Mary Silene Stephens, a first-grade teacher at Edisto Primary School, has been recognized as a 2023-2024 National Life Group LifeChanger of the Year award winner.

She was surprised with the award during an end-of-the-year award ceremony.

The LifeChanger of the Year award is given to K-12 teachers “who are making a difference in our students’ lives.”

“They show exemplary behavior, and they just go over and beyond for our students,” National Life Group representative Vivian McWhorter-Hubbard said.

Stephens received a $3,000 cash prize. Half will be donated to her school.

According to her LifeChanger of the Year profile, Stephens has a love for reading, a passion that she encourages within her students.

During her teaching career, she organized a Dr. Seuss-themed family literacy night with over 100 families in attendance.

People are also reading…

She also started a “For the Love of Books” reading challenge that blossomed into a school-wide initiative.

After receiving her award, she thanked the “super supportive” staff for always being “on board with anything.”

“I look forward to doing more great things,” she said.

Stephens is also the current Alternate Teacher of the Year for the Orangeburg County School District.

Orangeburg County School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster said, “It’s something phenomenal to be recognized amongst the most outstanding teachers in the country.”

He thanked Stephens for “not just being a great teacher but, more importantly, for being a phenomenal person.”

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