Who We Are

Who We Are

Pickens County First Steps is a local non-profit that uses state, federal, and private funds to support programs that measurably improve school readiness outcomes for children. We achieve this through programs and partnerships with public and private organizations—including churches, schools, neighborhoods, childcare providers, and businesses. Our goal is to support families as their children’s first and most important teachers, to ensure children enter school on track and ready to succeed.

South Carolina First Steps was established in 1999 by the South Carolina General Assembly to close the gap on student’s preparedness for success in school.

Meet Our Team

Amity Buckner

Executive Director

Amity has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Winthrop University and a Master in Education from the University of South Carolina. She holds SC educator certifications in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood. She is also a certified trainer with SC Endeavors. As an early childhood educator and advocate for more than 25 years, with over a decade in the 4K and 5K classroom, Amity has a passion for the importance of early childhood experiences. She joined First Steps in 2010 and has served as their Executive Director since 2013. Her commitment to early learning has been recognized on the state and local level. She was named the 2016 Rhonda Corley Friend of Children Award by the SC Early Childhood Association, as well as the 2016 Community Partner of the Year by the United Way of Pickens County. Amity also serves as an adjunct instructor for the Early Care and Education program at Tri-County Technical College. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, thrifting, adventuring with her family and a good cup of strong coffee. Amity and her husband, Michael, have three adult children.

Marian Vischer

Communications Director

Marian has Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science, Economics, and History, plus an M.A. in History. She has taught at the University of Kentucky and Southern Wesleyan University. After leaving the college classroom to raise her three young children, she taught a weekly preschool class and worked in curriculum development. In her role as Strategic Communications Director for Pickens County First Steps, Marian creates content for blog posts, newsletters, and publications, keeps the websites current, manages social media platforms, runs the BrightByText messaging program, and staffs community events. She also works as a freelance writer. Marian and her husband, Lance, have two college-aged children and a high-schooler.

Our Board of Directors currently meets on the second Thursday of every other month, September-May.

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5 fun, simple, powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life

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