Our TFASC Teachers and Alumni
Catalysts for Educational Equity and Systems Change
The earth constantly changes. Tectonic activity shifts continents and shakes the foundations of cities.
The education system in South Carolina sees its foundations shifting too.
The pandemic. The Great Resignation. Politics. Demographics. Racial equity.
By transforming student outcomes and improving communities with intentionality, Teach For America South Carolina (TFASC) is successfully navigating these shifts.
The Covid crisis offers a striking example.
“Our teachers ran toward the pandemic-related challenges instead of accepting this climate as a potential excuse for low student performance,” said TFASC Executive Director Troy D. Evans.
As a result, more than 90 percent of principals said that TFASC teachers were effective at delivering instruction and maintained a positive learning environment.
It will take such fearlessness, commitment, and purpose to raise the bar for educational performance in South Carolina … where change is long overdue.
The state ranks 42nd in Pre-K to 12 education in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, during the 2021-2022 school year, approximately 6,900 educators did not return to a teaching position in the same school district – a 16 percent increase from the previous year (CERRA).
Evans considers TFASC teachers to be change agents.
“Our teachers demonstrate leadership skills, a deep belief in the potential of every child, a strong record of academic achievement, an understanding and respect of other perspectives, and perseverance in the face of challenges,” he said.
Proof? Sixty-three percent of TFASC educators continued teaching beyond their initial two-year commitment.
Deion Jamison returned. He has made a difference in the lives of historically underserved students at Legacy Early College High School in Greenville, S.C.
“Initially, I thought I would leave the classroom after two years,” said Jamison, who teaches ninth- and tenth-grade English. “But during my second year of teaching, something clicked. Because I looped up with my seventh-grade students from my first year of teaching, I could readily see the impact that I was making the following year with my eighth-grade students and their families. We achieved amazing results, and I saw my students become leaders in our community. I knew then that the classroom was where I needed to be.”
Jamison’s creativity and innovation are being celebrated. He was honored as the “2023 South Carolina Teacher of the Year” and with Teach For America (TFA)’s “Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award.”
There are many TFASC teachers like Jamison. Since 2011, more than 900 TFASC teachers and alumni have inspired hope and broadened horizons for more than 65,000 students at schools with the greatest needs.
TFA alumni continue to make an impact by becoming lifelong advocates for educational equity and systems change.
Anna Mims and Jared Hove are TFA alumni who taught together in the Mississippi Delta. They fell in love, married, traveled the world teaching English, then settled in Charleston – both staying in education.
Mims is the principal at Mt. Zion Elementary School. Hove works with Teach For All, an organization focused on changing the status quo for children by improving leadership in education around the world.
“Every child deserves a great school,” said Mims. “We believe that’s the best thing we can give them. That’s what keeps us coming in every day.”
“It was true when I was in Mississippi, and it’s true now,” said Hove. “Teaching is vital to community life in our country, and we simply cannot have enough great people to do that demanding and unappreciated work.”
Evans sees purpose in change. After all, a teacher’s job is building another human being. Is there a higher calling?
“We’re working as a community to help solve the educational challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Evans. “Working together, we can make change constantly for the better.”
“TFASC is only in existence because of our teachers and alumni who are making positive change in the schools and communities they serve,” he added. “During our 10-year anniversary celebration, we wanted to shine the brightest spotlight on them.”