Teach for America originally began as an idea that came from the senior thesis of a Princeton student in 1989.
The idea was that she could help launch a national teaching corps that would serve in high-needs schools. The program was grossly underestimated when it was first launched 27 years ago, but has since expanded throughout the United States since it began in 1989.
Manning High School was one of the first schools in South Carolina to hire TFA as an unknown industry. Clarendon School District 2 is the 43rd site to join with TFA, and 2017-18 marks the seventh school year since the partnership began in 2011.
Teach for America Executive Director Josh Bell said District 2 has been one of the program’s most successful longtime partners. He said though the program has been around for more than two decades, South Carolina was not initially familiar with it.
“Manning has been a phenomenal partner and we have seen some remarkable teachers who have been a part of Manning High for the last few years,” said Bell. “The district-wide school Teacher of the Year, Tess Curry, is a TFA alumnus. After a two-year commitment, our teachers may pursue what they like, but most pursue school leadership positions.”
TFA has set up a staff of 18 in South Carolina as a non-profit program, and are working to recruit, train, support and provide leadership development. The corp’s two leading offices where coaching is provided are in Florence and North Charleston.
The corp’s new recruits are connected with schools across the country after going through the admission process. The selected applicants are the those candidates who the company believes will one day have the highest potential in leadership.
“Our company provides selected applicants with training and support, as well as help with meeting the necessary certification requirements for the state,” Bell said. “After training the applicant will in return, commit to two years of service as a full-time teacher to TFA. They are still, however, provided with ongoing broader professional developmental classroom coaching.”