Congratulations to Mrs. Judy Rainey, College Park Elementary and Berkeley County’s Teacher of the Year!
Mrs. Rainey is originally from Memphis where she graduated from the University of Memphis. She spent eighteen years in New Orleans before moving to Goose Creek in 2005. She has been teaching for 39 years, four here at CPE. Mrs. Rainey is married with two grown children and two grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and walking.
Mrs. Rainey’s own experiences as a student led her to the field of teaching. As a teenager, she decided that one day she would become a teacher. She wanted to be the kind of teacher that she thought she would like to have. One that took a personal interest in every student, not just the smart ones or the extroverts. She wanted to be the kind of teacher who loved and appreciated all students and their unique abilities. She wanted to be the kind of teacher that encouraged students to create. As she continued to grow as an educator, she wanted to be the kind of teacher she wanted her own two children to have. Now, years later, she strives to be the kind of teacher that she wants for her own two grandsons. Therefore, her determination to make connections with students and change the game of school has helped her shape an amazingly beautiful and heartwarming teaching career.
In her years at CPE, Mrs. Rainey has come to realize that her learners have made a huge impact on her. In 2018, they were given the challenge to do something kind for others and help make the world a better place. After reading and researching about the Global Water Crisis and kids who have helped others in need, their hearts were touched! Their interests grew from awareness to empathy to activism. They asked if they could create their own charity to help kids in need. They put together a presentation, complete with their why, goals, research, plan of action, and possible outcomes. As a team, they decided to raise money for Water Missions to help kids in other countries have clean water and also purchase books for kids at MUSC. They named their charity K.I.D.S. - Kids Inspired & Determined to Serve. They invited CPE’s administration to the classroom and pitched their idea. Their proposal was approved and K.I.D.S. was born!
Her students are now little entrepreneurs who create, advertise, and sell their handmade greeting cards and calendars. Their business is thriving! Last year, they raised $1,360 to help kids in need. They donated $680 to Water Mission to help provide clean water for kids in other countries. They also bought $680 worth of books from Reading Warehouse and donated them to kids at MUSC. This year, they have already raised over $800 with a goal of $2,000.
Mrs. Rainey is proud of what her learners have accomplished through problem solving, working as a team, showing kindness, love, respect, and empathy for others and how they are already contributing and helping to make our world a better place. Her students have become empowered to make learning meaningful for them. They have inspired her and others in our community. She feels lucky to be the one who gets to guide, coach and facilitate their learning.