From College of Charleston to Academic Dean: Kady Preston

Story by Jen Jordan / February 13, 2024

At which Meeting Street School do you teach?

Meeting Street Academy – Charleston (Go Owls!)

When and why did you decide to be a teacher?

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to change the world. However, the way in which I planned to do so changed as I grew. In full transparency, when I decided to go to college for teaching, I planned on taking my degree back to Pennsylvania to work at the elementary school I went to as a kid. Then as a senior in college, I was a part of a leadership group that took me to Washington, D.C. and revealed the side of education that I had never seen; the side that was littered with inequity and predetermined trajectories of success based on a child’s zip code. I remember the physical feeling of the fire being ignited in me which told me equity in education was the way I would help change the world.

Where did you go to school?

I went to College of Charleston for my undergraduate degree and Columbia University for my master’s.

Where did you do your student teaching and what did you take away from that experience?

I student taught in Berkeley County in a second grade classroom. I think the number one thing I learned was that no matter how many classes I took at school, no matter how incredible my professors were, and no matter how much time I spent reading every book on education possible, nothing could prepare me for teaching more than actually doing it. I had to teach, get feedback, and do it again to really be the best for my kids.

How did you decide which school you would teach at after graduating?

During my senior year of college, my friends and I devoted our time to the Eastside of Downtown Charleston. We lived in the community, built strong relationships with our neighbors through weekly dinners in our home, and eventually took ownership of the neighborhood laundromat (shout out Laundry Matters!). I knew right away that I wanted to then teach in the neighborhood that I lived in and loved. I saw right away the shortcomings of our education system. I knew that if I was going to continue on my mission of changing the world, I needed to do so in a place where I would be consistently pushed to be better for the kids, and where I would be surrounded by people who had a mission and mindset like mine.

Which school(s) did you teach at before coming to Meeting Street Schools?

Sanders-Clyde Elementary

How did you find out about Meeting Street Schools?

I was a part of various education organizations in Charleston and during my first year teaching, Dirk Bedford, the old principal of MSA, reached out!

What was your first impression/experience at Meeting Street Schools?

“This is what every child deserves.”

What makes Meeting Street Schools different, and/or why did you decide to work for Meeting Street Schools, and what keeps you here?

I love visiting schools; whenever I am in a new city and I have some extra time, I try to find a school in the area that is doing something different. So often I find that there is this narrow view of what is possible for kids. There is always someone or something to blame for why a child “can’t”, but at MSS, we don’t do excuses. While information on the student is important, we know that the things that a student comes into school with are not determining factors on what they can accomplish. We know that the one greatest influence on a student’s success is the teacher in the classroom and WE are the ones that cause learning. It’s up to us. No excuses.

What is your current position at Meeting Street Schools? Describe the journey from first starting at MSS to where you are now.

I am currently the K-2 Academic Dean! I went from teaching fifth grade at Sanders-Clyde, to teaching Pre-K, then to first grade, and now I’m here. MSA is my favorite place, and I truly feel that I have the greatest job in the world.

What career goals are you still working towards?

I don’t know what is next but I do know that no matter what, “Is it best for kids?” will be the question that guides me.


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About Meeting Street Schools

Meeting Street Schools (MSS) is an innovative non-profit where schools, families, and the community collaborate to create environments where all children can achieve their full potential. With a network of schools across South Carolina, including MSA-Charleston (Charleston, SC), MSA-Spartanburg (Spartanburg, SC), MS-Brentwood (North Charleston, SC), MS-Burns (North Charleston, SC), and MS-Jasper & Beaufort (Jasper, SC), we are committed to providing students with the rigorous education they deserve.

Founded on the principle that every child deserves an excellent education regardless of their socio-economic background, Meeting Street Schools has been a beacon of hope and a testament to what's possible in education. Our schools are driven by a strong focus on student achievement, evidence-based instruction, and relentless support of our students and their families.

While united by our shared mission, each MSS campus, is unique in its character, tapping into the local spirit of the communities they serve. Explore each of our schools and discover how they're creating a brighter future for students in South Carolina.

News & NotesFrom Clemson University to Master Teacher and Player Coach: Emily Godwin

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Our Schools

MSA – CharlestonDowntown Charleston, SC - Independent School - Since 2008 - 364 Students

Nestled in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, MSA Charleston is more than just a school—it’s a hub for innovative learning and community engagement. As part of the Meeting Street Schools network, MSA Charleston embodies a commitment to excellence through its rigorous academic programs, inclusive culture, and focus on developing the whole child. With a curriculum that emphasizes both academic and personal growth, MSA Charleston prepares students to be curious learners and active citizens of their community.

MSA – SpartanburgDowntown Spartanburg, SC - Public School - Since 2012 - 323 Students

MSA Spartanburg stands as a pillar of educational innovation in the Spartanburg community. The school’s dedicated educators and supportive learning environment ensure that each child receives a high-quality, personalized education with exceptional faculty and teachers. MSA Spartanburg is distinguished by its emphasis on community partnership, fostering relationships that extend beyond the classroom to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and success.

MS – BrentwoodNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2014 - 694 Students

MS Brentwood is a place where education meets opportunity. Serving the Brentwood area, this school is a testament to the transformative power of education. With a student-centered approach that celebrates diversity and encourages excellence, MS Brentwood is dedicated to equipping students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. MS Brentwood also serves as a hub for the Brentwood community to access educational and wellness services. The school’s commitment to innovation, coupled with a warm, welcoming environment, makes it a standout in the MSS network.

MS – BurnsNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2018 - 478 Students

Located in a community rich with history and culture, MS Burns is renowned for its dynamic educational approach that intertwines traditional learning with modern teaching techniques. The school’s focus on experiential learning ensures that students at MS Burns are not only recipients of knowledge but also active participants in their educational journey. MS Burns exists to spark an educational revolution for the students and families in the Dorchester-Waylyn Neighborhood in North Charleston. With a commitment to creating a supportive and challenging academic environment, MS Burns is forging a new path in public education.

MS – Jasper & BeaufortJasper County, SC - Public Charter School - Fall 2023 -

MS Jasper represents the Meeting Street Schools’ dedication to community-based education with a global perspective. The school provides a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to explore their potential and cultivate a love for learning. With its diverse programs such as Eureka Math, and Wit and Wisdom, MS Jasper puts a major emphasis on character development, specialized learning and equips students to become thoughtful, engaged members of society, reflecting the MSS ethos of empowerment through education.


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“Meeting Street Academy is my family. They taught me that I am valuable. I am an asset to the world…They asked me, ‘What is your dream?’ I had never been asked that before. The MSS community gives me the strength to pursue my dreams.”

— Kadelyn SteedStudent

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“We come into work everyday truly believing that our students are capable of achieving anything that is put in front of them. Here at MSS, students are provided the opportunity to achieve success through the facilitation of well-educated teachers, resources, and a responsive classroom school environment.”

— NikToshia GilesTeacher

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“MSA is a family. Once you’re in, you’re in. They said they would follow our kids from K-3 to college and they actually lived up to what they said they would do. Not only did MSA challenge my daughter academically but it also exposed her to new things that she probably wouldn’t have been exposed to at our previous neighborhood school. Our journey at MSA was exciting and rewarding. They actually walk the walk.”

— Tyeka GrantParent