Midlands educator named 2020 SC Teacher of the Year to be honored by governor

Midlands educator named 2020 SC Teacher of the Year to be honored by governor

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - On Thursday, Governor Henry McMaster will honor the state’s new 2020 Teacher of the Year, who teaches in the Midlands!

Chanda Jefferson is a University of South Carolina graduate who teaches biology for ninth through 12th grade at Fairfield Central High School. She was one of five finalists in the running for the 2020 South Carolina Teacher of the year.

Jefferson, who has been teaching for eight years, was announced as the winner during a reception Wednesday night at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. As the winner, the teacher will receive $25,000. That’s on top of the $10,000 she won as a finalist.

Jefferson also now has the keys to a state-owned BMW, as she serves a one-year residency at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement. She got a chance to test out the feel of that BMW Wednesday night.

Her winnings will also include a set of new tires – for once she’s finished with her new ride – and a Jostens ring.

Jefferson said she is thrilled and that the work of every teacher is something to be recognized on a regular basis.

“Each day that we walk through the doors of our schools and classrooms, we positively impact the lives of students and that deserves to be celebrated every day, every day," Jefferson said. "I am so thankful, honored, humbled and blessed to stand before you and the 2020 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.”

Jefferson said teaching wasn’t always in the plan. Initially, she wanted to have a medical career, but fell in love with teaching during her time as a tutor. Jefferson went on to become a student teacher at Keenan High School and she also spent some time at C.A. Johnson High.

With this new title of Teacher of the Year, Jefferson will serve many new roles including an ambassador to teachers. She will also lead the state’s Teacher Forum, participate in the Education Policy Fellowship Program and in Leadership South Carolina, one of the state’s oldest and most respected leadership programs.

During Wednesday night’s ceremony, Jefferson thanked local lawmakers including Senator Mike Fanning, her superintendent Dr. J.R. Green, her family, and gave a special thanks to her students. She also said she wants to empower both student and teachers to take a stand in improving our schools.

“As we move forward, we ask that educators be brought to the table to help revise educational bills and sections with time to research the best solutions and explore potential/unintentional negative impacts so that we can truly create reform that will bring long-lasting benefits to our students, families, teachers, support staff, admin, business and state.”

The governor’s press conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on the first floor of the State House.

Copyright 2019 WIS. All rights reserved.