Choice, The PSTA Newsletter

A Letter From Kathy

We are thrilled to begin another year of equipping, encouraging, and empowering educators across South Carolina through the work of the Palmetto State Teachers Association. We will equip you with engaging professional development opportunities. Read about the incredible Edcamp we planned and hosted in Spartanburg, and learn about the upcoming events in Aiken, Florence, and Charleston. Sign up to receive innovative best practice information via our Remind alerts, and stay connected with us for the latest tools and information on our social media accounts.

We will encourage you this year as we celebrate all of your accomplishments. Each newsletter will highlight the success of our PSTA members and their students! If you win an award, are recognized for your work, or do something incredible in your classroom, let us know so we can share it across the state. We are excited about our new staff member, Dr. Ann Marie Taylor, who will definitely add encouragement to every school she visits. You can read more about her and what she brings to our organization below!

We will empower you by continuing to advocate for your students and the profession at the State House, the State Department of Education, and State School Board meetings. We strongly encourage you to vote for candidates that support public education. Take a minute to watch my recent Facebook video regarding voting.

At this time each year, I have the same feeling as I did during my classroom tenure. New, fresh, and exciting things are in front of us as an organization, and I could not be happier. I love that our work allows us the opportunity to start fresh every August. The students of South Carolina are our most precious gift, and by advocating for you, we are advocating for them. I am looking forward to a great year ahead! And, as always, remember we are here for you, so you can be there for your students.

Kathy Maness

Executive Director, PSTA

Are You Registered to Vote?

Teachers must let their voices be heard this November. Please study the candidates and their positions closely. The Governor and State Superintendent of Education are on the ballot along with a State Constitutional Amendment that will have significant impacts on public education. If you are not registered, click here! The deadline to register has been extended to Friday, October 17th, 2018!

PSTA surveyed the candidates for Governor and State Superintendent of Education. Click the tabs below to read their responses verbatim.

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Statewide Amendment for November 6th

Please see the wording of the amendment below.

Must Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution of this State, relating to state constitutional officers, be amended so as to provide that beginning in January 2023, or upon a vacancy in the office of Superintendent of Education after the date of the ratification of the provisions of this paragraph, whichever occurs first, the Superintendent of Education must be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate; to provide that the appointed Superintendent of Education shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor; and to require the General Assembly to provide by law for the duties, compensation, and qualifications for the office?


Yes, the Governor should appoint Superintendent of Education with the consent of Senate.

No, maintains the current method of electing a Superintendent of Education.

Your choice will be a yes or no vote.

Student Loans Paid For One Year!

Congratulations Maggee Ellis!

Since May of this year, PSTA has been adding the names of all our new members to a special drawing for one lucky winner to have his/her student loans paid for one full year. On August 29th at our board meeting, the winner was selected. Many congrats to Maggee Ellis, a 9th, 10th, and 11th grade AVID and Social Studies Teacher at Batesburg Leesville High School in Lexington School District Three for being chosen for this great award! Maggee has been teaching for 5 years and received her B.A. in Secondary Education from USC Aiken and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from Clemson University. We are so excited to be a part of her education!

Edcamp Palmetto

On September 8th, we hosted our 6th Edcamp Palmetto event in South Carolina. In its inaugural city of Spartanburg, over 200 educators came together for a day of learning, laughing, and living for this year's kick off to Edcamp!

This was our 3rd event in Sparkle City, and it proved to be one of the best yet! Teachers collaborated in Maker Spaces to build and create their learning. They learned about a new site called where their students can build educational partnerships with students around the world. They discussed ways to strengthen their classrooms through flexible seating, innovative best practices, pedagogically sound tech tools, and much, much more!

If you are interested in attending one of our Edcamps, follow PSTA and Edcamp Palmetto on social media for more information about registration! Our dates and locations are below! Registration for each Edcamp will open one month prior to the event date.

  • USC Aiken- November 10, 2018
  • Francis Marion- February 9, 2019
  • College of Charleston, North Campus- April 27, 2019

Special thanks to our sponsors who make each event possible. Check them out here!

Come join the fun and bring a friend. These events are free for all SC educators. You do not have to be a PSTA member to attend. We cannot wait to see you there!

Take a Peek at All the Edcamp Fun!

