The Richland Two Student Innovation Center (R2i2) opened to students in 2016. R2i2 was established as a learning and innovation center for high school students that work closely with businesses to provide course work that meets the demand of a changing economic environment.
We are an innovation-oriented institute where entrepreneurship and leadership are themes. R2i2 supports the existing five high schools in Richland Two by providing additional classes and programming not available elsewhere in the district.
R2i2 Pillars (Values):
- Global Impact
R2i2 Mission Statement:
As the Institute of Innovation, R2i2’s mission is to foster individual student growth as an innovator within a safe environment by stimulating creativity, encouraging leadership, promoting teamwork, and building entrepreneurial skills while engaging the global community.
Make the world a better place, one student & one innovation at a time.
Kevin Alberse has a unique professional background that combines the fields of education and business. Having spent years as a professional development consultant, designing and implementing programs and partnership initiatives, he was able to formulate an educational philosophy that is now reflected at the Richland Two Institute of Innovation. He has more than 10 years of experience in program design and implementation in both K-12 education and the private sector. Mr. Alberse has also worked in advertising, authoring a major campaign for the State of New York visitors bureau and for the Berkshire Theater Festival. Alberse earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia College and State University. As the director of R2i2, Kevin enjoys seeing students' excitement at the birth of a new idea. His favorite quote is "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. " -Harriet Tubman
Assistant Administrator Sonya Hayden is a native of Columbia, SC. She graduated from USC-Columbia with a B.A. in Elementary Education, The University of Charleston in collaboration with The Citadel with a M.Ed. in Special Education, and Lamar University with School Leadership and Administration Certification. Sonya began her teaching career in Berkeley County teaching at J.K. Gourdin Elementary and Cross Elementary. She has previously taught at Spring Valley High School and served for 16 years as the Transition Specialist for Ridge View High School. Most recently Sonya coordinated a work simulation program, P.O.W.E.R.-i (Premier Opportunities for Work and Employment Readiness through Innovation) in collaboration with R2i2 Student Innovation Center. Sonya believes R2i2 offers a unique and stimulating environment where high school students in Richland School District Two can explore their innovative interests while engaging the global community. Sonya’s favorite quote: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ― Rumi
Administrative Assistant & Bookkeeper
Sandra Baker grew up in Augusta, Georgia; more specifically, Hephzibah. She graduated from Hephzibah High School, went to business school for computer programming, then pursued a career working in the medical field in medical transcription before returning to school and completing her Associates Degree and rejoining the education field several years ago. She says, "One of the best things about R2i2 is that we are on the cutting edge of such interesting and exciting happenings that affect not only our students' futures, but those of so many others and have the potential to impact our world!" Her favorite quote is "The only limits you have are the limits you believe." -Wayne Dyer
Kelli Rembert is an Apple App Development Instructor at R2i2. She has over eleven years teaching experience in Web Design, Coding, Animation, Multimedia, Business, Graphics and Career Exploration. As an instructor, she has served in different capacities within her school: technology specialist, member of Transform SC, technology advisory team, teacher/counselor advisory panel for R2i2, Future Business Leader of America adviser, Career and Technology Education Advisory Board, webmaster, credit recovery site coordinator, new teacher mentor, website and vocational testing trainer, and Miss Spring Valley Pageant director. Kelli has an extensive working knowledge in the career and business technology education industry. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree, gained an accredited teacher's license in North Carolina and South Carolina, obtained a Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and earned a National Board Certification in teaching, after her first year of candidacy. She has created and facilitated several professional development workshops for colleagues, been guest speaker at new teachers workshops to provide motivation and a glimpse of what new teachers experience, trained new teachers on technology software, curriculum development, lesson planning, instructional strategies, classroom management, testing protocol, and data assessment analysis. She has facilitated additional training on differentiated instructional methods through technology integration, ESIS-Charlotte school district's informational database, movie making, and personal web building. These various roles have enabled her to develop strong transferable designing, innovative, teaching, training, team-building, problem-solving, multi-tasking, communication, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills. Kelli loves the collegiate environment, flexibility, curriculum exclusivity, and academic advancement that R2i2 provides. Her two favorite quotes are: "Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do" and "Follow your passion; it will lead to your purpose."
