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Citizen Scholars Institute Welcomes New Executive Director

Dr. Susan Little joins program that provides mentoring, training in life skills and character development as well as educational assistance to challenged youth.

SPARTANBURG – Citizen Scholars Institute, a special initiative of The Spartanburg County Foundation, announces a new Executive Director, Dr. Susan Little. Founded in 1996, the Citizen Scholars program connected public school students in all seven school districts with mentors who provided them with knowledge, encouragement, and support beginning in grade six and continuing through high school graduation. In 2016, the Program became the Citizen Scholars Institute and was reformatted to expand its reach and impact. With the full support of all seven school district superintendents, sixth graders from every district are identified each year as Scholars on a continuing basis. Additionally, Scholars are mentored through college graduation and are engaged in an active alumni association.
Dr. Little earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Western Carolina University and degrees from Clemson University, University of South Carolina, and Converse College. For over three decades, she has served the students of South Carolina in a wide variety of capacities. She is an experienced teacher, school-level administrator, district-level administrator, and educational leader. Dr. Little believes that every student, regardless of race, wealth, or status, has the right to learn and deserves the support of a caring adult to help attain their future dreams. “If children are not the center of everything we do, we need to reassess our values,” says Dr. Little.
Dr. Little most recently served as Assistant Superintendent for Spartanburg School District Three and previously was the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Chesterfield County School District. Prior to that, Dr. Little served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal of Landrum High School in Spartanburg School District One. In addition, she has been a district director for AVID, a trainer for College Board, as well as an adjunct instructor for local colleges.
Her experience at the district and school level has given her a deep understanding of the public- school climate, culture, and experience. She clearly understands the steps needed for success in obtaining post-secondary goals. “Dr. Little brings a wealth of experience to our Citizens Scholars program, as well as a passion for helping all students succeed. We are extremely happy to have her on board,” said Dr. Terry Pruitt, Board Chair for Citizen Scholars.
Dr. Little replaces Dr. Gloria Close who retired after decades of service to the community and as the leader of Citizen Scholars Institute. Dr. Little officially began her role on July 1, 2021. “We are very excited to have Dr. Susan Little join the Citizen Scholars team,” said Troy Hanna, President and Chief Executive Officer at The Spartanburg County Foundation. “She is well-known in the Spartanburg community as an educational leader who puts the needs of students first and foremost.”
To learn more about Citizen Scholars Institute, visit

The Spartanburg County Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging community engagement, and responding to community needs. Established in 1943, The Spartanburg County Foundation is the oldest community foundation in South Carolina. For more information about the Foundation and The Robert Hett Chapman III Center for Philanthropy, click here.