Carolyn Beasley Shortt has been named the “Advocate of the Year” for the South Carolina Council for Exceptional Children.

Shortt has been employed by Laurens County School District #55 (LCSD 55) for 49 years and has served in a variety of capacities before becoming LCSD 55’s District Transition Coordinator (DTC). She has excelled in that role for the past 17 years.

Shortt has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Johnson C. Smith University and a Master’s degree in Reading from Clemson University. She has also obtained Specialist Certification in Administration.

Shortt’s service extends far beyond LCSD 55, having served on numerous committees, boards, and as an officer in professional and service organizations. Recently, the Interagency Committee: National Disability Employment Award Committee established an award in her honor, the “Carolyn Beasley Shortt Leadership Award.” Shortt was the first to receive that award for “Her dedicated efforts to ensure the education, training, and employment of individuals with disabilities.”

In accepting the “Advocate of the Year” award, Shortt said, “I am humbled to have received such an honor from my colleagues. I love being a voice for the children. I credit my parents for instilling in me a sense of caring and community with love and respect for your fellow man.”

Both Shortt and her husband, Robert Shortt, a former assistant superintendent in LCSD 55, epitomize community involvement in their life and work.

Shortt’s parents were also pillars of the community. C. D. Beasley, Sr. was a businessman and the founder of Beasley’s Funeral Home, Inc.; Beasley Home for the Aged, Inc. and other businesses. Lucinda S. Beasley was also a teacher in LCSD 55, retiring as a fifth grade teacher at Hickory Tavern.

“In the years that I have known Carolyn, she has emerged as a tireless, passionate state leader who demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting positive post-school outcomes for children with disabilities. From her service in a local education agency, to collaborative work with community and state partners, to her leadership on the board of the South Carolina Division on Career Development and Transition and Francis Marion University, Carolyn has continually served as a state and local leader in developing strong programming, advocating for systems change and improving policies and practices that have had a positive impact on youth who are preparing for meaningful post-school lives.”  Said Joy Ivester, Program Director, Transition Alliance of South Carolina.

Dr. Ameca Thomas, LCSD 55 Superintendent, said, "Mrs. Carolyn Shortt has been a dedicated member of the LCSD 55 team for many years. We truly appreciate and value her commitment to our students and our community. We look forward to her continued service in LCSD 55 and we are very proud of her accomplishments and the recognition she brings to LCSD 55."

“As the Laurens County School District #55’s Transition Coordinator, Mrs. Shortt helps students receive the services transition provides through advocacy and collaboration at the district, community, and state levels. She continuously serves as a liaison with community agencies, businesses, churches, and organizations to communicate student needs and to build lasting partnerships to broaden the possibilities for transition services for students in Laurens County,” added Dr. Sara-Frances C. Lail, LCSD 55 Director of the Office of Special Education Services.