Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand Welcomes Dr. Karen Vassell as New CEO

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand is thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Karen Vassell as its new Chief Executive Officer. With an impressive background in education spanning over 18 years, Dr. Vassell brings a wealth of experience and a diverse skill set to her new role at the helm of the organization.

Hailing from Miami, Florida, Dr. Vassell’s journey in education began with a profound commitment to making a positive impact. Her teaching career began in Alice Springs, Australia, where she worked with Aboriginal students with moderate to severe disabilities, using the innovative Montessori method. Dr. Vassell’s dedication to education and these unique experiences have laid the foundation for her exceptional leadership skills.

Returning to the United States, Dr. Vassell continued to make her mark in the education field. She contributed to the growth and development of Prince William County Public Schools in Northern Virginia as a Preschool Autism Teacher. Her passion for education led her to South Carolina, where she served in various roles, including Elementary Teacher, School Counselor, Assistant Principal, and Principal/Director of Early Learning Programs for Sumter School District. Her impact extended to the broader community as well, with her role as the Head Start Director for Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg counties, where she played a pivotal role in shaping early childhood education.

Dr. Vassell’s commitment to education is not limited to primary education. Her extensive academic journey includes roles as an adjunct professor at institutions such as Horry Georgetown Technical College, Grand Canyon University, South Carolina State University, and Duke University. She also serves on the SC Parent and Teacher Association and Horry County First Steps Board, reflecting her dedication to community engagement.

An accomplished scholar, Dr. Vassell’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Claflin University, a Master of Education Degree in Elementary and Secondary Counselor Education, an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Administration, and a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership. Her certifications span early childhood, elementary, and secondary school counseling, principalship, and superintendent roles.

“The Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand is pleased to welcome Dr. Karen Vassell as our new CEO,” said Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand Board Chair Rob Dumanois. “Her experience, dedication to education, and strong community engagement align perfectly with our mission. We look forward to her leadership and building on the positive impact she has already made.”

“It is a privilege to serve our youth members and see them transformed by the many impact-driven programs offered here at our Club. Whether it’s enhancing technology skills in the STEM program, keeping healthy with sports and recreation in the gym, opening their minds with art projects, or enjoying a healthy meal nightly, our youth are learning skills and behaviors that will place them on the path to a great future.” Based on the needs of our youth and community, Dr. Vassell has placed her focus on five (5) areas for growth: Supporting academic success, membership, healthy lifestyles, character & leadership, and transportation.

“We know that, when we work as one, we move young people and communities forward. Our work with our youth, especially those who need us most is the focus for all of our efforts.”

Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Vassell is dedicated to her family and community. Her interests include spending quality time with her loved ones, volunteering within her community, indulging in her passion for reading and sci-fi movies, as well as engaging in activities like traveling, jogging, and Pilates.

About Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand

The Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand is a Myrtle Beach based organization dedicated to providing young people with a safe, nurturing environment to learn, grow, and reach their full potential. The club offers a variety of programs and activities designed to empower youth and encourage positive development.