Superintendent Spearman Announces Blythewood High's Sue Weems as Teacher of the Year Finalist

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised Blythewood High School teacher, Sue Weems, at her school with news that she has been selected as one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year award.  

“Sue has spent her career meeting the needs of each individual student and challenging them to be their very best,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “Her experience in both K-12 and higher education is an invaluable tool that helps her identify with her students and show them what is possible.”

Sue Weems is a tenth and eleventh grade English teacher at Blythewood High School in Richland School District Two. She is National Board Certified, received a Distinction for Excellence for her Master’s thesis, and is a published author of fifty original short stories for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

"Mrs. Weems possesses an innate ability to inspire students’ success," said Richland Two superintendent Dr. Baron Davis. "Her own experiences including being the child of educators, mother of four and military spouse shape her approach and teaching philosophy. Her students benefit from her abilities to tailor her teaching style to meet the individual needs of each learner and to make connections with all of her students. Richland Two is extremely proud of Mrs. Weems, a premier teacher who does all she can to help our students pursue their pathways to success."  

Sue comes from a long line of high school and college teachers, but originally did not pursue the family profession. While in college working at a retail-clothing store, she was offered a management position due to her inherent ability to teach others. The job offer spurred Sue to consider the difference she could make in the world as a teacher and switched her major to education. As a military spouse, she has had the opportunity to teach students at every level from kindergarten through post-secondary education across the country. While teaching college, one of her students noted, “You are the only professor who knows and call me by name.” She considers her most profound legacy is deeply understanding her students and individualizing instruction to meet their needs. Her teaching mantra is “care, connect, and challenge.” 

As one of five finalists, Sue 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 crowned.

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.