Dover Elementary School first grade teacher Amanda Fair-Coles’ story is one of profound impact and relentless commitment to her students and colleagues. She began her teaching career as an instructional assistant and, when she realized her calling to enter the field of teaching, went back to school to complete her education degree. At Dover Elementary, Fair-Coles has a “looped” classroom, in which her kindergarten students last year continued with her in first grade. Fair-Coles meticulously plans lessons from the student lens, employs engaging personalized learning strategies, fosters cooperative learning and conducts frequent assessments – all while utilizing student data to ensure optimal learning experiences. The academic results with her students speak volumes, as they meet student learning objectives and on the whole score proficient or higher on the school’s iReady diagnostic assessments.
From the outset of her students’ learning trajectory, Fair-Coles makes sure that everyone is seen, heard and valued. She understands the importance of going beyond engagement to empower students to take charge of their learning. Whether creating original songs for her students to grasp math and phonics skills, integrating technology, or encouraging higher-order thinking through academic questioning, Fair-Coles has fostered a nurturing environment that celebrates growth at every turn. Keeping students front and center, she guides students to reach higher and values student-to-student feedback. These principles are at play as students hone comprehension skills by building upon prior knowledge, asking challenging questions, communicating effectively and reading with one another.
Fair-Coles brings her talents to the school’s Saturday Academy and summer school classes, programs designed to eliminate learning gaps. Her commitment to equitable learning opportunities earns high regard from parents. She highlights student achievements and provides parents with valuable strategies for modeling good behavior and life skills at home.
Also a catalyst for teacher advancement and growth, Fair-Coles serves on the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) instructional leadership team and is certified on the South Carolina Teaching Standards 4.0 rubric to support and evaluate teachers. She has spearheaded professional development on creating “Success Criteria” for teachers and integrating High-Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM). Her work as a certified mentor for new teachers has inspired colleagues to earn their full teaching certifications.
Beyond the school, Fair-Coles serves on the district teacher forum and recently assumed the role of a teacher leader for state meetings, solidifying her position as a driving force in South Carolina’s education community.
Fair-Coles earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Claflin University in 2009 and a Master of Arts in teaching from South Carolina State University in 2018.
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