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Full circle: Sumter's teacher of the year teaches where she learned as a kid

Amy Chua, a 3rd grade teacher at Alice Drive Elementary, said she’s “honored and blessed” to be selected.

SUMTER, S.C. — The Sumter School District announced Amy Chua, a third-grade teacher at Alice Drive Elementary, as their teacher of the year during a virtual welcome back ceremony for staff ahead of the semester.

“I’m still in shock over it all,” Chua said. “I am just honored and blessed to have this opportunity to share my story and my journey as a teacher.”

Chua has lived her whole life in Sumter, and attended Alice Drive Elementary as a child.

“To be able to give back as a teacher here and impact our students is just huge for me,” Chua said. “When I look at my students, I think about my own children and the kinds of relationships that I want them to have with adults in their lives. What’s really important is that they always know that they have somebody in their corner, somebody that can listen to them and somebody that can be there for the good and the bad.”

She was nominated by staff for her leadership, student-driven learning techniques, flexibility and risk taking. 

“She was one of our first teachers to try out flexible seating and student collaboration,” Alice Drive Principal Suzanna Foley said, “and all those things that led us to be able to become a STEM accredited school.”

Credit: Sumter School District
Amy Chua and students

Now, as they prepare for a virtual start to the school year, Chua wants families to feel encouraged.

“Letting parents know and students know we are in this together,” Chua said. “We are on their side.”

Sumter Schools return virtually Friday, August 28 with plans to transition to a hybrid model of learning when the threat of the coronavirus decreases in the area.