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Published on March 11th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Richland One Teacher Named Finalist for SC Teacher of the Year

Hand Middle School math teacher Jennifer Wise (third from left)) has been named one of five finalists for South Carolina Teacher of the Year. Also Pictured Richland One School Commissioner Pamela Adams; State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman; Jennifer Wise; Hand Middle School Principal Jody Davidson; Richland One Chief of Teaching and Learning Dr. Regina Thompson; and Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon.

Jennifer Wise, a mathematics teacher at Hand Middle School and Richland One’s Teacher of the Year, has been named one of five finalists for South Carolina Teacher of the Year. State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised her with the news Wednesday morning.

“Without question, I am living my dream,” said Mrs. Wise. “Each day, I have the opportunity to work with individuals who will no doubt impact this world for the better. I am so appreciative to Richland One for giving me a home where my dreams can come true. Every day teachers like me go into classrooms across this state and give all they can to their students. And to know that I’m being recognized for that is humbling and exciting.”

Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon, Richland One School Commissioner Pamela Adams, Hand Principal Jody Davidson and other district officials were among those present when Spearman delivered the news.

“When we found out Mrs. Wise was a state finalist, we were all excited,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “We are very proud of her. I had the pleasure of visiting her classroom recently and got to see firsthand what a superstar we have in Richland One. She epitomizes the passion, excellence and dedication of teachers throughout the district.”

Mrs. Wise has taught at Hand for eight years. In addition to this honor, she is a finalist for the 2014-2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and recently served on a national panel to evaluate academic standards for students with cognitive disabilities.

“Jennifer is a very special middle school teacher and is a great representative of Richland One,” said Spearman.  “Her love of mathematics and teaching began in high school, and I am proud that she is a mentor to her students and peers today.”

Davidson describes Mrs. Wise as a hardworking teacher who loves her students and other staff members.

“As a member of the Hand and Richland One families, I am honored to have Mrs. Jennifer Wise represent us as Teacher of the Year,” said Davidson. “Her intelligence, creativity, and hard work make her classroom a magical place to learn every day, but it is her heart and her love for the students and our community that make her a very special teacher.”

Commissioner Adams is a former Hand teacher who taught with Mrs. Wise for eight years. “Jennifer is phenomenal because she reaches each child in the academic spectrum and makes it exciting to go to math class,” she said.

As one of five finalists, Mrs. Wise will be competing for the state’s Teacher of the Year award, which comes with a grand prize of $25,000 and a new BMW to drive for a year. Each finalist will receive a check for $10,000.  When asked what she’ll do with her $10,000 prize, Mrs. Wise said “as a math teacher, I’ll probably put it in the bank and let it draw interest.” Mrs. Wise will represent Richland One at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Celebration on April 20.

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