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Orangeburg native named 1st Black male SC Teacher of the Year

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An Orangeburg native has been named the first Black male S.C. Teacher of the Year.

Deion Jamison (second from right), an English teacher at Legacy Early College in Greenville, is the 2023 S.C. Teacher of the Year. (Photo/Provided)Deion Jamison, an English teacher at Legacy Early College in Greenville, is also the first public school charter teacher to earn the annual award.

S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced Jamison as the winner during a gala Wednesday night at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

“Deion exhibits the qualities and characteristics that we want to see in every current and future South Carolina educator,” Spearman said in a news release. “He is so deserving of this tremendous honor, and I know he will do a fantastic job advocating and representing our over 55,000 teachers this next year.”

A product of Orangeburg County schools and a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, Jamison became interested in teaching as a child — a career choice solidified when he recognized the disparities in education in S.C. school districts. He teaches his students skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving, and his work has been recognized nationally through the National Council of Teachers of English and Teach for America as an Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award recipient.

Jamison is also the recipient of the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award.

He will receive $25,000 and a brand-new BMW for use during a year of roving ambassadorship providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for more than 55,000 educators.

The other four finalists for the award were:

  • Zachary Arms, Liberty High School, School District of Pickens County
  • Jami Guker, Woodruff Middle School, Spartanburg County School District Four
  • Laura Merk, Springfield Middle School, York School District Four (Fort Mill)
  • Thomas Slater, Chestnut Oaks Middle School, Sumter School District

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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