Central regional director passionate about education
A passion for all levels of education is the driving force for Jim Shelton.
The regional director for Southern Wesleyan University’s adult and graduate studies program in Central, S.C., Shelton is adamant about the importance of all levels of education.
“My work at Southern Wesleyan ties together a lot of my passions. I want to help people improve their lives through higher education,” Shelton said.
In addition to his work at the university, Shelton serves as a trustee for the Pickens County School Board. He has been a trustee for four years, served two years as chairman and is currently vice-chairman.
“I am able to work with students in the elementary level as well as with adults who are interested in improving their education,” Shelton said. “Adult students can become better businesspeople or educators. I am completely sold on our programs.”
Southern Wesleyan offers a variety of degree programs for working adults at its location in Central, including Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Bachelor of Science in Human Services, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education in Classroom Leadership, Master of Education in Administration and Supervision and Master of Science in Management.
“The Southern Wesleyan University experience is Christian-based. I’m confident that the people who graduate from our programs are taking away from here a high-quality education with a Christian perspective,” Shelton said. “We’re taking men and women and changing hundreds of lives, one life at a time. That’s probably one of the single greatest satisfactions that I get.”
Shelton had a number of other careers before beginning his current role as regional director for the adult program at the university’s Central location. He earned his bachelor’s degree in textile engineering at Clemson University, then worked with several textile manufacturing companies. He also worked as a process engineer in the automotive industry and published a newspaper in his hometown, Dacusville, S.C.
“I spent so many years in manufacturing and engineering. It was lucrative, but it wasn’t fulfilling. When I jumped into public service, I was searching for employment in some part of the field of education,” he said.
Shelton is grateful to work with a university that has such a strong economic and social impact, he said.
“Southern Wesleyan University impacts this area spiritually, culturally and economically. Part of what we are is a missions program. When we educate students and send them back into the world to educate others, then they, in turn become missionaries,” Shelton said.
“There are so many cultural events on our campus. Most are open to the public and, in many cases, they are free. We present wonderful events at our Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts building. So many people come here to enjoy offerings from Southern Wesleyan University to the public. That’s part of our mission, too,” he said.
Now is a particularly good time for adults to consider earning a college degree, Shelton said.
“Anytime is a good time to attend Southern Wesleyan, but right now in particular, the degree programs we offer make people more marketable,” he said. “If two applicants are competing for a job and one has that degree and the other doesn’t, we’ve given our graduate a leg up.”
In his free time, Shelton enjoys studying history.
“I’m a real history buff. I love history and I love Carolina. I’m a real Carolina boy,” he said.
Shelton and his wife, Ginger, have two children: John, 23, and Caroline, 15. John is enrolled in the adult program at Southern Wesleyan. The family attends Dacusville United Methodist Church.
Shelton is also active in a number of community groups. He founded the Dacusville Business association in 2006, served two years as president and serves as a board member. Shelton served several years as a board member and president for the Dacusville Little League and currently serves on the board for the Pickens County chapter of the American Red Cross.
In addition to the local school board, Shelton is serving on two statewide boards: the Board of Directors for the South Carolina School Boards Association and the board for the South Carolina School Board Insurance Trust Corporation.
“I enjoy serving on community boards. To me, public service is a calling,” Shelton said. “I hope I do a good job and that people trust my judgment.”