Palmetto's Finest

As of August 26, 2021:

In May, when we revised the Palmetto’s Finest application, our COVID cases were very low, and we were optimistic as we moved toward i3 and the 2021–2022 school year.

Unfortunately, our school year has started with high levels of COVID cases in schools and a higher level of quarantines. After reviewing the data and out of an abundance of caution, we are pausing the Palmetto’s Finest Program for the 2021–2022 school year.

Thank you to the schools that have started the application process, and we ask you to save the information for next year. We plan to conduct a seminar in the spring that will give you an opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Palmetto’s Finest Program for a Q&A session.

Palmetto's Finest Schools

Each spring since 1978, SCASA has recognized a few schools which offer excellent instruction and outstanding leaders, augmented by strong family and community involvement and a supportive business community.

Initially presented only to two elementary schools and one middle school, the award was expanded in 1996-97, with the support of Carolina First Bank, to include a high school.

The selection process includes a comprehensive review of a school's program, focusing on the key question: "What impact is this school making on the lives of students and the community, and is it deserving of the Palmetto's Finest Award?"

2021-22 Timeline

  • To be eligible to apply, the principal must be a member of SCASA, and must have been principal in the applicant school for the entire previous two school years. The school's state accreditation must be in good standing. Winning principals must be able to serve on the Palmetto's Finest Selection Committee for future awards.
  • Application Deadline: The 2021-22 Palmetto's Finest Program has been paused.
  • Email applications to All emailed applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on September 20, 2021.
  • Independent readers evaluate applications and recommend semifinalist schools for initial site visits. Members of the SCASA Palmetto's Finest Awards Committee visit the schools.
  • Finalist schools are selected and notified. Awards committee members return for a second site visit.
  • March 2022 Palmetto's Finest Announcement - The Palmetto's Finest announcement will be announced remotely from SC ETV.  Finalists will watch the announcement from their schools via live streaming. All finalists receive statewide recognition and a plaque. The four or five winners also receive a "Palmetto's Finest School" banner, bumper stickers for all their staff members, and a Palmetto's Finest ring for the principal.
  • Click on the following link to download the application: The 2021-22 Palmetto's Finest Program has been paused.
  • Preparing for Palmetto's Finest Application PowerPoint -


2019-20 Winners

  • Walker Gamble Elementary School, Clarendon School District 3
  • Woodland Elementary School, Greenville County Schools
  • Dutch Fork High School, Lexington-Richland District 5

Palmetto's Finest Winners Since 1978