Tuesday night, the Horry County School District announced its 2019-2020 teacher of the year. This, in the midst of the tumultuous time in education reform and the planned teacher rally Wednesday.
Shannon Jesequel is Horry County School’s 2019-2020 teacher of the year.
“The reason we sing and we dance and we cheer and we chant is not just for fun, even though it is a lot of fun,” she said. “It is because we are building a safe learning space and we are a family.”
The Horry County School District has been preparing for Tuesday night’s teacher of the year event since October, and got all the way down to five finalists.
Those finalists were Terry Filippo, an English teacher at the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology, Shannon Jesequel, who teaches 5th grade at Conway Elementary, Jody Rabon, who teaches 5th grade at Pee Dee Elementary, Jennifer Zhang, who teaches mathematics at the HCS Scholars Academy, and Henry Wortley, who teaches biology at St. James High School.
“I think these five made an impact on not only their students, but the students that are not even in their classrooms,” said Horry County Board of Education chairman Ken Richardson. “They’ve made an impact on the schools that they represent.”
Jesequel credits the hardships she went through as a child for her ability to have a good eye and ear for things too difficult for her students to discuss.
Now, she teaches fifth grade at Conway Elementary, and had a message for her students.
“You are a daily reminder of what is good and pure in the world,” she said. “You make me strive to be the best version of myself and you bring so much joy and so much purpose to my life.”
Teachers will rally for education reform at Wednesday’s #AllOutMay1 in Columbia, but Richardson says that’s not something they were thinking of Tuesday night.
“Tonight is a night about the five finalists,” he said. “This is their night. This is not about us. You know, there’s a lot of people that were nominated. To make the top five, that’s a big thing.”
Jesequel just completed her Masters degree in Literacy from East Carolina University, just in time to receive this award.
She will go on to compete for the title of South Carolina teacher of the year.