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SC Whitmore School Names Lakesha Mitchell 2021 Teacher of the Year

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Columbia, SC – SC Whitmore School (SCWS), a statewide online public high school, has named English/Language Arts Teacher, Lakesha Mitchell as its 2021 Teacher of the Year. 

Mitchell has always had a passion for education and began her teaching career in 1999. “I think some part of me always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Mitchell. “However,  I didn’t seriously consider the idea of teaching until my junior year of college while volunteering with a mentoring and tutoring program for at-risk youth.”

After graduating from South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Radio Broadcasting, Mitchell earned her master’s degree in Business from Webster University and began teaching in 1999. During that time she taught at mostly middle-level schools in traditional settings. Currently, Mitchell lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her two sons.

Mitchell began teaching at SC Whitmore School in 2016. She loves the collaborative environment at SCWS and knows that each student learns a little differently. Mitchell appreciates that SC Whitmore students are able to work at a pace that best suits their education.

“My teaching techniques vary depending on the needs of my students, said Mitchell. “Just as education is constantly evolving, so are my teaching methods. I have high expectations for all of my students, and I always strive to remain fair, firm, and consistent with them.”

 Mitchell’s efforts do not go unnoticed by her students and their parents. “They say it takes a village to raise a child and we have been blessed to have Ms. Mitchell as a part of that village,” said Linda Wages, an SCWS parent. “Her guidance and support throughout my son’s high school career have been invaluable. I am beyond proud to say that he is a straight-A student and that he will graduate as such. Thank you Ms. Mitchell for all that you do! You are definitely deserving of the Teacher of the Year award,” said Wages.

As the world continues to navigate education during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitchell shares advice for educators teaching virtually.

“I believe making connections with students is the key to success in a virtual setting,” said Mitchell. “ Virtual school teachers don’t get to see their students every day, it is important that we find ways to connect with them. Students sometimes forget their teachers are human, so sending them personalized messages and words of encouragement helps make the connection. When students feel connected with their teachers, they often feel more comfortable reaching out to their teachers when they need help.”

The SC Whitmore School Teacher of the Year Award has brought Mitchell great joy. “It is an honor to have been selected as Teacher of the Year by my peers,” said Mitchell.

“Since 2016 Lakesha has made an incredibly positive impact on our school,” said John Loveday, the executive director at SCWS. “Her leadership, creativity, hard work, and desire to make our school the best it can has been invaluable. We are very lucky to have her here at SCWS and she is incredibly deserving of this honor.”

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