Deion Jamison, an English teacher at Legacy Early College in Greenville, has been named 2023 South Carolina Teacher of the Year, becoming the first Black male teacher and the first public charter school teacher to earn the title since its inception in 1956.
Jamison was born and raised in Orangeburg, where he saw education as the key to overcoming adversity and educators as the vehicles to change lives. He teaches his students collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to address the world’s most pressing issues.
When he heard his name being called, Jamison described the moment as surreal. He stepped into the history books as the first Black man to be awarded the honor and the first educator from Orangeburg County. “This honor is a testament to the hard work I have put in and to the investment I have put into my students and my community,” he said.
The 2023 South Carolina Teacher of the Year has received recognition for his work, including the 2020 Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award from the National Council of Teachers of English and the 2021 Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award from Teach for America. However, he is most proud of creating inclusive spaces for culturally and linguistically diverse students to thrive.
“Deion exhibits the qualities and characteristics that we want to see in every current and future South Carolina educator,” said South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “He is so deserving of this tremendous honor, and I know he will do a fantastic job advocating and representing our over 55,000 teachers this next year.”
Deion Jamison’s prayer for his students is that they “would live in a world that honors and recognizes everyone’s humanity, regardless of what they look like or what they believe in.” He also wants to recruit more African American men into the education field.
Jamison’s upbringing in Orangeburg County has influenced his teaching approach. “We may not have had everything we needed to be successful in comparison to other districts, but we knew that our teachers loved us,” he said. His high school experience was one of joy and justice. “Joy every time he came into the building because teachers were excited about their jobs despite the circumstances, and justice because the educators understood there wasn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to education.”
Deion Jamison’s recognition as 2023 South Carolina Teacher of the Year is a testament to his dedication to education and his commitment to creating inclusive spaces for his students.
EduMonitor is a comprehensive PreK-8 learning program. Visit EduMonitor for PreK–8 learning resources! Use Promo Code PreK-8LEARN to get 10% off subscription.