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ACADEMICS

GED Math

The Mathematical Reasoning test is 115 minutes long and features approximately 40 items in a variety of formats. There is a short section on which a calculator is not allowed, but for the bulk of the test, a calculator is permitted. The calculator is also available on the computer screen.

About half of the test focuses on quantitative problem solving, and the other half measures basic algebraic and geometric problem solving skills. 

Mrs. Leopard's Biography

I attended and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1985 with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Theatre and Speech. Following graduation, I worked as a manager of Yesterday’s Restaurant in Columbia for several years. I returned to school in 1987 and earned an Associate degree at Midlands Technical College in Finance. I continued working in the food service industry and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to work at Harper’s Restaurant. I was the first female manager hired by Harper’s in 1990. I continued working at Harper’s for four years. I moved back to Columbia to help open the Harper’s Restaurant in Five Points, Columbia.

In 1993, after much deliberation, I decided to return to school and get my Masters in Teaching from the University of South Carolina. I quit my job and became a full-time student again. I graduated in December of 1994 with my MAT from The University of South Carolina. I worked various substitute positions until I was hired at The Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School in July, 1995. I have been at The Wil Lou Gray Opportunity ever since, and I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I love teaching math, and I love being a teacher to all the students who come through my classroom.

Mr. Wyndham's Biography

Kurt Wyndham received a Masters in Secondary Education Mathematics from University of South Carolina and is currently teaching GED mathematics at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School. Any student who is an advocate for him/herself can learn math. This means that all the students that come into his class can learn something from him. One of his core teaching beliefs is that “teaching is more than lecturing.” This means that he will make all lessons student driven and make them exciting.  His professional interests focus on different areas of math including: Algebra, geometry, and higher math. His current projects include producing power points for GED test concepts. He was honored in 2012-2013 as Lexington 4 school District Teacher of the Year. 

GED English

This Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA) test measures both reading and written skills. Students will be tested on their ability to read carefully, write clearly, and understand/use standard English grammar. Students will see and be tested on multiple reading passages on this test. Basically, 75% of these passages are nonfiction. The other 25% will be fiction. There are no poetry or dramatic selections. RLA written competence will be measured in one extended response question. Meanwhile, various question formats will test student understanding of standard English grammar. Students will have 150 Minutes to complete the test, which will include approximately 51 questions (mostly multiple choice).

Mr. Jamison's Biography

I am Max Jamison, an English teacher here at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School.  I have been teaching English at Wil Lou Gray since 2007, and I truly enjoy what I do.  Of the main things I enjoy most about my job are watching our young men and women: mature, work diligently, and realize academic success over the course of an academic cycle.  It seems trite to say, but, from a personal standpoint, I am thoroughly fulfilled when students thank me and other teachers once they receive their GEDs.  There is no question that it is a true test and statement of a young person’s character and determination when he/she achieves his/her GED here at Wil Lou Gray.  During the course of each cycle, I thoroughly enjoy establishing positive relationships with our students, which is so important in enhancing student engagement. 

I make it a point to provide a positive environment in my classroom for each student to feel comfortable in striving to succeed.  Because of our smaller class sizes, I am really able to individualize learning for our students.  In my classroom, you can be assured that: 1) there are no days off, 2) lessons are tailored to reflect the material on the GED, and 3) I will ENCOURAGE students to work to their best abilities.  Wil Lou Gray has been, by far, my favorite teaching experience.  This is my 21st year of teaching in South Carolina.  I earned a B.A. in Journalism at the University of Pittsburgh and received my Master’s degree at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).  Prior to working here at Wil Lou Gray, I have served as an English teacher, newspaper and yearbook advisor, and wrestling coach for Lakewood High School, Swansea High School, and Pelion High School.  I am also a tremendous sports fan and love to golf here in SC.  Also, in my spare time, I really enjoy cooking and gardening.  In particular, I grow hot peppers in my garden — REALLY hot peppers.  This year I’m proudly growing Carolina Reapers, Trinidad Scorpions, and ghost peppers to name a few.  

Mr. Eskridge's Biography

BA in English Literature and Language, USC 1986

MAT in Secondary English Education, USC 1987

Married to Jennifer Eskridge, 1992 to present

5 children, 4 grandchildren

Hobbies include playing guitar, spending time in the country, and working on various home improvement projects. 

I enjoy the challenge and reward of teaching WLGOS students. The challenge is getting them to realize they have potential, and the reward is watching them realize their potential.

GED Science

Students will have 90 minutes to complete the Science test, which is 40 questions long. About 40% of the test focuses on life science, about 40% focuses on physical science, and the remaining 20% focuses on Earth and Space science. The Science test features a full range of questions.

Mrs. Wiggins's Biography

Michelle Wiggins has 17 years of experience working in education. She obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Phoenix in Elementary Education. She is a strong advocate for encouraging youth to strive for excellence and to never give up! This journey began in Fayetteville, NC at Spring Lake Middle School where she served as an Administrative Assistant, Accountant, Safe Schools Coordinator and mentor. Mrs. Wiggins began teaching at Solomon Elementary in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii where she worked in several capacities: substitute teacher, paraprofessional teacher assistant, after-school counselor, and 21st Century Community Learning Center Coordinator. Upon moving to Columbia, she started working at V. V. Reid Elementary School as a preschool teacher.  Later, she served as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. In 2011, Mrs. Wiggins was offered a position at Wil Lou Gray, and it has been one of her most rewarding experiences! She also enjoys walking, singing, serving at her church, and spending quality time with her husband and extraordinary daughter. They have a beautifully blended family whom they love unconditionally!

