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This profile was last updated on 2/5/13  and contains information from public web pages.

Ralph R. Porter

Wrong Ralph R. Porter?

Executive Director

CHOiCES Charter School

Employment History

  • Police Chief
  • Chief of Police
    City of Florence

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Founder
    CHOiCES Charter School
  • Active Member
    FBI National Academy Graduates Association
  • Active Member
    Central United Methodist Church
  • Founder


  • undergraduate degree
24 Total References
Web References
Choices Executive Director, Ralph ..., 5 Feb 2013 [cached]
Choices Executive Director, Ralph Porter, said an error caused a lapse in the charter renewal process and by the fall, school officials had to work to try to get school district officials on board with a charter renewal.
Porter said the community and many representatives from the school district, clearly recognized the services provided by Choices for the past 12 years and wanted to find a way to ensure that those services continued.
"We've never had any criticisms, the state never cited any policy violations...we've never had any incidents whatsoever in 12 years from the State Department of Education or the local was simply a matter of was our charter going to be renewed? Porter said.
Porter said Florence School District One officials decided to not only renew the existing charter, but to extend it for the next decade.
"What it says is that the district and the citizens of our community, decided that this was a necessary program," Porter said.
School Administration - Darlington County School District, 19 Nov 2012 [cached]
Ralph Porter
FLORENCE - The Boys & Girls ..., 1 Aug 2010 [cached]
FLORENCE - The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area honored Ralph Porter as their 2010 Champion for Youth on Tuesday night. Porter already knew he was set to receive that award during a ceremony at Florence-Darlington Technical College's Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology in Florence. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area chose him to get the honor for founding and running CHOiCES alternative school as well as his service as a former Florence police chief. Porter said receiving this award was a humbling and honoring experience. "I like the feeling it (volunteering with youth) gives me. It's very satisfying," he said. "A lot of the kids, when you work with them, don't appreciate it initially, but a couple years later they'll come back and they say how much it meant to them." But Porter was surprised to also receive the state's highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, during Tuesday night's event. Porter served for 30 years in a variety of law enforcement positions in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and South Carolina. After leaving his position as Florence police chief in 2000, he founded the CHOiCES, which boasts an 85 percent success rate in helping youth who are unable to continue in their assigned schools for a variety of reasons, according to the Boys & Clubs. CHOiCES targets students 12 to 17 who have been dismissed from or who have dropped out of school. Its overall goal is to have each student in the program attend school and perform at or above the learning/grade levels of students in Florence District 1 or the Darlington County School District. Porter also is an active member of many local, state, and national organizations, including Central United Methodist Church, Florence Kiwanis Club, the S.C. Charter Schools Association and the FBI National Academy Graduates Association, according to the Boys & Clubs. Ben Ward and Harvey Senseney, who have known Porter for more 20 years, said they both agree he deserves the accolades. "Ralph has never been one to stand back and let other people do the work.
Porter said he couldn't have accomplished all he has without the support of his wife, Marlene. The Champion for Youth, now in its seventh year, is awarded to a community member who has done a great deal for the youth of the region. The Boys & Girls Clubs takes nominations for the award each spring.
August 4, 2010 - Former Florence police chief, school founder to receive honor
CHOiCES Former Florence Police Chief Ralph Porter, founder of CHOiCES Charter School, left, talks to Dr. William McColl on the school's campus Tuesday as Porter works to prepare the campus for the start of the 2010-2011 school year, Aug. 16. Former Florence Police Chief Ralph Porter, founder of CHOiCES Charter School, left, talks to Dr. William McColl on the school's campus Tuesday as Porter works to prepare the campus for the start of the 2010-2011 school year, Aug. 16.
Porter will be honored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee as its Champion for Youth on Aug. 17.
FLORENCE - Ralph Porter will be honored Aug. 17 with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee's Champion for Youth tribute. Porter, 62, is being singled out because of his vision and hard work in founding and running CHOiCES alternative school as well as his service as a former Florence police chief. Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Neal Zimmerman said he met Porter 15 years ago when he came to town. "Ralph was the police chief then and was concerned about what kids were doing in the community," Zimmerman said.
"The education received by these students should transition them to become lifelong learners," Porter said. "We want to provide a foundation of continuous learning through classroom instruction, service learning and project-based learning." Porter can list a litany of accomplishments by CHOiCES, but he's not one to blow his own horn. "I feel humbled about receiving this high honor from the Boys and Girls Club of the Pee Dee," he said, "but I don't see myself as making that much of a contribution. I'm doing what I love to do." He said what he does at the charter school is not for honor or credit because God deserves all the credit. But God isn't alone. "I've got a great wife, staff and volunteers," he said. "Everybody contributes to the success of our program. God told me he would provide and he has, especially those who support and understand our mission." Porter said CHOiCES provides a quality education that allows students many options.
Meanwhile, Porter is up to the challenges that the charter school faces. He was the Florence police chief from 1984 to 2000. He was 35 when he was named chief. But his preparation for the challenges of life began in earnest when he joined the Navy in 1968 after a year of college. He spent four years as a Navy diver. Among his responsibilities was taking bombs apart, or as Porter described it, "wild and crazy." Porter went back to college after the Navy. He earned an undergraduate degree and was working on a master's when he left to become a police chief in a small town in New Mexico.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Honoree is the perfect choice Published: August 01, 2010;
