FORT SCOTT, KS – The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational nonprofit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to elementary teacher Jed Dearybury of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Dearybury was in Fort Scott the week of June 19 for collaboration with the Center.
The LMC Fellowship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning or who have the potential for this distinction. The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and world, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.
In his 13 years as a classroom teacher, Dearybury taught 1st grade for five years, 2nd for seven years, and 3rd for one year in Spartanburg School District 6 in South Carolina. Mr. D, as the students called him, brought his love of music and the arts into every lesson he taught. With a piano in his classroom, students spent more time gathered around singing about their curriculum than they did at their tables. Sculptures made of clay, recycled materials, and other art mediums always filled the room. “Always do your best” and “I love you no matter what” were his two class mantras as he strived to live by the Argentine proverb, “If I pass through life without making a mark, for what did I live.” While teaching in District 6, he truly made a mark. Selected as their District Teacher of the Year in 2014, he went on to become a S.C. Honor Roll teacher as he was named one of the Top 5 Teachers in South Carolina. That same year, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, which earned him a trip to The White House to meet President Obama, and was named a GQ Magazine Male Leader of the Year.
At the conclusion of year 13, (end of the 2015 school year), Dearybury was named the director of professional development and communications for the Palmetto State Teachers Association. In his new role, Jed has been able to take the arts-infused, technology-filled, inquiry-based lessons from his classroom into schools across S.C. In the past year, he has been able to lead innovative, 21st Century professional development in over 100 schools across the state. In his free time, Jed is an adjunct professor in the Education Department at Converse College in Spartanburg, and he serves as a founding member on the Education Council for the national nonprofit, Lily Sarah Grace. The organization leads professional development across the country focusing on arts-infused, inquiry-based learning and provides grants for underprivileged elementary schools.
In 2014, Dearybury was a finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year. He is a SKYPE Master Teacher and has a popular podcast. Lowell Milken Center Director Norm Conard says, “Jed has such a wonderful diverse background and talents, from music to art to math. He is a creative teacher leader.”
While in Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources and ongoing support to enhance their classrooms and help students cultivate a passion for learning by creating projects that initiate positive change. Fellows emerge prepared to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students as they apply and evaluate the stories of role models who have changed the world throughout history.