Growing up, Lesley Brantley always had a love for math and children – enough so that her parents expected her to grow up to be a teacher.
When Brantley attended Clemson University as an undergraduate, she started off as an engineering major. When she realized the major was not for her, she remembered her passion for math and children and switched her major, graduating with a degree in secondary education and mathematics.
Brantley is now 23 years old and in her second year teaching eighth grade math and Algebra I at Dubose Middle School. It is also her second year teaching in Dorchester District Two.
Brantley is not unfamiliar in the area; she grew up in Summerville and attended Summerville High School. She said it is her family that keeps her in her hometown.
“My family is very important to me so I’m very family-oriented,” she said. “Summerville is just the place to be.”
Brantley said it is her calling to be a teacher and wants to help her students grow. She said she likes teaching middle school students because it is challenging.
“It’s a little harder to make those relationships, but that’s what makes it fun,” she said. “You get to see them grow and mature and become different people, and that’s the fun part.”
Aside from teaching Brantley is a coach in Math Counts, which is a competition for students, and also helps with the Math Quest Team. She is also assisting with the school’s eighth grade dance.
Brantley was recognized in 2013 as Dubose’s Rookie Teacher of the Year, as well as DD2’s Rookie Teacher of the Year.
As far as her worst experience teaching goes, Brantley said some days are just harder than others and do not go as planned, particularly when she deals with a struggling student.
“I can’t think of one experience that has been horrible,” she said. “Some days you just hit a wall.”
Her best experiences with teaching are when a student finally comprehends the content – when they look at her and say “I got it” and even throws in a “Mrs. Brantley, thank you.”
When she is not at Dubose Brantley enjoys spending time with her husband Matthew, who is also her high school sweetheart. The couple has neither pets nor children but both have family in the area and enjoy seeing their family members. Brantley also likes to run and play soccer. She and her husband enjoy hanging out on their boat.
The Brantleys are also in the process of remodeling their house, which takes up a lot of their weekend time, she said.
Brantley said her life goal is to raise a family and to continue educating all the children she comes across for the future. On top of that her professional goal is to obtain her Master’s in education or mathematics.
“Teaching is harder than people think it is, only because I care so much about the kids and I want them to succeed,” she said. “It’s hard but it’s rewarding.
“I feel like there is always room for growth,” she added. “I want to be the best I can be for them.”