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James Sweeney Named to Newly Endowed Chair

James Sweeney Named to Newly Endowed Chair

Introduced by Head of School Cathy McGehee during this year’s Awards Assembly, the Ferrell Page McClean ’64 Faculty Chair is a newly endowed teaching chair that recognizes a faculty member who is forward-thinking, engages in ongoing professional development, and contributes to mathematics education in and out of the classroom.

Established by McClean in appreciation for the impact a talented faculty member can have to develop a deeper understanding and life-long love of math by making math fun, capturing their students’ imaginations, and showing how math translates to the real world, the income from this endowed fund will help offset funding for the salary, benefits, and professional development of a highly qualified, inspirational teacher of mathematics. 

In naming Dr. James Sweeney as the inaugural chair holder, McGehee shared, “In his daily work he exemplifies the characteristics of the McClean teaching chair: He is forward thinking and engages in professional development to strengthen teaching and learning and to create student confidence through fostering a growth mindset. He has created a curriculum that allows students to work at their own pace. In the summer of 2022, he received a Kenan grant to develop the materials for this self-paced curriculum for Algebra 2. As a result, students in his class are in the driver's seat. In a given class, a student could be learning a new skill through a video, attempting practice problems, or demonstrating their understanding on a skill check. This personalization allows Dr. Sweeney to move around the classroom and work with individuals and small groups to help the students master a concept. In all he does, Dr. Sweeney encourages students to take risks and to grow from failure.”

In 2023, the Modern Classrooms Project recognized Dr. Sweeney as a Distinguished Modern Classroom Educator for implementing a blended-learning, self-paced, and mastery-based instructional model in his Algebra II courses. Currently teaching AP Calculus and Algebra II & Trigonometry, Dr. Sweeney received his B.S. degree from Coker University and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

Congratulations, Dr. Sweeney!