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RICHLAND ONE EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Heyward Horticulture Teacher Jamie Tyler Gives Her Students Hands-On Experience Outside the Classroom

Heyward Career and Technology Center Horticulture Teacher Jamie TylerAs a horticulture teacher at Heyward Career and Technology Center, Jamie Tyler’s job is all about plants.

Tyler is originally from Buckingham County, Virginia. When she first came to Columbia, she worked as a horticulturalist at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. After getting her master’s degree from Virginia Tech, she decided to become a teacher.

She has been working in Richland One for eight years. She started as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher at St. Andrews Middle School in 2015. In 2019, Tyler became a horticulture teacher at Heyward.

Students who take a horticulture class with Tyler get hands-on experience working with plants in Heyward’s greenhouse, including creating pots to put the plants in.

“My job is to teach students about all aspects of that process, from using the greenhouse to grow plants to dealing with aspects like pests and soil,” she said. “When students are working in the greenhouse or are making the pots by hand, they’ll truly understand what horticulture is. I love when a student who has never planted before says they can do this on their own or are interested in horticulture.”

Tyler and her students are preparing for the school’s annual plant sale, which will be held April 24-28. While her students are the stars of the show, they can lean on other career classes like business management and construction for help making the plant sale shine.

“Since we have so many career classes here at Heyward, we can embrace that,” said Tyler. “For example, the construction class made us planter boxes that people saw and loved at the plant sale. Even though we all have different expertise here at Heyward, we’re a team. We’re a family.”

The plant sale also serves as a full-circle moment for Tyler’s 15 students.

“We’ve been working on some of these plants since August,” said Tyler. “The students will get to see their final products come to life. This event allows the community to see what we’re doing.”

Tyler says even if her students aren’t interested in pursuing a career in horticulture, they will benefit from taking her class.

“Growing their own food and working with plants can make them feel independent,” she said. “They can rely on themselves and provide something they can be proud of.”

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