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South Carolina: Pee Dee

Together with corps members, alumni, school partners, and our communities, we work collectively to realize the day when every child in the Pee Dee has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility.
south carolina melissa lawrence
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About Us

While South Carolina is rich in culture, history, and community, educational opportunity is not spread equally here. In South Carolina’s Pee Dee, small, rural, and under-resourced schools struggle to fill their classrooms with teachers, contributing to inequitable outcomes between urban and rural students and between white students and students of color. 

Since our inception in 2011, we have worked to recruit, develop, and retain high-quality teachers who transform student outcomes in South Carolina’s most under-resourced schools. Our movement has grown from placing our first corps of 31 teachers in the Pee Dee to developing 800+ teachers across the state since 2011. Together, our corps members and alumni form a network of classroom teachers, coaches, mentors, school leaders, elected officials, and policy makers, all working to build better futures for students at every level of the education system.

Today, we’re expanding our approach from placing teachers in hard-to-staff schools to also developing and retaining outstanding educators beyond the corps: the SC Impact Fellowship supports our alumni to build fulfilling, life-long careers in SC education leadership. Our New Teacher Academy provides our targeted development and training to all new teachers in Colleton County and Jasper County School Districts. And our Accelerator Academy enables more homegrown leaders to find their path to the South Carolina corps and create rewarding careers in the classroom. 

Together, we are building a Pee Dee where every child - no matter their race or zip code - has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. 


Darlington, South Carolina

Living Here

Living Here

Named for the indigenous Pee Dee tribe and nestled in the northeast corner of the state along the watershed of the Pee Dee River, the Pee Dee is a sparkling gem of nature’s wonders, with a unique combination of scenic waters, pristine parks, and landscapes ripe for exploration. 

Corps members teach in Darlington, home of NASCAR’s oldest super-speedway; Sumter or Hartsville, home to charming neighborhoods, vibrant downtown scenes, as well as Coker University; and Williamsburg County, offering some of the state’s most delicious BBQ and situated along the beautiful Black River. 

Many of our corps members choose to live, congregate, and hang out in Florence, a mid-size town located centrally amongst the other Pee Dee counties. Florence is home to some of the state’s largest cultural events, such as the Pecan Festival, and hosts a variety of options for entertainment for young professionals, including a popular convention center, a monthly block party during the summer, and a thriving downtown scene. 

Near Florence, corps members can make a visit to Lake City, which offers the charm and community of a Southern small town and a fine arts and entertainment scene that rivals any big city, including its beautiful historic downtown and gallery centers. Lake City is famed for its annual ArtFields, a nine-day event that attracts artists from across the Southeast who display their work in venues around town. Florence is also less than 80 miles from Myrtle Beach – ideal for day-trips throughout the nearly year-long beach season! 

The Pee Dee offers a charming balance of a small town feel, with expansive opportunities for entertainment, culture, and outdoor adventures, along with proximity to more metropolitan areas such as Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston for easy weekend trips. It’s the perfect area for anyone wanting the best of both worlds. No matter where in the Pee Dee you choose to live, you will be part of a thriving corps community committed to ensuring that each and every one of our students has access to an excellent education. And you will join a network of teachers, school leaders, and families who work tirelessly to create a community where every child can reach their potential and achieve their dreams, no matter their race or zip code.

TFASC teacher Anjali Bhatt

Our Programs

Our programming is designed to support you through every stage of your leadership journey - from early exploration into the possibilities of a career in education to targeted development for roles in educational leadership and beyond. 

TFASC students

See Why Quenton Martin Chose South Carolina

Changemakers Wanted.

Check your eligibility to join the South Carolina corps today.
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“[TFA South Carolina’s] ongoing support helped me to achieve the best results in my classroom, and their resources proved to be effective every single time.”

Deion Jamison

2023 South Carolina Teacher of the Year

South Carolina Corps Member 2017

Local Leadership

Courtney Waters sitting on steps

Courtney Waters

Executive Director

Teach For America South Carolina

Courtney has been with Teach For America South Carolina since 2018, leading alumni strategy and programs, external partnerships, thought leadership, fund development and the region’s state funding strategy. She most appreciates that TFA has provided an opportunity to work with state leaders and observe how South Carolina’s education system functions. She believes TFA is uniquely positioned to see the entire field, from policy to the practice of teaching, and align itself to provide innovative, community rooted support to districts across the state. Before joining this team, Courtney worked as a high school ELA teacher and in the supply chain management field in business development. She received a M.A. International Studies from Rhodes College and an M.A. Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Mississippi. She is a member  of the Charleston County School District’s Board of Trustees. 

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