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Greenville Business Magazine

PEP Hosts First Annual Celebration Of GATE Program Graduates

Photo: (l-r) Cam Erion, Dr. Monica Hughey, Margaret Spivey, Jasmine Ford, Benjamin Saul, Leslie Finley, Debra Workman, Rebecca Zander, and Dr. Debra Lee.

Public Education Partners (PEP) recently honored the first seven graduates of the Greenville Alternative Teacher Education (GATE) program with a special reception at the Westin Poinsett on Wednesday, May 29.

The celebration recognized the graduates’ completion of the three-year program and South Carolina teacher certification, with Greenville County Schools (GCS) awarding graduates with GATE alumni commemorative pins. Duke Energy presented a $75,000 check supporting the GATE program to begin the celebration, and PEP announced their 2019 Quality Teaching Grants winners to conclude the evening.

“In collaboration with Greenville County Schools, we helped develop and continue to rally the community in supporting the GATE program to address the shortage of math and science teachers in Greenville County,” said Dr. Ansel Sanders, president and CEO of Public Education Partners. “We're thrilled to honor these first seven graduates, and to witness the program’s growth to include foreign language candidates and 38 teachers in 24 schools across the county.” 

Since August 2016, the GATE program has provided a pathway into the teaching profession for people with subject-area bachelor’s degrees, but who lack formal training in education. Through intensive coaching and mentoring, ongoing evaluation, and multiple opportunities for participation in professional learning communities, GATE teachers are guided into their role in the classroom and given the tools needed to thrive. The seven graduates are:
  • Cam Erion, Ralph Chandler Middle, 7th grade Math
  • Leslie Finley, Woodmont High, Mathematics
  • Jasmine Ford, Lakeview Middle, 7th grade Science
  • Monica Hughey, Berea Middle, 7th grade Science
  • Benjamin Saul, Tanglewood Middle, 6th grade Math
  • Debra Workman, Ralph Chandler Middle, 6th grade Math
  • Rebecca Zander, Greer Middle, 7th grade Science
According to Sanders, having this first group graduate would not have been possible if not for the contributions of area organizations and individuals.

“We are indebted to our community partners who have allowed the GATE program to flourish,” said Sanders. “They are truly moving the needle in Greenville County and public education.”

Among these partners is Duke Energy, whose foundation established the Duke Energy GATE fellowship for math and science teachers in 2017. Since then, the fellowship has donated a total of $284,000 to the GATE program.

“We know there is a critical shortage of math and science teachers here in South Carolina,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “That’s why we fund the Greenville Alternative Teacher Education fellowships to help professionals as they transition into becoming much-needed math and science teachers. I am glad that Duke Energy can help Public Education Partners with the shared mission we have of helping every Greenville County child get the best education possible.”

Additional organizations and individuals who have made the GATE program possible include Auro Hotels, Christine & Mike Cerino, Kay & Howard Daniel, The Daniel Mickel Foundation, Frances & Dave Ellison, Fluor Corporation, GE Power and Water, The Gilreath Foundation, John I. Smith Charities, KEMET Electronics Corporation, Deb & John Lee, O'Neal, Inc., and The Plating Foundation.

The celebration began with the check presentation at 5:30 p.m., followed by the pin ceremony at 6:15 p.m., and the grant winners announcement at 6:30 p.m.. For more information on GATE and other PEP initiatives, please call 864-233-4137 or visit Applications for GATE math and science teachers are being accepted by GCS for the 2019-2020 school year until June 7, 2019.