On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced that the 2019 South Carolina Teacher of the Year is Jeff Maxey, a Special Education resource teacher at Starr Elementary School in Anderson School District Three.
"Jeff exhibits the qualities and characteristics that we want to see in every current and future South Carolina educator. He is so deserving of this tremendous honor and I know he will do a fantastic job advocating and representing our over 50,000 teachers this next year," said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
In addition to teaching Special Education, Maxey serves as the Special Education Department Head, District Teacher Trainer, District Evaluator, Master Teacher, and Mentor. Maxey originally pursued a career as a minister. While serving in that role, he pastored a funeral for a young student. Afterwards, he received an invitation to visit the classrooms of the student’s senior class to help them understand their loss. It was during this experience that he became inspired to become a teacher. Jeffrey’s grandparents instilled a love of games and puzzles that required logic, such as Backgammon and Chess. “I am reminded of those puzzles and the logic of those games as I desire to impact the lives of students with special needs. Like creative puzzles or multifaceted games, each student has many intricate designs within. My goal is to help them discover what is inside, then let it out.” This desire put him on a path to teach inner-city middle school students, then to North Africa for eight years to teach educators as the National Director of Education and Training for a non-government organization, and finally to South Carolina.
As part of the state Teacher of the Year awards program, Maxey receives $25,000 and a brand new BMW for one year.
Considered one of the country's strongest, the South Carolina Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a district, state, and national level. These awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool.
The South Carolina Teacher of the Year completes a one-year residency at CERRA while serving the state as an education ambassador. In this role he will provide mentoring, attend speaking engagements, work with Teacher Cadets and Teaching Fellows, lead the State Teacher Forum, and serve as the state spokesperson for over 50,000 educators.
Learn more about The Teacher of the Year program.