Mission and purpose

Engaging Creative Minds (ECM) mission is to use creativity to spark curiosity and excitement for learning.

ECM is an Arts Integration educational nonprofit based in Charleston, South Carolina. We work with school districts, principals, teachers and the local workforce to identify specific knowledge and skill sets all students should master before graduating high school. We hire and train local artists, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professionals and cultural organizations, which comprise our STEAM Team, to work with grade level teams of teachers to support learning through the Arts. Our goal is for every student to achieve academically, stay engaged in school and succeed in life while their teachers develop engaging Arts Integration teaching strategies that foster collaboration, critical thinking, communication & creativity. Both teachers and students report that ECM is a powerful model of success.

Who we serve

In School | ECM Curriculum Coaches work with our STEAM Team and teachers to bring Engaged Learning Experiences (ELEs) into K-8th grade classrooms

Summer Camp | ECM’s Summer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & mathematics) Institute® is a six-week camp for rising K-8th graders designed to prevent summer learning loss

Professional Development | ECM empowers and supports teachers by giving them the tools, confidence and skill level to successfully integrate the Arts and light a spark in every one of their student’s creative and innovative spirit

School Grants | 20% of net proceeds from our annual fundraiser, The O2 Fitness Charleston Marathon®, are awarded to teachers for Arts Integration projects

Collectively our programs serve 11,000+ students with in-school Arts programming, 946+ students and teachers in the Summer STEAM Institute®, 400+ teachers through our professional development opportunities, 6 counties in SC, 10,000+ community members through outreach and education events, and 27 schools.

A. C. Corcoran Elementary  (CCSD)

Principal: Quenetta White
8585 Vistavia Road
Charleston, SC 29406
843-764-2218

Allendale School District

Superintendent: Dr. Margaret Gilmore
3305 Allendale-Fairfax Hwy
Fairfax, SC 29827
803-584-3476

Alston-Bailey Elementary (DD2)

Principal: Vernisa Bodison
820 West 5th North Street
Summerville, SC 29483
843-695-5210

Alston Middle (DD2)

Principal: Dr. Michelle Leviner
500 Bryan Street
Summerville, SC 29483
843-873-3890

Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary (CCSD)

Principal: Michelle Conner
1871 Wallace School Road
Charleston, SC 29407
843-763-1555

Barnwell District 19

Superintendent: David Corder
556 Jones Bridge Road
Blackville, SC 29817
803-284-5800

Cainhoy Elementary (BCSD)

Principal: LaWanda Glears
2424 Cainhoy Road
Huger, SC 29450
843-899-8975

Cain Bay Middle School (BCSD)

Principal: Carol Beckman-Bartlett
1175 Cane Bay Blvd
Summerville, SC 29483
843-899-1857

Carolina Park Elementary (CCSD)

Principal: Michael Antonelli
3650 Park Ave Blvd
Mt Pleasant, SC 29466
843-856-8060

Charles B DuBose Middle (DD2)

Principal: Ted Brinkley
1005 DuBose School Rd.
Summerville, SC 29483
843-875-7012

Clarendon School District One

Superintendent: Barbara Champagne
9297 Alex Harvin Hwy
Summerton, SC 29148
803-478-2286

Daniel Island School (BCSD)

Principal: Nancy Leigh
2365 Daniel Island Drive
Charleston, SC 29492
843-471-2301

H.E. Bonner Elementary (BCSD)

Principal: Melissa Willis
171 Macedonia Foxes Circle
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
843-899-8950

James B. Edwards Elementary (CCSD)

Principal: Robin Fountain
855 Von Kolnitz Boulevard
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
843-849-2805

James Simons Elementary (CCSD)

Principal: Christine Ryan
741 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
843-724-7763