Mrs. Zimmerman's Biography

I am a native of Columbia, SC and a graduate of Dreher High School.  I attended Coker College and played both women’s basketball and soccer.  My teaching career has allowed me to teach and coach at Denmark-Olar Middle School, Swansea High School, and AC Flora High School. I am married with three boys, ages 18, 16, and 12.  In our free time, we like camping in the mountains of NC and enjoying the beach along the SC coast.  I really enjoy working with and interacting with young people from different walks of life.  

GED Social Studies

The Social Studies test is 70 minutes long. There are approximately 45 questions on the test.  Half of the test focuses on civics and government. So, get ready to brush up on your knowledge of local, state, and federal government as well as the duties of citizens. The rest of the test will measure knowledge of: U.S history, geography, economics, and some aspects of world history.

Ms. Jones's Biography

Meet Armisha Jones, a great Social Studies teacher here at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School.  Ms. Jones is passionate about education and is always focused on learning something new. After honorably discharging from the military, Ms. Jones decided to pursue a degree in Education at Columbia International University but ultimately graduated from Columbia College where she earned a Master’s degree as well.  Ms. Jones believes that every child can learn, and it is the success of every one of her students that makes her job rewarding. She believes one should never stop learning. Ms. Jones has in the past served as a department head, Teacher of the Month, as well as Teacher of the Year during her teaching career. Ms. Jones is from Cleveland, Ohio and is the mother of three exceptional children and two large dogs.  Aside from teaching school, Ms. Jones’s interests include: traveling, photography, writing, cooking, acting, singing, and exercising. 

Mrs. Mitchum's Biography

Kay Mitchum has 21 years of experience working in education. She obtained her Master’s degree in Divergent Learning and Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education Biology from Columbia College.  She taught eighth grade science for 19 years in Lexington School District Two before coming to Wil Lou Gray.  As a matter of fact, Mrs. Mitchum’s mother taught at Wil Lou Gray for 28 years before she retired in 1995.  Wil Lou Gray has always held a special place in Mrs. Mitchum’s heart.  

INCLUSION

Our inclusion teacher is uniquely tasked with teaching alongside general education teachers throughout the day. These two teachers work together to give students the help they need in order to achieve academic growth in our program. In an inclusive classroom, various co-teaching and supportive techniques are implemented in the classroom to foster academic and social growth.

Ms. Halter's Biography

I was hired to be the Academic Coach at Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School in the fall of 2011 and accepting the position was one of the best professional decisions I ever made.  As I embark on my 23rd year of teaching, I am incredibly blessed to have a career about which I am truly passionate.  Every day I am given the opportunity to teach alongside my best friends in a positive work environment where laughter is the norm.  My students include young adults who may not have had the best experience in traditional school, as well as those who come from hard places.  Through it all, I’ve seen these young men and women experience incredible success through their own hard work, determination and perseverance.  It truly is the high point of the cycle when I get to celebrate with students as they receive confirmation that their hard work has paid off and they obtain their GED.  It’s not an easy job, but MAN…..it’s an awesome job!!  

My educational journey began with teachers who encouraged me, saw the best in me, and instilled within me the love of learning. After graduating from high school, I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina and received my Master’s Degree in Special Education from Converse College with certifications in Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disabilities.  I later took classes from Columbia College to complete the requirements for a Master’s +30.  

I began my teaching career at Bates Middle and Alcorn Middle schools – both of which provided me with invaluable experiences; however, very early in my journey, I felt a calling to work with high school-aged students.  I accepted a teaching position at Swansea High School in Lexington School District Four where I taught in the Occupational Diploma program for six years, implemented the Teacher Cadet program, and was the Yearbook advisor for a year. In 2003-2004, I was named SHS Teacher of the Year at which time I left the classroom to become the Transition Specialist and subsequently, the CATE Director.   I made some incredible memories during my twelve years, and I will always cherish my time at Swansea High School.  

Family and church are both very important to me, and I am passionate about serving others. I am active with my church’s mission ministry, having traveled numerous times to Belize and Russia with mission teams to serve the children in both areas of the world.  I also find great joy in volunteering with Special Olympics – which I have done for over 20 years.  A fun fact about me is that I am a nationally certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.  During the summers, I work at Camp Wonder Hands, a camp for Deaf and hard of hearing children and teens.  In my free time, you’ll find me attending USC football games, hanging out with the whole family on Lake Wateree, spending time with friends or traveling to new locations to try out the best restaurants ☺ 

Teaching affords me the opportunity to do what I love every single day – to give back as a way of saying thank you for all that has been given to me, as well as to pay it forward so that others might experience the joy of learning. 

“When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” – Dr. Maya Angelou 

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