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Misty Abercrombie made a decision that changed her life.

“I have been in outside sales for 20 years,” she said. “At 40, I decided to do a complete career change.”

That change led her to the classroom. Abercrombie teaches Google applications and entrepreneurship classes at Mauldin High School. This is her first year as a teacher.

“I participate in the PACE (Program of Alternative Certification) Program,” she said. “You are allowed to teach in a subject area that you have experience in. If you have working history of the subject you want to teach, you can use your working background as part of your experience.”

Abercrombie started the three-year program last year.

“My students are amazing,” she said. “I believe there is so much more that kids need to learn other than just opening a book. If they don’t have moral character to back that up or have respect for each other, that book knowledge isn’t enough. I feel like God put me in the classroom for a reason, and it is my job to make kids the best version of themselves.”

One of Abercrombie’s first assignments involved students talking about stereotypes. She used a lesson on a computer application to have students “tell me who you’re not.”

“I was in tears reading those 120 papers,” she said.

That assignment was followed by having students tell Abercrombie who they are.

“We spread out life lessons,” she said. “They know that I’m on their side.”

Making the switch from the business world to education has been a learning experience for Abercrombie in more ways than one.

“After a month on the job, I called my teacher friends and profusely apologized,” she said. “I wasn’t prepared for all of the other things. Teachers definitely earn the little bit of pay they make.”

Though she is the mom of twins, Abercrombie said she feels like her family has grown tremendously this year.

“I went from being responsible for two 19-year-old boys and their moral growth to now 120,” she said. “Sometimes I get my feelings hurt because I put everything I have into this. These kids literally take what you say to heart. If you can’t give your students 100 percent of your heart, you don’t need to be in the classroom. It’s been life altering.”

Nomination excerpt

“Ms. Abercrombie is the best teacher I have ever had. She has been able to open up our creativity and things we wouldn't tell any other teacher. She deserves this because there isn’t another teacher out there that can make the impact that she does on her students.”

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