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Anderson Co. Special Education teacher named SC Teacher of the Year

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH)-- A Anderson man has been named the South Carolina Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.

Jeffrey Maxey is a Special Education Resource teacher at Starr Elementary in Anderson School District Three. He also serves as the Special Education Department Head, District Teacher Trainer, District Evaluator, and a Master Teacher Mentor.

“Jeff’s commitment to his students is evident by just walking into his classroom,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “His innovative approach to finding student’s passions has led to their success and is a model to be replicated across our state.”

Mr. Maxey originally pursued a career as a minister. While serving in that he pastored a funeral for a young student. Afterwards he was invited to a classroom of senior students to help them cope with the loss of a classmate.

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.

“Jeff Maxey is an exemplary professional educator who believes that his life calling is to teach. He exemplifies this through his daily interactions with students by providing a differentiated, innovative, challenging learning environment,” said Kathy Hipp, superintendent of Anderson School District 3. “He collaborates with other teachers to eliminate barriers to learning and considers it his greatest accomplishment when each student meets his or her individual goals. The Anderson District 3 family congratulates Jeff on achieving this recognition. His reputation as an advocate for students, valuable colleague to other educators, and servant-leader in the community make him the ideal teacher to represent Anderson District 3 and the state of South Carolina as the State Teacher of the Year.”

As the winner Jeffery received $25,000 and a brand new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring. He will also attend speaking engagements, work with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serve as the state spokesperson for over 48,000 educators.

The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on the district, state, and national level. The Teacher of the Year Awards not only assists in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool to the educator profession

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