Courtesy of SCDOE
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised Wren High School teacher, Tamara Cox, at her school today with news that she has been selected as one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year award.
“Tamara is a shining star not only in her local community but across our state,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “She is an unwavering advocate for her students, libraries, and the entire media specialist profession.”
Tamara Cox, a 2000 graduate of Lander University, is a Media Specialist at Wren High School in Anderson School District One. She is a National Board Certified educator, the 2019-2020 South Carolina Association of School Librarians “Librarian of the Year”, and the recipient of the American Library Association 2018 I Love My Librarian Award. Tamara regularly attends National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. where she uses her teacher voice to advocate for public education and library funding. She originally began as a Social Studies teacher, but left the profession to pursue a corporate career, until she was drawn back to education. A choice that positively changed her life forever.
“We are thrilled that Mrs. Cox is being recognized by our state as one of the best,” said Anderson One Superintendent Robbie Binnicker. “We have known this for a long time! Her passion and love for education have had a profound impact on the students and staff at Wren High School and all of Anderson School District One.”
Ms. Cox believes stories have the power to “connect us as human beings, enlighten and empower us to change, both ourselves and our society.” She uses her library to help students practice critical thinking, ethical use of information, and interpersonal skills with group projects. Collaborating with her fellow teachers and administration, she works to meet the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate by increasing the global perspective of her students; connecting them with authors and experts, in-person and virtually.
As one of five finalists, Tamara will receive $10,000 and go on to the next stage of competition which involves an in-person interview with a team of expert judges. The South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala will be held on May 8th in Columbia where the overall winner will be announced.
The winner receives a total of $25,000 and is provided with a brand new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 50,000 educators.
The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on the district, state, and national level. The Teacher of the Year Awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool to the educator profession.