2022 Jessie Williams Little "Leading the Way" Award

The 2022 Jessie Williams Little "Leading the Way" Award recipient is Rhonda Demumbreum, science teacher at Byrnes High School in Spartanburg District Five and mentor to preservice teacher candidates, beginning teachers, and veteran teachers. As this year’s award winner, Demumbreum received a banner to display at her school and will receive $2,500.

According to Sabrina Brackett, assistant principal at Byrnes High School, “Ms. Demumbreum's goal was for teachers to never think they were alone and without resources in our school building. She never wanted other teachers to experience the frustration and loneliness that she felt her first year … She is a voice of comfort, especially for those brand new teachers.”

JWL 2022 Winner

Award Finalists


Jaime Campbell, math interventionist, Ralph Chandler Middle School in the Greenville County School District. “First year educators present a unique set of challenges, and Ms. Campbell has even opened her own kitchen table on a Saturday morning to collaboratively plan lessons to increase confidence and clear the runway to build delivery practices that work. She celebrates great days and listens and dries tears on difficult days,” said nominator Sarah Evanson-Atkinson.


Jacquelyn Marsha, English teacher, English department chair, and Teacher Cadet instructor, Blythewood High School in the Richland School District 2. “Ms. Marsha is a welcoming and dynamic mentor for potential educators and for current educators. She is passionate about her career, and she supports others selflessly and tirelessly doing all she can to elevate the profession, her colleagues, and her students,” said nominator Susanne Liggett.


Sandy Vang, social studies teacher, Chester High School in the Chester County School District. “Ms. Vang goes above and beyond for her colleagues and wants to help however she can. She is often someone other teachers go to even when she does not serve in the formal mentor role. She makes me want to be a better teacher and has made others around her feel encouraged and excited about teaching,” said nominator Allison Welte.


Lindsay N. Weirich, AP psychology and social studies teacher, Waccamaw High School in the Georgetown County School District. “Ms. Weirich has been a consistent and beloved mentor to interns, welcoming interns into her classroom warmly, and providing them with the tools they need to be successful.  Her most important asset is her willingness to listen to new teachers, to understand their concerns and to celebrate their successes.  She demonstrates collaboration, getting new teachers excited about implementing new activities and projects for common classes, and promoting a growth mindset by always being willing to learn and try new things,” said nominator Krystal Curry.


Award Semifinalists


Anjosia Ellerbe, career technology education teacher and Teacher Cadet instructor, Wade Hampton High School in the Greenville County School District. “Ms. Ellerbe has fundamentally helped reshape how teachers receive feedback and coaching. She helped coin the term 'Instructional Partnership.' As a direct result of her mentorship to current teachers, 85% of her Instructional Partners are developing high level lesson where they are uses questioning to carefully support students in moving to higher levels of thinking,” said nominator Dr. Carlos Grant.


Corrie Kennette, speech-language pathologist, Abner Creek Academy in Spartanburg District Five. “Ms. Kennette's reputation as an outstanding speech-language pathologist and her openness to helping others have greatly extended her field of influence. I have personally watched her take a young teacher under her wing and not only offer her guidance but offer her comradery. Her love of children and teaching is evident in the amount of time and effort that she pours into her work,” said nominator Karen McMakin.


Julie Madden, business teacher, Ware Shoals High School in Greenwood School District 51. “I felt like Ms. Madden was my biggest cheerleader. As a future educator, her impact in my life will carry me through school and my career. I once read that you write the narrative of each student that enters your class and that they will remember you and how you made them feel in their class for the rest of their life. Ms. Madden made me feel heard, creative, appreciated, successful, celebrated, challenged, and like a great teacher,” said nominator Janie Guess.


Chauncey McElheney, history teacher and Teacher Cadet instructor, Clover High School in the Clover School District. “Mr. McElheney impacts students each and every day that they encounter him. He is positive and upbeat, always encouraging, and spurring students towards excellence.  For several years he has taught Teacher Cadets, with many entering the profession following college. Our district employs some of his prior students, and we are blessed.  Teachers leave his class with a solid background in what it means to be a teacher.  His love for learning and imparting that to others is passed on and seen in his students,” said nominator Vicki Wolford.

JWL 2022 Nominees