• Greetings Theodore Lester Elementary Family and Stakeholders,

        Welcome to a new school year at Theodore Lester Elementary School. The teachers and I are so excited to have all our students return to school face-to-face this year. As we prepare to usher in another year of teaching and learning, we stand poised to make this one of our most successful years in supporting students’ academic and social/emotional growth. Our theme for the 2021-2022 school year is “Bringing Happiness to Teaching and Learning.”

        The past year and a half has brought financial hardship to several Lester families, so in lieu of advertising a school supply list for parents to purchase supplies for their students, we are using Title I supplies to provide bookbags and needed school supplies for all of our students. We are also grateful to Florence Toyota and Caring Hearts of the Pee Dee for sponsoring Lester and donating additional supplies for our students.

        As Lester's staff and I reflected upon the past school year, we were reminded of many successes, but we were also able to identify areas in which we can improve. Structures have been put in place to more quickly identify areas in which students may need academic intervention and will use the district's muti-tiered approach to intervention to address those need. We will address students' social and emotional growth by incorporating social and emotional learning into the school curriculum. This will be done through the use of the Second Step Program and Happiness 360. 

        The Second Step Program promotes the social-emotional development, safety, and well-being of children from 5k through Grade 8. The program also includes a bullying prevention unit that gives educators and school staff the training and tools needed to effectively address school bullying in Kindergarten through Grade 5. In addition to Second Step, the Happiness 360 curriculum will be used to provide select interventions that target the social and emotional well-being of our students. It involves teachers, students and parents. All grade levels will receive similar social and emotional lessons alongside math, reading and writing with curriculum adapted to their grade level.

        Whatever the future may bring, we are poised for success and look forward to working with Lester parents, guardians, community stakeholders and F1S district administrators and staff to make 2021-2022 one of Theodore Lester Elementary's most successful school year's ever. 

        Join us as we bring happiness to teaching and learning!

        Janette Williams

        School Principal


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      Degrees and Certifications:

      Janette Williams

      1993 - Bachelor of Science Degree, Francis Marion University

       2002 - Master of Education - Technology in Education, Lesley University

       2008 - Master of Education - Educational Administration, University of South Carolina

       2016 - Present, Principal of Theodore Lester Elementary School

       Past president of South Carolina Alliance of Black School  Eduators

       Past Eastern Regional Representative of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, Representing the Eastern United States


      Phone: 843-664-8459


      Degrees and Certifications:

      Ms. Weithers

      Curriculum Technology Coach

      Greetings! My name is Candice Weithers, and I am delighted to serve the Lester community as the school’s curriculum technology coach, or CTC. As a CTC, I work with classroom teachers to support student learning, teacher practice, and improve the integration of classroom/instructional technology at all grade levels. Throughout my career, I have taught students in grades 1-6 in both Orangeburg and Florence. I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from South Carolina State University. I also possess a master’s degree in Educational Studies with an emphasis in teacher leadership and a Specialist Degree in Educational Administration. Since 2011, I have been a national board certified teacher. I am grateful for the opportunity that I am provided each day to support teachers and grow young learners. I enjoy building relationships with students, parents, and colleagues and am excited about continuing to make an impact on the quality of teaching and learning in our public schools. 

      Reading Recovery

      Phone: 843-664-8459


      Degrees and Certifications:

      Mrs. Newton

      Welcome to Reading Recovery. My name is Karen Newton, and I am very excited about this school year. I graduated from Francis Marion University with a degree in Elementary Education. I also received my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Francis Marion University. I have taught Kindergarten, First, Second, Third and Fifth grades. My passion is teaching children to read and to love reading !! Teaching is a joy for me, and I look forward to another great year with your children.

      Class Schedule

      Literacy Coach

      Phone: 843-664-8459


      Degrees and Certifications:

      Mrs. Dixon

      Welcome back for another great year at Lester Elementary! My name is Pauline Dixon and I am the Literacy Coach at Lester! I have 14 years of teaching experience in Early Childhood. I graduated from Francis Marion University with a BS in Early Childhood Education and also have a Masters degree in Instructional Accomodations.  My passion for teaching comes from the students! 

      I live in Florence, SC with my husband and two boys! I enjoy doing anything outdoors and spending time with my family!

      What is a Literacy Coach?

      A literacy coach provides support to teachers to improve student learning through student centered coaching cycles. Coaches enable teachers to think reflectively about student learning and helps the teacher to implement differentiated instructional practices.

      Other responsibilities may include: 
      * Coach or mentor colleagues
      * Model instructional strategies for teachers with students in whole or small groups in the classroom
      * Use data to provide materials, activities, and instruction that better meet the needs of students
      * Train teachers to use data to differentiate instruction
      * Assist with ELA lesson planning
      * Facilitate MTSS/RtI
      * Provide support to classroom teachers
      * Provide in class intervention as well as enrichment for students
      * Assist with HMH Into Reading Curriculum/Literacy program
      * Support the use of Orton Gillingham (OG), Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), and Lexia
      * Serve as a peer- working collaboratively to problem solve issues related to specific students struggling with reading
      * Provide training/professional development to teachers
      * Other duties as assigned by the principal

      Read to Succeed (R2S)

      Theodore Lester Elementary is a Read to Succeed school. We offer a Literacy Coach to assist teachers in
      professional learning. Our school has its own school-wide Reading Plan which aims to improve reading
      achievement among our students. Teachers at our school are also required to earn a Literacy Teacher Endorsement. We also have our school's Reading Plan available at the school if you are interested in viewing it. 

      In 2014, the State of South Carolina passed an all-inclusive literacy mandate, aiming to address state-wide deficits in academic achievement. With a particular focus on third-grade reading proficiency, Act 284 (Read to Succeed) offers a complete framework that includes teacher preparation, student instruction, and early intervention. This law provides students in South Carolina the opportunity to attain the literacy skills necessary for academic and professional accomplishment.

       Please visit the South Caroline State Department of Education's website to find out more information about Read to Succeed.