South Carolina Teacher of the Year Travels the State in New BMW X5.
State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Mick Zais, announced Wednesday evening at a privately-funded celebration that Jennifer Ainsworth was named the 2014/2015 South Carolina Teacher of the Year. As part of the celebration, BMW Manufacturing, the event’s premier sponsor, handed Ainsworth the keys to a 2014 Imperial Blue Metallic BMW X5 xDrive35i. During her yearlong sabbatical from the classroom, she will drive the BMW throughout South Carolina as the state’s public education ambassador.
Jennifer Ainsworth, a teacher in the Special Needs Program at Socastee High School in Horry County, credits her team: the students, the staff and the parents at Socastee High School as the real drivers of her success. “I truly work with superstars every single day. I’m proud to be a teacher. I’m proud to be a special education teacher. I’m honored and humbled to be chosen as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year. I look forward to this opportunity to have a positive impact on public education in South Carolina and to continue to let our children shine,” said Ainsworth.
The newly-appointed South Carolina Teacher of the Year wasted no time revealing her inspiration: Savannah Thompson, one of Ainsworth’s students, was by her side to help accept the honor. Ainsworth explained, “I can talk about my class, but unless you see our students and feel their unconditional love, you don’t have any idea the love that you’ll feel. You realize students like Savannah and other students have actually educated you.”
“BMW is honored to support education through the South Carolina Teacher of the Year program. Supporting education is central to our responsibility as a corporate citizen,” said Sky Foster, Manager, Corporate Communications for BMW Manufacturing. “Teachers are true heroes and I applaud Ms. Ainsworth for her service to these young people.”
The South Carolina Teacher of the Year will participate in a yearlong residency at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA). Along with the use of the BMW X5 for one year, Sutton also receives a $25,000 cash award.
Ainsworth succeeds Darlene Sutton, an elementary teacher from Pickens Elementary School in Pickens County School District. Ainsworth earned her degree in Special Education from Presbyterian College. She teaches students that range from 14-21 years of age at Socastee High School.