Florence 1 Schools’ superintendent named ‘S.C. Arts Administrator of the Year’

Palmetto State Arts Education Board Chairman Joshua Powell congratulates Dr. Richard O’Malley,...
Palmetto State Arts Education Board Chairman Joshua Powell congratulates Dr. Richard O’Malley, Superintendent of Florence 1 Schools, on being named the 2022 SC Arts Administrator of the Year.(Source: Florence 1 Schools)
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 1:53 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – The leader for Florence 1 Schools has been recognized across the state for investing in art in the classroom.

Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley was named the 2022 South Carolina Arts Administrator of the Year during a ceremony on Tuesday.

The award is presented to an administrator who has demonstrated a commitment to arts programs in schools.

Erick Figueras, the director of arts and innovative programs at F1S, nominated O’Malley for the award, saying that he has continually shown that he is a supporter of the arts for all students.

“I have seen several superintendents come and go, each imparting minimal impact on arts programs and facilities. Over the course of my 23-year career in arts education, I have seen few administrators at any level, who have provided such meaningful fiscal and moral support for the arts,” Figueras said.

Over the past several years, millions of dollars have been allocated for classroom renovations, new band uniforms, art supplies, visual arts equipment and musical instruments. Millions of dollars in funding have also gone toward renovating band rooms, chorus rooms and auditoriums in the district’s three high schools.

O’Malley has also encouraged efforts to remove financial barriers that could limit student access to the arts. At several elementary schools, funds were provided to purchase instruments, and now, students who are interested in band or orchestra can take part without having to pay rental fees.

O’Malley is the first superintendent to receive this award in almost a decade. He said that he is very appreciative of the recognition.

“It is a great compliment to receive an award like this because the nomination came from someone who works with me in the district and knows personally the strides that we have taken to get where we are,” O’Malley said. “Most importantly, this award recognizes our commitment to providing resources that support our educators and our students.”