Chapin Teacher Wins State Teacher of the Year


Students pose with Mrs. Carter at the end of the Parade to celebrate her win as Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Amy Carter rode through Chapin High School on a chariot  Friday May 7th as a surprise celebratory parade for the newest SC Teacher of the Year. 

This surprise parade took place after Mrs. Carter was announced as the the SC Teacher of the Year at a gala dinner on Wednesday May 5, in downtown Columbia.

When asked about what this award meant to her, Mrs. Carter said,  “It is really easy when you teach to think about all of the ways you got it wrong. It is something that when we go home we think, ‘Well maybe we could do this lesson better next year or maybe do that better next time.’ Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like I have arrived, but this award is a very powerful validation that you do more right than you do wrong. This award to me is a humbling “atta boy.”

As part of the SC Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Carter won $25,000 and a BMW to drive for one year. She will also be speaking at different school events and engagements around the state. Mrs. Carter’s win makes this back-to-back honors for teachers in Lexington Richland District 5 after Mrs. Sarah Gams, English teacher at Spring Hill High, won the state award last year. Dr. Melton Superintendent of Lexington-Richland School District 5, said in an earlier statement,  “Mrs. Carter is a passionate educator that truly represents the best of what teaching is in South Carolina.” 

Mrs. Carter, who teaches English and Teacher Cadets at Chapin, said that had someone had told her younger self that she would achieve such a prestigious accolade as a teacher,  she would not have believed them. “I ask that same question to my own students a while ago. I was trying to tell them how great it is to be in the world, and be an adult.  I said to them that there will be people that you meet, see, and get to know that if you were able to tell your younger self, then you would never believe it. So, my answer is no, I would have never believed it. I would never believe such a thing because, there are teachers in my own career that inspired and still inspire me to this day. I have people who were powerful, expert teachers, and I would have never thought that I would have been as good as them.”

Mrs. Carter added that one of  her previous teachers that inspired her was Coach Skeen.  “I had this very gruffy football coach named Coach Skeen. He mispronounced my name on the first day of school. He was a very gruff guy. But one day he saw me sobbing crying at my locker. My world was falling apart and he put his arm around me and he really did turn my whole day around. He truly inspired me to teach. At the end of the day, I am teaching kids and I feel that my job is to be their biggest advocate.”

“One of the things that I am very well aware of is that nobody does this job alone,” said Mrs. Carter. “Teaching is a big team sport at times. I don’t know that I could ever claim my own idea as solely my own idea. I just am very aware and appreciative of the community aspect that is part of education. Even when you win, you are sitting on on the shoulders of those who came before you.”

Co-workers of Mrs. Carter echo the team aspect of teaching. Dr. Weathersbee is Mrs. Carter’s partner in crime in the Chapin High school English department. “I think it is about time she received some recognition. She is an amazing teacher and mentor. It reflects positively on everyone in the district,” said Dr. Weathersbee.  “Our English department is amazing. Mrs. Carter and I have been working off and on together for 22 years now, so we’ve kind of developed a rhythm. And as more people come on board in the English department, we learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And again, we develop a rhythm. It’s been a lot of fun working together, and this is a wonderful department to work in because we do work together and share ideas and I don’t know that that happens at many other departments.”

Students who have been in Mrs. Carter’s classroom say that she has been very inspirational to them.

“To put into a few words on Mrs. Carter’s impact is impossible,” said McKenzie Lott, a Chapin senior who plans to major in education in college. “She makes a personal impact on each of her students, and always is there for them. She’s made my senior year so much more than enjoyable and gave me advice on how to be a great teacher and adult. I hope to become half the teacher she is and an amazing person like her.”

“Mrs. Carter has sparked my love for literature and pushes me to truly analyze what I read. Not only has she taught me AP Literature, but she has also taught me how to push myself out of my comfort zone and grow confident in myself,” said Tatum Meyers, a senior. “I know I can speak for the rest of her students when I say that Mrs. Cartier inspires us to be the best versions of ourselves. She is truly a leader and I aspire to be like her!”

“I am so proud of my mom,” said Emma Carter, Mrs. Carter’s daughter and a junior at Chapin. “She truly has put her all into this profession for the last 20 years, and to be able to see her recognized in the way she deserves is so incredible. I am beyond proud to be her daughter, and I am so blessed to have such an amazing mom to look up to.” 

Emma Carter said her mom has inspired her from an early age. “My mom always taught me that no matter where you are or who you are with, remember the way you make them feel. She inspires me everyday to treat others with kindness and love. She shows me day to day what it looks like to be a fearless leader and an empowering woman.”

Contributing to this report: Tommy Bowers, Brandon Miller, Danny Prebeck, Ryland Rychener