Growing up in Andrews, SC, Valente’ Gibson always wanted to be a teacher. He did well in school and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in counseling education from the University of South Carolina (UofSC). He now teaches fifth-grade at Jackson Creek Elementary School in Richland School District Two. Gibson’s journey has led him to become a recipient of the 2020 Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
A focus of his work is racial and social justice education practices. He desires to see communities where all students achieve academically, invite change, become leaders and address injustices in the world. Gibson feels inspired, honored and blessed to receive the NCTE award and to join past recipients who continue to dedicate their teaching careers to working with children and families of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
“I have faced several challenges in my three years of teaching, but each one has strengthened me to become a better educator and person. Receiving this award would not have been possible without my students who continue to motivate and push me daily,” said Gibson. “I am grateful for the recognition and I am eager to gain the necessary tools to further grow as an educator by participating with this award program.”
Gibson is considerably active outside of the classroom. He is a 21st Century After-School director where he has the opportunity to help students and parents with academic enrichment. Tutorial services, parent workshops on financial literacy, resume writing, and literacy enrichment are some of the offerings. Gibson also teaches at the Center for the Education and Equity of African American Students at the UofSC where he helps develop learning modules that embed culturally relevant curriculum for effective teaching of students of color.
Gibson is currently pursuing a Master of Education in teaching with a concentration in multicultural context in education at the UofSC.
According to NCTE, people of color refers to historically underrepresented groups: African American, American Indian, Asian American, Latinx, and Pacific Islander.