PSTA Teacher Clothes Closet

If you know a preservice teacher or beginning teacher who may need assistance in securing professional attire, please let them know the upcoming dates for our PSTA Teacher Clothes Closet

October 15-16, 2018 at Coastal Carolina

November 15-16 at Charleston Southern

December 5-6 at PSTA office in West Columbia

Email for more information or if you would like to make a donation.

Welcome New Staff Member

Dr. Ann Marie Taylor, the 2008 South Carolina Teacher of the Year, has joined the PSTA staff as Director of Leadership Development. Along with National Board Certification, she holds a B.A. from Saginaw Valley State University, and a Doctorate of Education in Administrative Leadership for Teaching and Learning from Walden University. Dr. Taylor will offer a wide array of benefits to the association, including, but not limited to:

  • Membership support
  • Conduct statewide research with regards to Induction programming
  • Develop exemplars for Induction programs and offer support
  • Special Education support statewide

She is available to lead Professional Development in your districts on various topics such as mental health support, sensory and music integration, coaching and mentor training, teacher leadership, Rubric 4.0, and culture and climate. To book her, send your request to We are thrilled to have her expertise and enthusiasm as a part of our team.

To see a full list of all the professional development offerings of the PSTA staff, click the image to the right!


STAR is a program to recognize and reward outstanding veteran SC teachers. It is sponsored by the Foundation for Professional Development and PSTA. Any outstanding veteran teacher who has taught for more than 5 years in SC’s public schools and is currently teaching in the South Carolina public school system may apply. Guidance counselors and media specialists are also encouraged to apply. Teachers should complete the STAR application. They must prove through the application and letters of reference that they are outstanding educators. Applicants answer an essay question and must have written permission from their superintendent and principal to apply. All STAR seminars will be held at the St. Christopher Conference Center on Seabrook Island, near Charleston. Our fall session will be October 29--November 2, 2018. The deadline for that has passed, but we are still accepting applications for the spring session now! The application deadline is December 31, 2018. If you would like to apply, download the application by clicking the Star Teacher logo above or email Toni Chewning at
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National Board Renewal Workshop

Palmetto State Teachers Association continually hosts National Board Renewal Workshops. For more information about the next event, please contact Toni Chewning at

Text “@PSTAteach” to 81010 to receive weekly professional development tips! Texts are sent weekly (usually on Thursday afternoons) and are applicable to a variety of grade levels and content areas. Subjects include technology, classroom management tips, time saving ideas, and freebies for teachers. You are welcome to submit ideas, too.

Email Toni at

A Letter From the President, Matt Johnson

I hope all of you found some rest and relaxation over the summer and the first few months of school are off to a great start. I am confident that you all have had a fantastic, but busy, August as you readied your classroom, made your long range plans, and attended countless meetings. Even with all of the “busy”ness that surrounds this time of year, it is still a very exciting time. I love that our profession gets a fresh start each year. There is something so magical about the empty notebooks waiting to be filled with learning. I see so much hope as I look at the blank pages.

I often use this time to reflect and set goals just as I do with New Year’s Resolutions each January. As I thought about last school year, and looked ahead towards a new one, I sought wisdom from some of my greatest educator friends through a Facebook group I am a member of called “Teachers Leading Coffee House”. I asked them, “What advice do you give yourself at the start of a new school year to ensure a successful 180 days?” Their responses were incredibly insightful and helped to affirm things I am already doing as an educator, but also challenged me to dig deeper in my work for the sake of the profession and my students.

1. Discover what makes each student special.

2. The students they were last year no longer matters; It only matters who they are this year, and what I can help them become.

3. Encourage students to take risks in learning. Model for them by trying something new this year,

4. Every day is a new day. I wake up with a clean slate each morning, so I need to pass that grace and mercy on to my students.

5. I can’t expect my students to make straight A’s if I don’t bring my A game every day.

6. Don’t race to cover content at the expense of getting to know students as people.

7. Fun is the name of the game.

There were many responses, but these seven hit home, especially number five. I am making it my personal goal to bring my “A game” as much as possible this year. No doubt, it will be a challenge, but aren’t my students worth it? Moving forward through ’17-’18, I must remember the days of rest and relaxation from the summer as I work through the year ahead. When the days get long and difficult, I must think back to this wisdom and forge ahead. When I feel like things aren’t going great, I will give myself the grace and mercy that I need to face the next day. Most of all, I must have fun and be thankful for the fresh beginning I have to start over each year in this profession that I love. Here’s to another year! Make it the best one yet!