Dear Editor: Congratulations to Mr. Ralph R. Porter on being named the 2010 Champion for Youth. I cannot think of a more deserving honoree. I have known Ralph Porter since he came to Florence in 1983 to serve as Chief of Police for the City of Florence. Mr. Porter's caring and professionalism has been evident in everything that he has been involved in throughout the Florence community, from his former role as Florence's Chief of Police to his involvement in the Florence Kiwanis Club, Central United Methodist Church and CHOiCES Charter School. Ralph also serves as a volunteer chef for the Central United Methodist Men's group and he is known though out our community as a person that goes out of his way to help others. After retiring as Chief of Police in 2000, Ralph grappled for a way to help youth who were struggling within the school system and unable to become productive members of their community. After much prayer, he decided to create a new solution; the CHOiCES Charter School which he founded and he continues to lead. This school now boasts an 85% success rate in helping youth from Florence and Darlington Counties who have been unable to continue in their assigned schools for a variety of reasons. I am proud to serve on the CHOiCES board of directors under this dedicated and visionary leader. I encourage both businesses and individuals in our community to join me in recognizing Ralph Porter as this year's Champion for Youth by attending the tribute in his honor on Aug. 17. He has directly impacted many lives in the Florence community and I encourage you to be a part of this tribute to honor him. Tickets are available through the Boys & Girls Club at 662-1142. Please mark this date on your calendar to be a part of a special evening honoring Mr. Porter.
Choices Executive Director, ..., 23 Oct 2012 [cached]
Choices Executive Director, Ralph Porter, said he founded the school to fill a need in the community, and said over the past decade, Choices has provided life-changing experiences for numerous students who could not or would not have succeeded in public schools.
Recently though, those charters lapsed, and now Porter says he's discovered that the Darlington County School District announced that it has no plans to renew its charter and continue on in a relationship with the school.
"It's kind of personal with me because I've got my life invested in this and I don't see why anybody would be against this program, I mean, we're just taking the children that they weren't able to do anything with, at least temporarily, and try to help them get back on track so the school district can take them back and do what they were commissioned to do," Porter said of the district's decision.
Darlington County School District officials say they made the decision to not renew the charter, based on a series of factors, the most pressing of which was the fact that they felt they would be duplicating services by continuing on in a relationship with the charter school.
In addition, Darlington County School District officials cited the fact that the teachers at Choices were not certified teachers and said that they felt that the needs of students who would fit into "alternative" programs were already being met by the district's offerings.
Porter said he doesn't quite understand why the district would choose to terminate the relationship after the period of time in which they've worked closely with the school, and said that he hopes officials in Florence School District One will continue to see the immense benefits offered by the Choices program.
"If we're not a public charter school, I guess the question is, where are these kids going to go? I still think that they need to be somewhere, I don't know what we'll become...I don't know if we'll become a private school or no school at all, but the need is going to still exist whether we're doing this or not," Porter said.
He said that if charter agreements are not continued with either district, the school could potentially seek charter agreements and funding through the state, or could even potentially become a private institution.
Porter also said though, that his hopes are that charter agreements will, in fact, be renewed and that officials at Choices can continue on with the mission they've set out to accomplish over the past decade.
South Carolina Now ( - News - Charter school receives grant, 1 Sept 2006 [cached]
Bruce and Lee Foundation, CHOiCES director Ralph Porter announced during a press conference Friday.
Porter said the grant brings the contributions from the foundation to $175,000.CHOiCES previously received a $50,000 grant from the foundation to establish the school,s activity center.
The 4,000-square-foot activity center, which Porter said the school began three years ago, will include a kitchen, entertainment room, showers and restrooms.He said the center can be used by the school, churches or other organizations for entertainment.
,We,ve been working on this, praying and requesting for three years,, Porter said. ,So we,re just elated.We,re taking bids now to finish it as soon as possible.,
The structure of the building and the roof, as well as pipes for plumbing, have been installed through a grant from the foundation and other grants and private donations, Porter said.The kitchen appliances and furniture already have been purchased.
CHOiCES Charter School is a public charter school that has partnered with Florence School District 1 and Darlington County School District with a goal to return as many students, who realize they made a mistake and recognize the things they need to change, as they can to traditional schools.
Porter said not all the students have discipline problems, though the original intention of the school was to take students who didn,t have any other school choice because they had been expelled from a traditional school.The Rev. Will Malambri, pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Florence, said CHOiCES is wonderful because children who were running out of options now have another one.
,I,m impressed at the success rate of the students,, Malambri said. ,It serves a great need that some people may have been overlooking.,
The property where CHOiCES is located is owned by Central.Malambri said when Porter approached the church about using the property, he thought it was a great way to use the land to do something to help the community.
,We were thankful that he (Porter) was willing to do that good work and that we had that land to contribute to it,, Malambri said.
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