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Teachers and support staff from the Orangeburg County School District and Orangeburg Preparatory Schools were honored for their dedication to education and the students they serve during an awards ceremony held on Wednesday.

The Rotary Club of Orangeburg-Morning and the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce presented the awards during a ceremony held at Orangeburg’s Cornerstone Church.

Carol Dean, an English teacher at Edisto High School, was presented with the OCSD 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year award.

Tiffany Grant, a paraprofessional in the media center at Whittaker Elementary School, was honored with the OCSD 2022-2023 Support Staff of the Year award.

Megan Dangerfield, a high school biology teacher at OPS, was honored as their 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year.

“When we have an opportunity to honor and appreciate those individuals who do so much more than we even imagine, I’m grateful. I get to see it each and every day. So as superintendent, I’m going to ask you all to continue to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with the school district for our teachers, for our educators, for our support staff,” OCSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster said.

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“This job is one that will never repay in dividends their worth. It is a self-sacrificing job each and every day, and that’s seven days a week. … I never waste an opportunity to explain to people the essence of true education and the heart of a teacher. We have some great ones here today, some great teachers and some great support staff,” he said.

Chamber President James McQuilla said, “Thank you for the teachers and the support staff. … I’m here to be a part of this presentation because, really, there’s nothing like the benefit and the effect that you get from teachers.

“I’m a product of great teachers, great professors and I’ve gotten a chance to substitute myself and see what it’s really like in working with young people. So congratulations for all that you’ve done.”

EHS Assistant Principal Marcellina Guinyard described Dean, a 13-year educator and mother of three, as a person of great character who loves her students.

“Although I’ve known Ms. Dean for a short period of time, it seems like I’ve known her for a long time because of just her character. She’s very passionate. She’s a dedicated educator. You can walk in her classroom anytime, and we know that her students genuinely love her,” Guinyard said.

“They’re constantly engaged. They’re constantly asking questions. And not only is she concerned about their academic well-being, but … she’s also concerned with how things are going at home. That’s why the students love her so much,” she said.

Dean, who is also the EHS Teacher of the Year, said two “wonderful educators” from Orangeburg, who also happened to be her friends, helped convince her to move to the area to teach. She also got to be closer to her son, a student at the College of Charleston.

“I love being an educator. … Education is the only field when you love your people, they will love you back. Thank you all,” she said.

Whittaker Elementary School Assistant Principal Denise Simpson said Grant is a “wonderful woman” whose work at the school is appreciated.

“Ms. Grant joined us about three years ago, but it feels as though she’s been with us longer. It feels as though we’ve known each other for over a decade. Ms. Grant is a wonderful individual who shares her compassion for children and for people daily. She is there to lend a helping hand at any moment that you need,” Simpson said.

Grant, who is also Whittaker Elementary School’s staff person of the year, said she thanked God for the opportunity to serve and the entire community for their support of her efforts.

“I cannot do this on my own. It was someone who spoke in my life that allowed me to speak into somebody else’s life. So it’s like a seed that’s been planted. When seeds start being planted, you learn how to plant it in someone else. So I believe that,” Grant said.

She continued, “I don’t expect to be rewarded for something I just love doing. … It comes naturally. It just flows. When I saw the email and recognized that I would be honored, I was shocked. I’m going to be honest.

“Again, I just do it from my heart because I know that what I put into a child, they’re going to remember.”

Grant said you can’t expect As from a child, but have no compassion for them.

“I’ve always believed before you can teach a child, you first have to let them know you care. You can’t expect As if they don’t feel compassion. And just like Dr. Foster said, taking advantage of the opportunity – everybody has an opportunity. … No matter what title you hold, you have an opportunity to sow a seed into them,” she said.

Grant continued, “If you know the seed is good, expect it to grow not just into a little plant, but an entire tree. They’re going to remember and they’re going to look back and thank you for the fruit that bore from that tree.”

Connie Porth, administrator of the OPS Lower Campus, said it was an honor to work with Dangerfield, who she described as an “inspirational educator.”

Libby Ray, OPS interim head of schools, was not able to attend the ceremony, but Porth read from a statement from Ray in her absence. In the statement, Ray said Dangerfield, who has been with OPS since 2014, is a dedicated teacher who engages her students.

“She is a dedicated high school biology teacher who designs engaging lessons encouraging critical thinking and collaboration. Students at Orangeburg Prep commonly cite Megan as one of their favorite and most challenging teachers. She works well with her peers and seeks new ways to improve instruction,” Ray said in the statement.

“She is our senior sponsor and works tirelessly to help our seniors organize fundraisers and participate in community service projects. Megan has been an incredible role model in guiding her department and governing her classroom. She is a mentor teacher devoted to coaching new teachers and ensuring their success. It is our honor to work with such an inspirational educator,” she said.

Dangerfield said she’s thankful for her honor.

“I greatly appreciate it,” she said.

Dr. Kalu Kalu, president of Orangeburg Rotary Club-Morning, said teachers not only impact students’ lives, but help make society a better place to be.

“You are very, very important in our life. … We appreciate you. You are doing a very wonderful job,” Kalu said.

Brenda Austin, the club’s membership chairperson, said, “We thank you, we appreciate you as our teachers and are so glad to be able to host this (awards ceremony) for you.”

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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