Robin Jones is a native of Columbia. Graduate of University of SC-Columbia, MBA with Finance Emphasis, Banking for approximately 18 years before coming to Richland District Two. Her favorite thing about R2i2 is the opportunity to work with students from all the high schools in the district, collaboration, and the staff. Robin's favorite quote is, "The past can not be changed. The future is yet in your power." -Author unknown
Nicolas Jones was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended North Springs Elementary, Summit Parkway Middle, and Spring Valley High School. He also attended USC and obtained a B.S. in Entrepreneurial Management. His career path included Retail Management and Construction Management. He also was a long-term substitute teacher at Ridge View for three semesters prior to coming to R2i2. Nicolas feels that R2i2 has the most active and project-based learning experiences of any school in the state. R2i2 is focused on a collegiate environment where students can excel and prepare for their futures. His favorite quote is "Teachers open the door, you enter by yourself." -Chinese Proverb
Tara McCormick is a native of N.C. She graduated from UNC with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Tara has served Richland School District Two in many capacities over the years. She began her career in the district as a regular school bus driver, but quickly moved into being a Transition Driver and Job Coach for Special Education at Richland Northeast High School. Tara has been the P.O.W.E.R.- i (Premier Opportunities for Work and Employment Readiness through Innovation) Supervisor for four years. In addition, she is also a certified ForkLift instructor at the R2i2 Institute of Innovation. Tara works diligently to help Transition students learn new employment skills through work simulation. Tara has most recently been awarded the ‘21-’22 Support Staff Person of the Year for Richland School District Two. Tara believes through the partnership and support of R2i2, students have a unique opportunity, not offered anywhere else in the district, to learn employment skills which will lead to competitive employment. Tara’s favorite quote: “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” - Alice Walker
Chef Marilyn Ross
Chef Ross is a product of Richland School District Two, having studied under the late Chef Turner at Blythewood High School. Marilyn specializes in Baking and Pastries and has worked with and for among the following companies: Sweet: A cupcake company, Bruegger's Bagels, and Whole Foods. Chef Ross has also contributed to the writing of the SC Baking and Pastry High School Curriculum Standards. Having attended the Culinary Institute of Charleston, Marilyn has developed skills in cake decorating, artisan breads, laminated doughs and pastries, retail baking, candies and confections, and plated desserts. Marilyn is a ServSafe certified professional and especially enjoys baking cookies, breads, and helping students discover their love for innovating in the kitchen.
Kirstin Bullington grew up outside of Chicago in Northwest Indiana, and attended the University of Evansville for her undergraduate studies, where she earned her BS in Biology and BA in Music. For graduate studies, she earned a MPH in International Health and Development from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She served in the Peace Corps from 2000-2002 as a health specialist volunteer, assigned to Togo (West Africa) to work specifically on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In that capacity, Kirstin spent a year at UNICEF, where she worked on a vertical transmission pilot project, coordinated a nation-wide AIDS mural project, and helped write the national strategic plan against AIDS. For her second year of service, she was assigned to an NGO of traditional healers, and worked with them to develop a nationwide series of training on HIV and other tropical diseases, as well as monitoring and evaluation for their organization. It was in this capacity that she discovered her love of teaching. When she returned to the US, she joined Teach for America to enter the teaching profession, and taught high school biology in Newark, NJ for her two years of service. As a robotics coach, she was introduced to the field of engineering, and immediately sought opportunities to teach those courses at the high school level. She and her husband moved to South Carolina in 2005, and she began teaching science and engineering at Keenan High School at that time. She joined the R2i2 family in 2016 because its educational philosophy resonated with her beliefs that students should be the drivers of their educational experience. She loves that R2i2 provides "endless possibilities" to make high school education meaningful and relevant: "Our students are able to not just dream about changing the world, but are taking concrete steps to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our society. It is a real privilege to facilitate their progress, and I am honored to be a part of it." Kirstin's favorite quote is: "The question, O me! so sad, recurring - What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here- that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." -Walt Whitman, O Me! O Life!, Leaves of Grass
Dipali Vaughan immigrated to Columbia from London, UK where she lived for over 25 years. Dipali grew up in Kenya where she completed her middle school, she then moved to the UK to continue her high school studies and obtained a BA in Decorative Arts from Nottingham Trent University. She has a broad and varied career history from working in the retail industry as a visual merchandiser and sales manager, to managing an art gallery and working with art publishers and contemporary artists from around the world, to an exciting career in design and manufacturing working as a toy designer and product developer. While working as a toy designer she lived in Hong Kong for almost 3 years working directly with toy manufacturers and suppliers. This diverse experience in industry gave her a solid platform on which to build her teaching career. She completed a Teach First Leadership Development programme and obtained her postgraduate teaching certification in Design & Technology from Canterbury Christ Church University and a Masters in Leadership from University College London. Dipali has worked at R2i2 as a long-term substitute. What she loves most about R2i2 is that it provides students amazing opportunities to explore their capabilities and release their potential. The courses are designed to broaden student’s horizons, teachers foster a love for learning and nurture achievement and students strive to be the best that they can be. She is very excited to be joining the team and looks forward to working with students from all the Richland Two high schools. One of Dipali’s favorite quotes is: “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be” - Rita Pierson
Thank you to LS3P, designers of R2I2 (Richland Two Institute of Innovation), for providing the Revit file for our students to create this video.
A 21st Century Learning Environment
Our innovative space was designed with flexibility in mind. R2i2 can adapt to changing programs, evolving technologies, and future expansion. Classrooms have garage door access and offer open areas for project-based student activities. There is access to outdoor learning areas, and an “incubator” space that allows students an opportunity to interface with business partners and professionals to work on real-world business challenges.
The unique design includes many strategies for sustainability. Some of these features are a rooftop solar array, shading devices on the east and south façade, a solar tree and wind generator, an underground cistern, and a solar hot water thermal system. Our campus also includes a stand-alone “Next Energy Lab” with a solar farm.
Organizational Constitution/Strategic Plan
R2i2’s strategic plan follows the district Four Squares of Learning, Character, Community, and Joy. In addition we build around our five pillars of innovation: Creativity, Collaboration, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Global Impact.