Anderson District 3's Jeffrey Maxey named SC Teacher of the Year - FOX Carolina 21

Anderson District 3's Jeffrey Maxey named SC Teacher of the Year

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Jeffrey Maxey (Source: SCED) Jeffrey Maxey (Source: SCED)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate teacher was honored with this year's South Carolina Teach of the Year award on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Maxey, a Special Education Resource teacher at Starr Elementary in Anderson School District Three, was given the award at a ceremony in Columbia. He was among the top 5 finalists.

According to South Carolina Department of Education, Maxey also serves as the Special Education Department Head, District Teacher Trainer, District Evaluator, and a Master Teacher Mentor.  Maxey, who originally pursued a career in ministry, has been named Teacher of the Year in two separate schools, along with being named Anderson School District Three Teacher of the Year. 

"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.”

Anderson District 3 Superintendent Kathy Hipp said Maxey is a standout teacher who goes the extra mile to help his students learn.

"You can tell how much they appreciate him and how much they love him because they respond to him. You go into his classroom and there’s constant interaction. There’s smiles," Hipp said. "He’s the type of teacher that looks at each individual student and tries to decide how to help that student reach their fullest potential.”

The South Carolina Department of Education shared more details about Maxey's career on their website:

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.  Mr. Maxey has been named Teacher of the Year in two separate schools, along with being named Anderson School District Three Teacher of the Year. Jeffrey 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.  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.

On Tuesday, the Starr-Iva community held a parade in Maxey's honor. The streets were lined with students, teachers, parents and people from around the area, showing their appreciation for a job well done.

"It’s not about anything I’ve done by myself. It’s about the things that everybody has done. It’s about the things that we’ve done as a community. This is an award for all of us," Maxey said.

For being named one of the five finalists, Maxey will be awarded $10,000. For being crowned overall winner, Maxey will receive $25,000 and will be provided a brand new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 48,000 educators," said SC Education Department.

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