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Teachers are Heroes: Jay Watterworth shows 'uncanny' abilities at Philip Simmons High

Published Thursday, January 3, 2019

Mr. Jay Watterworth

This photo of Mr. Watterworth was taken during the 2018 Teacher of the Year Breakfast at Trident Technical College. (BCSD photo)

Jay Watterworth's destiny may have been chosen long before he ever learned to walk or talk. His bloodline is thick with incredible educators.

Mr. Watterworth's grandfather was a teacher, principal and superintendet in South Carolina. His mother and aunt were school district teachers of the year and his uncle -- currently working in the central office at Dorchester District 2.

At an early age, Mr. Watterworth knew he could make a difference in young people. He wanted a career where he could pursue that desire. He describes the field of education as "the perfect profession."

If you visit Philip Simmons High you are likely to cross paths with Mr. Watterworth. Principal Dr. Anthony Dixon says he is a large part of the Iron Horse family, from the classroom to the athletic fields and courts where he coaches.

"When you walk around the halls of PSH you feel Mr. Watterworth’s impact in all avenues of the school," Dr. Dixon said. "He is one of our Renaissance coordinators, so many of the displays throughout campus fall under his realm of activities that he leads. If you venture down the athletic hallways you will be greeted by another display for the ALL ACADEMIC TEAMS for each sport."

While humble about his impact, his visible presence on the campus should be no surprise. Mr. Watterworth says his favorite part about teaching is going beyond the textbook and classroom. Making connections, building positive relationships and helping others -- students and teachers -- is a priority.

"I enjoy building positive relationships and seeing how these relationships can in turn affect our community," he said.

Dr. Dixon says Watterworth's ability to build those relationships is his greatest attribute.

"One area that stands out the most is his ability to relate his content to the student body. This is evident in his social studies classes as well as his leadership courses. He has an uncanny ability to monitor and adjust."

Among Mr. Watterworth's invaluable prossessions is a letter he received form a senior on the last day of school.

"The letter entailed many personal instances where I was able to help this particular student in and outside the classroom," he said. "It just validated my reasoning for choosing this profession."

The 2017-18 Teacher of the Year for PSH says he draws inspiration and influence from the great teachers in his family. He takes pride in being from Berkeley County and is serious about his role in the school system.

"The best part about teaching at Berkeley County School District is being able to give back to the school system where I attended school from elementary school through high school," he said.

* This article is one of several showcasing hero teachers in Berkeley County School District. All articles in the series can be viewed in the special section.

Brian Troutman