Lexington, S.C. — Lexington County School District One proudly named New Providence Elementary’s Jennie S. King its District Teacher of the Year at its annual Teacher of the Year celebration honoring outstanding teachers. King, an educator for 18 years, now goes on to compete in the state-level Teacher of the Year program next year.
Unlike many teachers, as a child King never imagined herself in a classroom. She did not set up a classroom with chairs, books, crayons and the like. She did not make her stuffed animals, or her brothers pretend to be her students. In fact, if anything, her brothers’ mischievous behavior steered her away from teaching and toward advocacy. Advocacy on behalf of children with no voice. Advocacy on behalf of the harmed. As a result, King entered law school to pursue the future she envisioned. However, fate chuckled, and her pursuit for extra money as a college student — working in an after-school program — changed her life and her direction forever. She found herself looking forward to seeing the children and enjoying their energy and voracious appetite for learning. Still, she never left behind her zeal for advocacy. As a first-grade teacher, she connects with difficult students that others give up on and creates bonds not just with the students but also their parents.
She cares for and supports her students and co-workers, and she quickly lends a hand or a willing ear when needed. In her classroom, she models kindness, believing that “every single child needs to hear they are capable and deserving.” In turn, her students reflect her care and volunteer to help their classmates with tasks, sensing their classmates’ needs — often before she does.
Watching those displays of selflessness, she holds hope for them and for their futures.
Kind earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from the University of Alabama and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. She holds certifications in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Administration and English (Grades 6–12).
The Search for Excellent Teachers journey highlighting teachers and teaching took place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the Lexington District One Performing Arts Center located on the campus of Lexington High School.