Jayuntay Williams, a math teacher at West Ashley Middle – Advanced Studies Magnet, was beyond shocked when his name was called Thursday evening in front of hundreds of his colleagues, the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, leadership, district partners, and sponsors at the annual Teacher of the Year (TOY) Celebration Dinner.
Selected from over 80 school-based TOY’s, Williams will help lead the CCSD Teacher of the Year Roundtable during the 2019-2020 school year. He will also receive a one-year lease to drive a BMW thanks to Rick Hendrick of Charleston. The seven-year teacher is humbled by the honor of representing his colleagues as the overall winner. “I want to be a representative to the students and educators,” said Williams. “I hope I make the students as proud as they have made me.”
Williams follows 2018 honoree, Stephanie Haecherl of Maimie P. Whitesides Elementary School, on the acclaimed list of CCSD Teachers of the Year. Williams and other five finalists were selected through a multi-step process that began with a review of their applications by the outgoing Teacher of the Year Roundtable.
Once the finalists were chosen, each of the five teachers gave a tour of their school to a panel of judges, provided a model lesson to be critiqued, and participated in a thorough interview process. Finalists for 2019 CCSD Teacher of the Year included runner-up Melissa Reese (Murray-LaSaine Elementary School), Erin Bua (James B. Edwards Elementary School), Jamie Costner (Laing Middle School), and Shantia Wilder (Chicora Elementary School).
West Ashley ASM Principal Brant E. Glover is excited that Williams will have a bigger platform. “This will allow him to showcase his style of teaching across the district and the state,” said Glover. “I know he is eager and hopefully he can make some waves and make changes.”
Becoming an educator
Williams was driven as a young boy to work hard, and that hard work paid off. He was the Valedictorian of his high school class in Denmark, SC. He credits that to the support and motivation that came from his parents. He lives his passion everyday by teaching students the connection between hard work and achieving goals.
Also, Williams’ participation in the Call Me M.I.S.T.E.R program is what he said was most influential in him finishing his undergraduate work in education. Call Me M.I.S.T.E.R. (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) is an initiative to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader and more diverse background, particularly among the state’s lowest performing elementary schools.
Through the program at Claflin University, he participated in teacher education undergraduate programs that lead to teaching licensure and job placement. Williams will be the featured guest at Educators’ Night at the RiverDogs’ game on May 17, 2019 at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
Before the game, Williams will take a ride in the BMW and toss the ceremonial first pitch. For more information about CCSD’s annual Teacher of the Year award contact the Office of Strategy and Communication at (843) 937-6303.