advocate for community enhancement, Mr. Thompson is Chairman of the Sumter Economic Development Board, a founding member of the Sumter Smarter Growth Initiative and a former member of the Sumter School District Finance Committee. He is fully invested in his commitment to downtown Sumter and with his wife, Danielle, has revitalized Main Street with new restaurants, a Hyatt Place and Sumter’s first brewery. Improving community outcomes includes a focus on children. Thompson Construction is an active business partner for Crosswell Drive Elementary and teamed with Sumter School District to create the E3 Professional Development Conference and the State of the District Breakfast. His vision is to encourage collaboration among community leaders to create a school that serves the needs of Sumter’s families.
Mr. Thompson was appointed in March 2022 to a two-year term expiring in March 2024.
Dr. Rodney Thompson
Finance Committee, Chair
Facilities Ad Hoc Task Force
Rodney Thompson, PhD., spent 25 years as a teacher, administrator and superintendent in South Carolina public schools. He holds degrees in education from Clemson University, The Citadel and the University of South Carolina. His doctorate dissertation focused on the contributing factors of graduation rates for rural school students. Before retiring, he was a faculty member in The Citadel’s Zucker Family School of Education. He co-wrote “Collective Impact: What Does it Mean for Educational Leaders?” for the School Superintendents Association’s Journal of Scholarship and Practice.
Many South Carolina students struggle to meet the expectations of college and career; Dr. Thompson looks forward to working with other leaders to formulate a world-class educational option for Sumter-area students. His experiences provide valuable insight on the obstacles our struggling students face, and he believes the unique opportunities offered by the Liberty STEAM Charter will be a valuable asset to both the students and the community.
Dr. Thompson was appointed in March 2022 to a one-year term expiring in March 2023.