Neighbor stories

Charleston Good Neighbor Transforms Science Curriculums Across City

Written by ndmulti

Each month, Nextdoor is honoring the good neighbors who are making a difference in their neighborhoods every day with our Good Neighbor Award. Each winner is nominated by their neighbors and will receive a gift card from Nextdoor in recognition of the positive impact they have made in their community.

To nominate a good neighbor in your community, click here.

As  a lifelong teacher and lover of science, Carol Tempel has dedicated much of her life to teaching kids the wonders of science and the world.

Her husband, Gene, says that Carol began her career as a science teacher in Los Angeles, where she taught low-income students the basics of biology and chemistry. Inspired to continue her own education and help more students, Carol went on to earn a master’s degree in biology.

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Carol Tempel, our Good Neighbor Award winner in Charleston.

That dedication to students continued as Carol eventually had two boys of her own, and she kept teaching throughout, eventually moving into administration and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum development.

“But that wasn’t enough,” Gene says of Carol. “She wanted to change lives in an even bigger way.”

With what little free time she had, Carol applied for and obtained a National Science Foundation grant to establish a science center for Charleston County, which provided local schools with science kits for teachers and classrooms. The multi-million dollar grant provided teachers with a variety of materials, including professional development training materials to ensure the effective use of the kits in classrooms.

Thanks to Carol’s grant, science curriculums across the county have changed – permanently. The grant has since ended, but the science center, and improved science education programs across the county, are ongoing.

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Carol on the Kyper, a NASA aircraft that flew out of Australia to photograph comet Shoemaker-Levy. Several of the Charleston district science teachers flew on the Kyper, increasing their firsthand science knowledge.

“She has absolutely changed lives here in Charleston,” Gene says. “There’s no other way to say it. She’s an extraordinary woman – one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met.”

Even in her retirement, Carol is committed to others. She recently ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives, and while she did not win the seat, she focused the debate on substantive local issues and continues to advise the current representative on policy around childhood education. In addition, she is active in Charleston Area Justice Ministry, which has improved early childhood education locally.

From all of us at Nextdoor, congratulations Carol, and thank you for everything you’ve done to impact the lives of students across Charleston.

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