Dr. Karen Vassell is the esteemed Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand, located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Originating from Miami, Florida, Dr. Vassell embarked on an educational career fueled by a deep-seated aim to effectuate positive change. Her teaching odyssey commenced in Alice Springs, Australia, where she engaged with Aboriginal students facing moderate to severe disabilities, employing the innovative Montessori method. This experience has been instrumental in developing her outstanding leadership qualities.

Upon her return to the United States, Dr. Vassell left a significant imprint on the educational landscape. She played a crucial role in the advancement of Prince William County Public Schools in Northern Virginia, taking on the role of a Preschool Autism Teacher. Her zeal for education brought her to South Carolina, where she assumed multiple positions such as Elementary Teacher, School Counselor, Assistant Principal, and Principal/Director of Early Learning Programs within the Sumter School District. She further influenced early childhood education as the Head Start Director for Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg counties.

Beyond primary education, Dr. Vassell has enriched the academic world through her tenure as an adjunct professor at various esteemed institutions including Horry Georgetown Technical College, Grand Canyon University, South Carolina State University, and Duke University. Her community engagement is evidenced by her participation in the SC Parent and Teacher Association and the Horry County First Steps Board, among other roles in numerous organizations like Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., Riley Institute Class of 2020, SC Educational Policy Fellow, and as a member of the Spring Valley Rotary Club.

Dr. Vassell’s scholastic credentials are impressive, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education, a Master of Education in Elementary and Secondary Counselor Education, an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Administration, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. She boasts certifications across a broad spectrum of educational domains, including early childhood, elementary and secondary school counseling, principalship, superintendent, and has recently been honored with the appointment as Horry County Higher Education Commissioner by Governor Henry McMaster.