Upstate teacher retiring after 41 years with Spartanburg district 3

Denise Lowery started working with the district in 1981
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:40 PM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 9:52 AM EDT
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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Denise Lowery is a 3rd grade teacher at Cannons Elementary School. Her passion to educate young minds sparked when young girl. After 41 years, she’s dismissing class for the last time.

She started working with Spartanburg County School District 3 in 1981.

Denise told us she would play school as a child.

“I have loved teaching from the time that I was old enough to hold a piece of chalk in my hand,” she remembers.

That passion carried into her adult life. The veteran teacher encourages and motivates her students to be their best at all time. Her expectations of students are high. Some days the love Denise gives is tough, others will be gentle.

“Set a goal, make a plan, and you can do it,” Lowery explained.

An elementary teacher is more than the given title. Some days she has to be a counselor, bestfriend, parent, and more.

“It takes patience,” she said.

“She’s super kind and funny,” Madalyn Cash, a student said. “One time we came to school and she just rhyming all kinds of things.”

Denise says she could teach for ten more years, but there’s a greater calling that must be answered.

“My mom got very sick this past winter and she needs me,” Lowery told us.

Maggie Lowery, Denise’s daughter, is a full time substitute teacher, and gets to spend time in her mother’s classroom. Her degree is in graphic design but is now working to become a certified teacher.

“How much my mom loves teaching has inspired me to become a teacher,” Maggie said.

The work Denise has done in the classroom has left impressions for generations of students.

“Anytime we’d ever see somebody out, [mom] always had a good memory about that certain kid that she could always recall,” she remembers.

We asked Denise if there’s a memory of highlight she decades-long career. She told us about a time when a student brought her a used pot-holder for Christmas that was burnt.

It’s a gift that still holds sentimental value.

Denise started teaching at Cowpens Elementary in the early 1980s for a few years then went to CES in 1985. Through the years, technology has evolved.

Those of a certain age will remember when there were chalk boards and overhead projectors, then dry-erase boards, now smartboards and chromebooks.

However, there’s a constant trend that has stuck.

“I forgot my homework and my dog ate it, and can I bring it tomorrow,” Denise said through laughter.

Teaching is a profession that requires patience, kindness, love, flexibility and so much more.

Denise spent a year prior to ‘81 teaching in Rock Hill. Her last day will be Friday, May 27.