Jefferson Named 2020 South Carolina Teacher of the Year

Story by: Gerell LawhorneStudent Journalist
SC TOY 2019-2020, Chanda Jefferson

Chanda Jefferson is the 2020 South Carolina Teacher of the Year. Jefferson is a third-year Biology teacher at Fairfield Central High School. A native of Beech Island, South Carolina, Jefferson received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina (USC). She furthered her studies at USC, receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching and is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in Public School Leadership.

“As a child, I enjoyed playing school with my nieces, nephews, and cousins. I always took the role of teacher,” Jefferson said. Ms. Jefferson’s platform is forming relationships and lighting the way towards achievement for students across South Carolina. “Each year, teachers receive students from all walks of life, and it is our job to teach them. Some students enter our classrooms with a village of support, while others enter alone. Yet, no matter how they arrive to our classrooms, we must build relationships with them, engage them, and show them that we care. All students will face challenging situations, hardships, and confusion, but in the midst of varying degrees of adversity, teachers have the power to show them how knowledge, uniqueness, and individual interests can empower them and create endless possibilities in life,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson will receive a total of $25,000 and is provided with a brand new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 50,000 educators.