Your Voice Matters – Alumni Spotlight on Shavoyae Brown

Shavoyae Brown came to Emmanuel on a basketball scholarship, but something else pushed him to further his education. 

“I always knew I wanted to teach,” he said. “As a black man, I didn’t see any educators that looked like me throughout school, so that pushed me.”

 He graduated from Emmanuel in 2008 with a degree in English and a passion to teach confidence in the classroom. 

“One thing I take pride in is building and cultivating relationships,” he said. “Through teaching English, I’ve been able to do that and help my students understand that their voice matters. I want to equip them with the tools necessary to go out into the world and be world-changers.” 

Brown currently serves as the Dean of Students at Woodmont High School in Greenville County, SC. The school was recently named “Palmetto’s Finest High School,” an honor given to the top high school in the state. 

 In 2022, Mr. Brown received an honor of his own, when he was named the 2022-23 Woodmont High School Teacher of the Year. For him, this was a special moment in his career.  

“I had only been at Woodmont for 2.5 years at the time,” he remembered. “In the school, we have 2,200 students and roughly 200 teachers. For the teachers at Woodmont to select me as Teacher of the Year in such a short time, it was a defining moment that I’m where the Lord wants me to be.” 

Looking back on his time at Emmanuel, the first person that comes to mind is Dr. Kirk McConnell.  

“I would say that he saved my life when I was at Emmanuel,” he said. “It was because of his consistency, small things like checking in daily. He was a daily reminder to me and my philosophy of teaching, that my voice also matters. In my moments of questioning if I could teach, or if I would be a person who impacts others, he was that person at Emmanuel who showed me how to do that.”

 How did his time at Emmanuel prepare him for his career? 

“One thing I gathered from Emmanuel was that everyone can bring something to the table, but it requires work and authentic investment,” he said. “When I think of my mentor, Dr. McConnell, it wasn’t just his words that motivated me, it was his walk.”

 As he continues his career, Brown hopes to continue to build relationships with students and help them become better versions of themselves. 

What advice would he give to those looking to go into Education? 

“Understand that all kids can learn,” he said. “They’re going to learn from people who they know genuinely care about them. When your students know without a shadow of a doubt that you care about their well-being, they’ll move mountains for you.”