LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michael Delaney

Position: Principal
School: Carolina High Academy
School District: Greenville County Schools
City, State: Greenville, SC

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Music that Describes Michael

Michael Delaney was nominated by his colleague, Teri Brinkman.

Mr. Delaney has built a culture of trust, respect, and nurturing at Carolina High Academy, a public school in Greenville, South Carolina. Carolina is located in the part of town with all the worst statistics - the highest crime rate, highest levels of unemployment, lowest home ownership, etc. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Delaney has created a school culture that respects, supports, and uplifts his students. For example, Mr. Delaney knows the birthday of each of his 800+ students. He makes sure he contacts them on their special day to wish them happy birthday and remind them of their potential.  He knows that for many, it's the only birthday wish they will receive.

Many years ago, Mr. Delaney removed the scanner devices from the door of the library. His reasoning was that borrowing a book from the school library is free. These kids are criminalized and doubted enough. Why not show them you trust them to take care of their resources and see how it goes? Today, the library resources remain intact.

Mr. Delaney opens up the school almost every day, including weekends, holidays, etc. He knows that for many of his students, school is the one safe place they have to go. On the weekends, you can often find him in the gym playing basketball with students, handing our advice, or just listening.

His approach and tagline, "Whatever it takes!" has made a difference.  The Carolina High graduation rate has climbed from 55% in 2011 to as high as 84% in 2018. As an added incentive to stay in school and graduate, Mr. Delaney has students sign a graduation gown pledging their commitment to stay the course.  As seniors, a representative group of students are tasked with designing the graduation gown for that year's ceremony.  Each year, a giant unveiling of the gown design takes place in May, with parents or other adults important in the lives of students visiting the school to see students receive their graduation gowns. The design of the gown is generally symbolic of that particular class and honors their character or unique obstacles they have overcome to achieve success. Many of Mr. Delaney's students are first generation high school graduates. By the time seniors walk out the doors of Carolina High Academy, they know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Mr. Delaney cares for them, believes in them, and will always stand by them.

Comments (15)

Tatyana Hall Posted 3 days ago

Hi! Mr. Delaney, I want to thank you for the kind and genuine person you are. As I did not attend your school but my best friend did. His name is Damion Griffin. He talked highly of you and knew he could turn to you for any and everything. Unfortunately, I and many other loved ones lost Damion almost 2 years ago. Though we know he is in a better place! He sent me to tell you thank you for the years you have given him and many others! We thank you! Warmly, Tatyana Hall

Willow Posted 3 days ago

Best principal ever! I still brag about how awesome of a principal he was. Changed so many lives and understands how people work. I have nothing but respect. - Willow (previously known as Courtney)

JoAnn Delaney Posted over a year ago

I'm so proud of you! You have always put the kids in front. Like you always say you have 800 kids not 800 students, because you act like everyone of them has your last name. You deserve this because of your love and passion for the whole Carolina Community.

Vincent Johnson Posted over a year ago

Well deserved mr Delaney.. inspired me and others for years.. congrats on the things you have done and will continue to do #classof2011

Allison Peake Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on this nomination! It is well-deserved. I both appreciate and try to model myself after many of your leadership qualities - we're so lucky to have you in our community.

