Blythewood High School English teacher Sue Weems is one of five finalists for the 2020 S.C. Teacher of the Year award.
Weems, who teaches 10th and 11th grades, is a published author of 50 short stories for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Education.
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman presented Weems with a $10,000 check at Blythewood High on Tuesday.
“Sue has spent her career meeting the needs of each individual student and challenging them to be their very best,” Spearman said in the release. “Her experience in both K-12 and higher education is an invaluable tool that helps her identify with her students and show them what is possible.”
Weems advances to the next stage of the competition, which involves in an-person interview with a team of judges. The teacher of the year will be named during a May 8 gala in Columbia.
The winner receives $25,000 and a BMW to use while serving as a roving education ambassador for one year.
Fairfield Central biology teacher Chanda Jefferson was named a finalist on Monday.
Weems said her teaching philosophy is “care, connect and challenge,” and that she tailors instruction to students’ individual needs.
“Mrs. Weems possesses an innate ability to inspire students’ success," Richland Two superintendent Baron Davis said. "Her own experiences including being the child of educators, mother of four and military spouse shape her approach and teaching philosophy. Her students benefit from her abilities to tailor her teaching style to meet the individual needs of each learner and to make connections with all of her students. Richland Two is extremely proud of Mrs. Weems, a premier teacher who does all she can to help our students pursue their pathways to success.”