Dr. W. Burke Royster became the superintendent of Greenville County Schools in South Carolina in 2012. The district is the largest public school system in the state serving more than 77,000 students. During his tenure, notable progress has been achieved in student achievement, particularly focusing on enhancing the district’s graduation rate and ensuring students are prepared for college and careers.

A central initiative under Dr. Royster’s leadership is Graduation Plus, a key component in the district’s commitment to “Building a Better Graduate.” Graduation Plus works to increase student achievement and engagement by providing meaningful opportunities for every student to graduate with not only a high school diploma but also college credit and/or industry certification. As a direct result of his strategic direction and expectations, Greenville County Schools’ overall graduation rate has increased by 12 points since 2012. Concurrently, efforts to improve outcomes for traditionally lower-performing student subgroups have yielded graduation rate increases of 16 points for African American students, 12 points for Hispanic/Latino students, 26 points for students with disabilities and 17 points for English-language learners.

In recognition of the achievements made under his direction, Dr. Royster has been named an Education Week “Leader to Learn From,” a Greenville Business Magazine’s “50 Most Influential” Hall of Fame honoree, and was selected as the South Carolina Association of School Administrators’ 2018 Superintendent of the Year. He presently serves on the Governing Board of AASA, The School Superintendents’ Association, and is an active member of the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium, where he previously served as its chair.

Royster’s extensive career in education spans over 40 years, encompassing roles as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent.

He holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policies from the University of South Carolina, along with a master’s in education and a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University.