Tennis Advocate of the Year: Nancy McGinley
Recently, Charleston County (S.C.) Public Schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley was visiting one of the district’s schools and the principal proudly showed her the big, new trophy case. “It had one trophy in it,” McGinley says. “The whole school was so excited because their kids had excelled in tennis. That’s what’s exciting to me — to see the joy that playing tennis is bringing to kids.”
A former player for Temple University, McGinley is an avid league player and is the driving force behind why so many kids of all ages are now playing, and loving, tennis in Charleston. And for 2012, she is RSI’s Tennis Advocate of the Year.
“Dr. McGinley has been an amazing partner,” says Barry Ford, the USTA’s director of Public Affairs and Advocacy. “Her passion for the sport and her leadership has galvanized the community around the goal of providing access and opportunity so every kid in Charleston County Public Schools can learn and grow through tennis.”
The district has 45,000 students and 80 schools. Under McGinley’s leadership, CCPS and the USTA began a collaboration in 2010 that has led to the creation of after-school tennis opportunities at 25 of the neediest public schools in the county; the development of a play pathway from after-school Kids’ Clubs to school- and community-supported team tennis opportunities; and the creation of 32 kid-sized courts.
“For me, it’s not just about tennis being physical fitness and a game that teaches rules and sportsmanship and discipline,” McGinley says. “It’s also about social access and opportunity. My goal is to introduce tennis to all students at a young age so they can grow up feeling very comfortable playing and networking and getting to know people.”
Tips for Success
- Don’t hide your passion. McGinley loves tennis, and she isn’t shy about using that passion to propel wellness initiatives.
- Get teachers involved. Four years ago, McGinley started the annual “Superintendent’s Cup” tournament for teachers and last spring nearly 400 participated in the fun day of tennis.
- Communicate the vision, and invite others to help make it a reality. “I didn’t do this alone. I introduced an idea that I saw as an opportunity,” McGinley says.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.