Samantha Kemp has two children at home and about 50 others in her classes whom she treats like they were her own.
Kemp was recently selected as the 2020-21 Jasper County School District Teacher of the Year. She was previously named Hardeeville Elementary’s teacher of the year.
Kemp is married to Vernon Kemp and they have two sons: Kevin, 8, and Tyler, 3.
“This is a great milestone for me,” Kemp said. “It makes me feel like I have come full circle after teaching for 20 years. I want to make a difference in the lives of the kids and I treat them like my own.”
Kemp’s motto is “every student can learn when given nothing but the absolute best” and she said she works each day to fulfill it.
A Beaufort native, Kemp has taught second and third grades during her career. She currently teaches online third-grade classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a learning experience and I am learning right along with my kids,” she said of teaching remotely.
Kemp said her days consist of teaching about 50 third-graders on different schedules Monday through Thursday. Professional development days are Fridays and students have their own exercises to complete.
“I’m the virtual teacher for the third-graders and we all had to learn which systems we would be using, including Microsoft Teams,” she said.
The school district said, “Mrs. Kemp’s compassion, love and enthusiasm with her students and colleagues is an art and she is highly respected and truly appreciated.”
“Consistent excellence is a hallmark of Mrs. Kemp’s work,” Hardeeville Elementary principal Bryan Jefferson said in a news release. “Even during distance learning, she has not skipped a beat. She is truly deserving of this honor.”
Over the summer, teachers voted to select school-level teachers of the year. A committee of three community members and one instructional staff member interviewed each winner and then selected the District Teacher of the Year.
“Representing the district as a whole makes me feel like a role model,” Kemp said. “It helps others to see where I came from and they can see what I have done. I think about all of the past leadership on the district and school level who have helped me get to where I am and I will truly do my best to represent the Jasper County School District staff and faculty.”