Ms. Tamikah Battle, an Adult Education teacher at Manning CI High School, won the district’s Teacher of the Year Award for the 2019-2020 school year. In addition to an individualized plaque, she was presented with a rocking chair made by offenders in the carpentry program. She will also receive $1,000 for being a district honoree, and her application will now be included in the competition for statewide Teacher of the Year.
According to Ms. Battle, her childhood in a single-parent home in the urban inner city of Newark, NJ, helped her develop “a heart for at-risk students and underserved populations.” As an educator, Ms. Battle has high expectations of herself and her students. She believes that “teaching is work from the heart” and that her job requires her and other teachers to “communicate, engage, and inspire.” Her commitment to excellence in teaching led to a 80-90% passing rate on the Algebra I end-of-course exam and the high school exit exam (the state average is 68%).
In her words, “Our graduates should leave us equipped with a trade, academic, technological, and soft skills prepared to gain employment or further their education. My vision includes developing students’ cognitive skills so that they can think critically and rationally to solve academic problems as well as daily problems they face inside and outside the SCDC. Having these skills may knock down many barriers, bring families together, and reduce crime and the recidivism rate.”
With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Benedict College and a master’s degree in Divergent Learning from Columbia College, Ms. Battle has served as a math and STEM teacher in several other districts including Richland 2, Richland/Lexington 5, and Lexington 1. She currently serves as the GED Teacher at Manning High School.
Her energy, talents, and commitment have been earning her attention for many years. Earlier in 2019, Manning CI Warden presented her the CAN DO award for determination. In 2018, she received the African-American Student Advocate of the Year Award from the University of South Carolina Center for the Equity and Education of African-American Students. In 2013 the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce identified Ms. Battle as “One to Watch” and a recipient of the Palmetto Pillar Award Winner for her work with STEM education.
Manning Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison, houses approximately 600 level 1B offenders. Offenders usually have short sentences, and the facility also serves as a pre-release center and houses inmates who are within three months of release. Pre-release services include a 60-day program of vocational and educational training for offenders. Vocational training at this facility includes masonry and certification in horticulture, landscaping, custodial maintenance, culinary services, and small engine repair. Inmates can also earn a GED and learn to read while incarcerated at Manning Correctional. Within 30 days of release, services expand to include reintegration into the community, housing, and employment support and resources.