Teachers are Heroes: Carly Gagne wears many hats at Cane Bay High
Published on Wednesday, April 28, 2021
BCSD photo / Monica Kreber
Carly Gagne grew up observing her mom working hard as a teacher.
Gagne is originally from Vermont, and can recall spending time after school, riding her Razor scooter through the empty hallways of the high school where her mom worked as a P.E. teacher.
Her mom was very involved in the high school as well as her own community: she was the advisor for Student Council, and she ran a huge fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Gagne admired her for how she was able to reach so many children.
“I got to see firsthand the positive impact she had on the community as a whole, and I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do,” she said.
Gagne is now a math teacher at Cane Bay High, and she lightheartedly refers to herself as “the teacher who can’t say ‘no’” as she not only teaches in-person and virtual classes, but is involved in many other areas of her school and within the Cane Bay community. Gagne hopes to inspire her own students to grow and serve others as well.
Gagne went to SUNY Plattsburgh in New York, where she received her bachelor’s degree in math and then received her master’s in education.
She also just got accepted to Charleston Southern University to receive her second master's degree in administration.
When she finished her student teaching, Gagne initially had plans to teach in New York that fell through. She applied everywhere until Cane Bay High’s former principal, Lee Westberry, offered her a job at Cane Bay High, and she has worked at the school ever since.
She has no plans to move back to Vermont.
“I would not trade this weather for anything,” she said.
Gagne teaches geometry, honors geometry and discrete math. Discrete math was created last year and is a senior-level math course; it is a very consumer math-based class where students learn about areas such as mortgages and savings accounts.
Gagne has always enjoyed math, adding that she was influenced by an amazing math teacher her junior year of high school.
“I just wanted to be just like her,” she said.
At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Berkeley County School District offered its families the choice of three different learning pathways because of the pandemic: traditional learning, blended distance learning (BDL) and virtual learning. Gagne teaches on all three platforms.
She actually got involved in the virtual teaching platform about three years, and last year she developed the virtual course for discrete math.
“I love it,” she said. “Obviously, this year, teaching three pathways is incredibly difficult, but it is rewarding because I do get to reach more kids than I normally would.”
Gagne teaches traditional and BDL students during first, second and third blocks, and then teaches virtually during her fourth block planning period, among other tasks.
Outside of teaching, Gagne previously involved in National Math Honors Society (which she misses), but she gave that up this year to be the math department head. She is the assistant robotics coach, and also the academic coach for the school’s athletes; she took on working the gates for her school’s sporting events in order to help build a relationship with those students.
She was the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year and thus previously served on the school’s Teacher Forum.
Beyond school she is involved in Relay for Life and is part of the leadership team for the Berkeley/Dorchester event, which used to be held on Cane Bay High’s track after previously being held at Stratford High.
Last year’s event was cancelled because of the pandemic but the team is planning on hosting this year’s event at the Goose Creek municipal building in May.
Gagne enjoyed working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation through her mom before she came to South Carolina. After she attended the Relay For Life event at Stratford High, Gagne knew she wanted to bring it to Cane Bay High.
Relay For Life has previously been a big event at Cane Bay, which Gagne introduced to the school through her National Honors Society students. Several student groups have gotten involved in addition to community groups – there were at least five individual Cane Bay High student relay teams at the 2019 event.
“I knew I wanted to do some kind of community service, and then when I got here, with National Honors Society, I wanted to partner with a nonprofit,” Gagne said.
Gagne is hopeful that her involvement inside and outside of school is something that leaves a lasting impression on her students.
“I want to leave my legacy of how involved of a teacher, and how committed and dedicated to her community, that I was,” she said. “And just being a good person – go out of your way to do things for other people, be kind and do for others.”
Gagne is engaged to Garrett Welch, an athletic trainer at Cane Bay High. They are getting married next year.
She has two rescue dogs, a girl named Mali from Dorchester Paws, and a boy named Ollie from the Berkeley Animal Shelter.
Gagne’s favorite thing about teaching at Cane Bay High is being a part of the Cane Bay family.
“Everybody is just so amazing,” she said, adding, “We all are more than willing to help each other out.”