McDonald kindergarten teacher named district’s best

  • Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Photo by Ray White/Georgetown County School District. Board Member Pat DeLeone left, congratulates McDonald Elementary’s Carla Jayroe Brandon, the Georgetown County School District Teacher of the Year.

Carla Jayroe Brandon and her husband, Lucas, started their day last Thursday the way many couples do: they argued.

He wanted her to write a speech in case she was named Georgetown County Teacher of the Year that evening.

She said there was no way she was winning so there was no reason to write a speech.

In the end, Lucas was right.

Brandon said when her name was announced as Teacher of the Year, “he gave me ‘the look.’ When I got to the podium he had a smirk on his face. I guess he gets to be right once.”

The McDonald Elementary School kindergarten teacher said it was an “honor” just to be a finalist, especially since a teacher needs to be at a school for three years before they can be nominated. This is the first year she qualified.

“Just to be chosen that fast, it’s, like, wow,” Brandon said. “This validates everything I’ve done. It helps to know that all I’m doing is looked at as a good job to other educators and people in the district office.”

The other finalists – Scott Streiffert of Waccamaw High, Rhonda Britton of Rosemary Middle, Bethany Stearns-Miller of Waccamaw Intermediate, and Mary Sloan of Carvers Bay Middle – gave Brandon a standing ovation as she received her award.

“I was surprised and very honored,” she said. “It’s amazing to be chosen out of all those teachers, to be ... representing the district. To be chosen to do that is such an honor. It’s the highest honor I’ve received in my career.”

Brandon began her career at Browns Ferry Elementary where she stayed two years before relocating to Chesterfield County, where she spent five years at Pageland Elementary. She and Lucas then moved back to Georgetown County, where she grew up, and she started working at McDonald Elementary.

The Brandons have two children: Colby, 5, and Cort, 17 months.

Because she had not prepared a speech, Brandon forgot to thank her smirking husband, and her parents, who she said have supported and encouraging her during her entire life, including through two trips to graduate school.

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