Spearman names 2019 Teacher of the Year
by Staff Reports | May 6, 2018 12:12 pm
Last Updated: May 7, 2018 at 8:46 am
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced Thursday 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 3.
“Jeff exhibits the qualities and characteristics that we want to see in every current and future South Carolina educator,” said Spearman. “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.”
In addition to teaching special education, Maxey serves as the special education department head, district teacher trainer, district evaluator and a master teacher 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. He said his 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,” Maxey said. “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.