The Sisters of Septima

Developing Women Educators of Color

mural image of Septima P. Clark
Saint Septima with Carolina Jasmine, Artist: Natalie Daise

Welcome to The Sisters of Septima! Thank you for your interest.


We are The Sisters of Septima. We exist to uphold the trailblazing legacy of Septima P. Clark. We know the transformative and liberatory power of education. We want to become teachers to ensure that every student can reap the benefits from the energy, diversity and excellence of women teachers of color.

About the Program

sisters of septima program logo, includes morse code for S.O.S.The Sisters of Septima (SOS) is a new initiative in the School of Education named after educational and Civil Rights trailblazer, Septima P.  Clark. The Sisters of Septima is a teacher leadership development program designed to support the growth and advancement of women of color majoring in Teacher Education. Aspiring women educators of color can gain the skills, knowledge and connections necessary to become effective and influential leaders in their classrooms, schools and communities. Students in the program will receive expert mentorship, academic support and the opportunity to be part of a vibrant cohort of women who are passionate about teaching and learning.

 The Sisters of Septima Students will receive:
  • access to tuition assistance to address financial needs & expenses 
    • tuition grants, scholarships and paid internships
  • academic support to ensure success
  • social and cultural support from fellow Sisters
  • opportunity to learn from expert mentors and hear from seasoned educators
  • specially curated texts focusing on teachers of color and culturally aligned teachings
Apply Now

Who is Septima P. Clark?

black and white photo of Septima ClarkEducational trailblazer, activist & leader. Septima Poinsette Clark was born in Charleston, SC on May 3, 1898 to formerly enslaved parents. Many of her life achievements took place on or near the College of Charleston campus. Learn more about her 40+ years as an educator & civil rights activist.

Read More

Interested in applying?

The inaugural cohort of 7 SOS will begin in Fall 2024. This cohort will made up of 4 incoming freshmen, 1 sophomore and 2 juniors to serve as SOS ambassadors.
  • Requirements to Apply

    Incoming freshmen

    • Apply for and be accepted into the College of Charleston 
    • Expressed interest in a Teacher Education major
    • Complete the Sisters of Septima application 
    • High School diploma and final transcript; or GED certificate
    • Self-identify as a woman of color
    • Cumulative 3.6 GPA or higher
    • Provide two letters of recommendation from:
      • a teacher, guidance counselor, or principal from the high school where the diploma was earned
      • a person of the applicant's choice who can express the student's involvement in the community and/or potential for entering the teaching profession
    • Write and submit two essays (see essay requirements drop down for more details)
    • Declare a major in the Teacher Education program in the School of Education by sophomore year

    Current College of Charleston students

    • Enrolled as a sophomore or junior majoring in the Teacher Education program 
    • Students can self-nominate
    • Provide two letters of recommendation from:
      • a Teacher Education faculty member
      • a faculty member outside of the School of Education
    • Write and submit two essays (see essay requirements drop down for more details)

    Once the application requirements have been submitted and reviewed, an interview will be scheduled. The interview is to determine the students' potential for teaching, their motivations for participation in the program, and to provide additional context to the information submitted through the application process. 


  • Essay Requirements

    Students are required to write and submit two essays as part of the application.

    1. An essay of 500-1000 words entitled "Why Women Teachers of Color Matter". This essay should address students' motivation, passion, and desire to enter the teaching profession. The student should convey their understanding of the critical need for teachers of diverse backgrounds. Students should also express what contributions they hope to make in the education field and their communities as teachers of color.
    2. An essay of 500-1000 words entitled "How do I believe the Legacy of Septima P. Clark and The  Sisters of Septima (SOS) Program will Benefit Me as a Student, Teacher, and Leader?"

Ethnic Makeup of U.S. Public School Teachers

The acronym SOS is befitting due to the urgent need for teachers of color, especially women of color.

American Indian/Alaska Native
Pacific Islander

data based on 2020-2021 public schools; sourced from National Center for Education Statistics

Meet the Program Director

headshot of program directorTecha L. Smalls-Brown has been a K-12 educator for over two decades. She is certified in special education, and has taught students with disabilities and African American Studies at the secondary level, is endorsed in Gifted and Talented Education and credentialed in EL I and EL 2 Montessori. In addition to directing The Sisters of Septima program, she is currently teaching first year students and supervising education interns in their clinical practice internship at the College of Charleston School of Education.

Techa is a native of South Carolina and an alumna of the College of Charleston. She holds a M.Ed. from Concordia University in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Trauma and Resilience in Educational Settings. In 2023 she was honored as a Fetzer Scholar. Techa is currently in her 3rd year of a Ph.D. program at Antioch University's Graduate School of Leadership and Change.