Testimonials

Patrick Shell, STEM teacher, C.E. Williams Middle School
"Engaging Creative Minds totally looks at combining the whole experience of the arts and academics, and uses it to create a well rounded lifelong learner. The program does an excellent job of providing opportunities to both learners and educators. This is the way all educational experiences should be."
Kevin Smith, Principal, C.E. Williams Middle School
"Engaging Creative Minds has become an integrated part of the experiences for the learners of C.E. Williams Middle School. Our learners engage the curriculum through the arts with artists which is exciting and solidifies learning. In addition, our teachers are able to see and learn new and creative ways to present content. We are glad to be an ECM school."
K. Black, Communications Consultant
"I work for the school district where Engaging Creative Minds began, and I can wholeheartedly say that it is one of the best arts-infused programs I have ever seen in education. The model provides gainful and meaningful employment for local artists while bringing curriculum to life for our students. The program administrators run an organized ship and every dollar is used wisely."
The Farr Family, CCSD school parent
"I have to say a HUGE thank you to Engaging Creative Minds for partnering with Chas Stage Company to do an incredible residency at my children's school, Ashley River Creative Arts Elem. I have triplets in 3rd grade and each one of them is STILL talking about the amazing and FUN experience they had three weeks ago! They learned SO much about the Civil War and all three girls got 100's on their tests after their time with ECM. But more important than the grade, the girls understood the material because it was presented in such a unique way. They went into the test with confidence using all they learned. I have heard other parents say the same! We are so grateful! I wish ECM and Chas Stage were there for EVERY social studies unit! (;  Thank you to some very special people for making this program a grand success!"
Gina, SC teaching artist
"I have worked as a Teaching Artist on the SC Arts Commission Roster for decades. Over the last year, I've had an opportunity to get to know the work done at ECM. They do Arts Integration right! Every person in this organization goes above and beyond with a clear interest in enriching the lives and education of our children. Great people! Excellent program!"
Theodore M.
"Exposure to the breadth of creative inspiration which ECM has provided to me as a teacher, has been immensely helpful with The HERO Project. As a visual artist they helped me fine tune my goal and engage students in thought and consideration of the character and life choices of "heroes". I needed to better understand how to present this material to young minds as well as how it related to core curriculum. The professionals at ECM have taught and encouraged me as they opened school doors to experience sculpture. These experiences have ignited creative sparks in Tri-county students everywhere, be it 3D design and construction, history or focused language arts. The programs from ECM are piquing curiosity and delighting students. I am forever thankful for the honor of working with ECM."
Linda Dennis, Founder, A Backpack Journalist
"ECM - should also stand for encouraging creative minds! As an artist for Engaging Creative Minds, I find that working with their coaches and the teachers, that I am able to help share and encourage learning using creativity in all forms of digital and print. The outcomes vary from short movies, to dvd's with color prints, to printed newspapers and then portraits with a student modeling their dreams for the future and what it takes to get there! Throughout the entire learning process, the students are encouraged to use their imagination and to create images in their minds and then to write! In other projects, we help the students to become good observers and reporters, they then write and see their works published. Yes, the outcome shows academic success, but often I see other important elements such as the students finding their self within their work, they gain self esteem and confidence. Just think using the creative process. So when one thinks of the positive outcomes of a creative experience with ECM, I also suggest that we should look at the benefit to the whole student!"
Sandy Simpson Burris, Teacher, CCSD
"The folks at Engaging Creative Minds worked small miracles to make Porgy and Bess happen for my students! To say that they enjoyed the show would be an understatement. My students were enthralled, and it was amazing to hear them talk about the performance in significant detail both among themselves and to adults. This experience has definitely piqued an interest in the arts for my students. The opportunity to expose my kids to new places and ideas is just priceless, and to have Porgy and Bess in my back pocket as a teaching tool will impact students for years to come. I simply do not have the words to express my gratitude to the good people at Engaging Creative Minds and Ravinia, as well as their cadre of volunteers and donors. Seeing this opera at Spoleto was an experience that neither my students nor I will soon forget."
J. Isaacson, Grandparent, Summer STEAM
"I enrolled my grandson in one week of STEAM camp this summer. He was very hesitant to go - we actually had to make him go the first day. By Wednesday he was asking if he could do another week. He is on week 3 now and says he wishes "he could go to school at STEAM all year long!" He loves it so much, he talked his step-sister into going. This is an awesome program. Every child should have this opportunity."

