Pearl Edge is the Kelly Educational Staffing Services S.C. Substitute Teacher of Year.
Representatives from Kelly and the Georgetown County School District surprised Edge on Friday while she was working in Lauren Bruce’s TMD/Special Needs class at Georgetown Middle School.
An emotional Edge said she was grateful.
“My grandmother and my mother taught me over the years to do whatever you can for someone because you never know when somebody would do something for you.” Edge said.
Edge’s honor was unexpected, said Dargan Postal of Kelly. The company just started providing substitutes in Georgetown County in January, and there are much larger districts with larger pools of substitutes to choose from.
Each district that Kelly Services contracts with nominated one substitute.
“It’s a gift to use to have her,” Bruce said. “It’s not that easy to find somebody to sub in our class, and we can always count on her.”
Bruce submitted Edge’s nomination.
“Mrs. Edge makes our students feel like there is no other place she would rather be than with them,” Bruce wrote in the nomination. “It’s a little bit like having your grandmother come to school – she is firm but loving.”
“Working with special-needs children ... you have to be a very special person,” said Dr. Randy Dozier, the district’s superintendent of schools. “You have to have a lot of patience, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement (and) compassion. She has all of that.”
“No challenge is too great for her,” Bruce wrote. “In fact, the greater the challenge the greater her love for the child.”
Edge has a unique perspective on dealing with people with special needs. She has been caring for her nephew, Marvin, 42, since her sister’s death 13 years ago.
Edge is also a team leader for Freedom Readers, a nonprofit that reinforces reading skills in children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Edge transports three children from their school to the program twice a week.
“This is just another example of Mrs. Edge’s love for learning and eagerness to involve children in her passion,” Bruce wrote.
Bruce closed her nomination letter by writing: “Mrs. Edge is everything a school could ask for in a substitute teacher and we are grateful to have her as a part of Georgetown Middle School.”
Edge has passed on her love of helping kids onto through the generations. Her granddaughter, Olivia Peterson, is a student-assistant in Bruce’s class.
Before she retired, Edge spent 30 years working for the U.S. Postal Service. She was first black female postal carrier in Georgetown County in 1966.
She also helped unionize postal workers across South Carolina and was a founder of the Georgetown-Horry-Williamsburg Rural Letter Carriers Association.
Edge was the manager of “Fabrific Fabric Shop” and later opened “Pearl’s Fabric Shop.”
She is a board member of The Meeting Place and has also been active in the Girl Scouts, at St. Mary’s St. Cyprian Catholic School and Greater St. Stephen AME Church.
Edge is now in the running for Kelly’s national Substitute Teacher of the Year.