Carolina PTSA Community Posted over a year ago

These are just a few comments from Facebook: Tiffany Greene Whitney Omg!!! This is an honor well deserved! Congratulations - Mr Delaney!!!! Lorraine Leigh Congratulations Mr. Delaney! Kay Goodwin Congratulations, Michael! Well deserved! Ryan Flowers Mr Delaney is the GOAT, one of the best men you'll ever meet. The world is a better place in more ways than he or anyone could imagine because of his caring and generosity. I've seen how he can take someone who can't see their own potential and he fosters that greatness in them. His attitude and actions inspire me every day Cathie Raad Sever Awesome Metris Robinson Cain Congratulations! Judy Hendrix Seymore Congratulations!!!! You are an awesome Principal !!!! Lisa Rackley Finley Well deserved Bill Utsey Oorah! Rachel Butler Rachel Butler CONGRATULATIONS Principal Michael Delaney!! Neither I nor my son's attended Carolina but I've seen first hand the life's you changed and the HUGE turnaround with your students. It takes a SPECIAL KIND OF CARE, CONCERN, PASSIONATE AND LOVE TO DO WHAT YOU ARE DOING. YOU HAVE MY VOTE AND BLESSINGS KING! Roy Chamlee I have only met him a couple of times but his positivity and sincere love for his students is obvious to all who meet him and is contagious. Well deserved. Jc Sullivan Love it ???? Patrick Jd Rosamond Hey congrats Mr. Delaney Kuterah La'Trease Singletary Congratulations! Amanda Smith Very deserving! ?? Marjan Lindemans Schoettelkotte So well deserved! Christie W. Klessens Congratulations!?? Lakeshia Rainey Congratulations, Mr. Delaney! So deserving Maria Luisa Mendoza The best! He deserved!! Jalissa Tutt Jalissa Tutt C/o 2014 ! We love you Delaney ! ???????? Citlali López Patel Well deserved!!! Jenica Robinson Dungee My next door neighbor for 10 years. He and Joanne are as awesome as advertised!!! Great people!!!!! Tina Royster Congratulations! Well deserved! Corey Cordless well deserved!!! Andraya Nichols Truly an amazing man , forever the ?? ?? Amanda Saville I am still so thankful to have had him as a teacher he made a huge difference in my life ?? ?????? Gary Blackburn Awesome!!! Congratulations Mr. Delaney!! Melissa Phillips Our sons school played against them last year in one of the only baseball games we had due to COVID-19. This is one awesome man & so is many of his staff. I witnessed the baseball coach encourage and uplift each kid on that team. We made sure to let him know teachers like him make the difference. Kim Johnson Berry You are awesome Mr. Delaney! Trese Pickens I love me some Mr.Delaney not only is he leap years ahead of the other he goes above and beyond . My daughter was so shocked that he made it a point to come tell her happy birthday . My nephew pass like Charity Marie stated above I was shocked to see him and his wife take time out of their lives to come support our family . Mr. Delaney definitely deserves his flowers Now . Congratulations Carolee Cook Dover I worked with Michael for a year at Carolina HS—he was still a math teacher all those years ago. He was the most dedicated person on that staff then and worthy of this honor now. Carole Harris Congratulations, Mr. Delaney! You are a blessing! Stephanie Bayne Crain Awesome!!! Jhonny Aguilar Every day I push myself to better my self, thanks to this amazing human being. I will never forget the speeches he would give, beacuse he knew every single one in that room has potential to do something great in there life. “When I say jump don’t jump ask how high” Diana Buczek White So well-deserved! Christi Jones- McNeill This man truly embodies the servant leader! Definitely deserving of this honor!! Charity Marie He is awesome principal. My cousin passed away last year and he was one of his students years ago however he made a point to show his respect and attended his funeral. He is truly one of a kind. Chuck Saylors Truly deserved! Veronica Smith Just amazing! Marie Yawn He is a great principal an my daughter loved him him when she was there Carolina Escobedo Ramirez I have Mr Delaney to thank for my success ?? very well deserved recognition! Congratulations Sheila Botkin Congrats I’ve heard very good things about this man Anthony Glenn C-TRAIN???? Angelica Hill Incredible! Jane Reynolds Petrilli He’s just amazing! This is well deserved. Oddreeyuh Smith GOATED ????

Dolores Dugan Posted over a year ago

Delighted you’re being recognized for the remarkable person you are! WTG! ??

Sherri Everett Tommie Posted over a year ago

Congratulations! You have accomplished a lot with the students, and they believe in you! Students need a loving, caring, and trusting environment at school. Member of the Class of 1977

Ryan Flowers Posted over a year ago

Mr. Delaney is not just a good principal, but a truly good man. He works so hard for his students because he genuinely cares about their wellbeing and seeing them succeed, even and especially when they can't see it happening themselves. He's made such a positive impact on so many students and the world is a better place every day because of his caring and generosity.

Helen Fowler Posted over a year ago

Michael Delaney is a blessing to Carolina High Academy.

Carroll Luck Posted over a year ago

Michael, Congratulations! If I had known this before I introduced you this morning, I would have mentioned it. Thanks for sharing your stories. I have had several emails from members who were so impressed with how you showed how On Track is put into practice after Burke and Edward defined it.

Catherine Moore Posted over a year ago

I wanna thank you for everything you did for my son Leron! You are truly an amazing principal! You deserve everything that comes your way ??

Barbara Urban Posted over a year ago

Congrats Mike on the nomination and good luck!

Aleatha Dendy Posted over a year ago

You were the difference. Twix Dendy to this day says you got her through. Thanks is not enough. I pray that you continue to bless many more.

Lora Booher Posted over a year ago

Well deserved sir!