Our Team

Robin Berlinsky
Executive Director
Robin specializes in changing the “status quo.” She believes that successful schools encourage curiosity, that learning, behavior and attendance are directly related to school culture and that every day should start with cheers and bubbles!
Susan Antonelli
Director of Education | In-School Programs
When Susan isn’t adding to her collections of books, puppets, cooking gadgets and exciting ideas, she can be found working with ECM’s Coaches to make our programing and professional development top notch!
Judith Trotter
Director of Education | Out-of-School Programs
Judy enjoys working in her garden, especially her rose garden! She loves reading and is passionate about sharing her love of books with the next generation!
Kari Maastricht
Education Coordinator
Kari has always had a passion for working with children so it’s no surprise she found her way to ECM. When she is not at a sporting event cheering on family and friends, you can find her at trivia!
Ann Birdseye
Curriculum Coach
Ann and her husband Robert, both retired educators, love camping, contra dancing and supporting local arts and music in Charleston. Coaching ECM teacher teams fits right in!
Robin Boston
Curriculum Coach
Robin has one daughter, a granddaughter, and lives in Hanahan with her husband a cat and dog. She loves to garden, kayak, create art and love on her new granddaughter.
Linda H. Fitzharris
Curriculum Consultant
Linda is an avid reader, loves outdoor activities with her dog, spends time with friends, and is often found around Charleston and Columbia spoiling her grandchildren.
Kendall James
Curriculum Coach
Kendall has nearly thirty years of experience in the arts and education, can balance a busy family life, stand on her head, and wrangle chickens, but can not reach things on the top shelf without standing on something.
Andrew McGlaughon
Director of Development, Strategy & Communications
When not working, Andrew and his wife, Laura, are usually at some event for their two sons, Charlie and Benjamin.
Alicia Modoor
Office & Outreach Assistant
Alicia is an avid biker, movie lover, Bollywood dancer and player of instruments. She is likely to be spotted hanging out with her hound dog, eating a pastry at a neighborhood bakery or out catching a local musical act.
Amelia Phillips Hale
Creative Manager
A kid at heart, Amelia revels in the joy of family time and does her best to have as many impromptu dance parties and creative adventures as possible.
Dave Smith
Operations & Program Manager
Dave is a proud dad and husband. He loves to travel, and you can usually find him playing ball with his kids, listening to a podcast, or working on a Sudoku puzzle.
Art Powers
ECM Mascot
Art creates FUN and encourages children to Power-On their Imaginations! When not in school, he can be found dishing out high fives and exploring the world.

Board

Scott Shanklin-Peterson
ECM Board President, Senior Fellow and Former Director, College of Charleston School of the Arts, Arts Management Program

Mikell Richards
ECM Board Treasurer, Vice President Regional Sales Manager, United Community Bank

Dr. Clifford Fulmore
ECM Board Secretary, Immediate Past President, South Carolina PTA

Cathy Marino
ECM Board Vice Chair, Educator and Arts Advocate

Tui Allen
Director of Product Management, Blackbaud

Nella Barkley
President, Crystal-Barkley Corporation

Dr. Donald (Don) Gordon
Executive Director, The Riley Institute

Christopher Ibsen
President, Dolphin Architects & Builders

Dr. Eddie Ingram
Superintendent, Berkeley County School District

George Morrison
Attorney, Burr Forman McNair

Barbara Nwokike
Environmental Engineer & Board Member, South Carolina Arts Commission

Dr. Gerrita Postlewait
Superintendent, Charleston County School District

Joseph (Joe) R. Pye
Superintendent, Dorchester School District Two

Mayor R. Keith Summey
Designee – Kyle Lahm, City of North Charleston

Mayor John Tecklenburg
Designee – Mindy Sturm, City of Charleston

Dr. Fran Welch
Dean, College of Charleston, School of Education, Health, and Human Performance

Laura Zucker
Director of Community Relations, The InterTech Group

Advisory Council

Dr. James Braunreuther
CCSD Music Teacher

Jayne Ellicott
Arts Consultant, Former Principal Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary

Robin Fountain
Principal, James B. Edwards Elementary School

Barry Goldsmith
Retired Fine Arts Coordinator, Charleston County School District

Dr. Tracey Hunter-Doniger
Assistant Professor of Creativity/Creative Arts in Education, College of Charleston

Valerie Morris
Dean, School of the Arts, College of Charleston

Dr. Terry K. Peterson
National Leader, Summer and Afterschool Learning

Scott Rush
Director of Fine & Performing Arts, Dorchester School District Two 

Chris Swetckie
Principal, Howe Hall AIMS

Scott Watson
Executive Director, Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Charleston

Educational Partners

Allendale County Schools
Barnwell District 19
Berkeley County School District
Charleston County School District
Clarendon School District 1
College of Charleston (School of Education, Health and Human Performance)
College of Charleston (School of the Arts)
Dorchester School District Two
South Carolina Department of Education

Arts Education Partnership
National Guild for Community Arts Education
National Summer Learning Association
Together SC

Community Partners

Artist & Craftsman Supply
Blackbaud
Burr Forman McNair
CD Bard
Charleston RiverDogs
Cleon W. Mauldin Foundation
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Daniel Island Community Foundation
Dominion Energy
Fox Music
Joanna Foundation
Motley Foundation
South State Bank
Volvo Car US Operations Community Fund

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