Jean McManus: Spiritual growth and science

Taylor Deaton, Staff Writer

In an interview with Jean McManus. Photo courtesy of Taylor Deaton. 

In an interview with Jean McManus. Photo courtesy of Taylor Deaton. 

When looking for spiritual encouragement and years of valuable experience scattered throughout classes across the United States, there is no need to look any farther than to Jean McManus.

McManus is a native of Travelers Rest, who graduated from Travelers Rest High School.

After graduating from high school, McManus started school right here at North Greenville University, back when the university was a two-year program. After completing two years at NGU, McManus finished out her degree at Furman. She graduated with a degree in biology and education.

McManus mentioned that she was drawn to biology by a high school biology teacher.

“She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” McManus stated. “Wonderful encouragers along the way helped push me into teaching.”

Shortly after, McManus began to attend seminary in New Orleans. There she met her husband, Bill McManus.

In New Orleans, McManus took seminary classes in the morning, and taught at John Curtis Christian School in the afternoons. Here, McManus taught chemistry and physics, though “biology was [her] love.”

After marrying, McManus began to teach all over the United States, as her husband was in the navy.

McManus taught in several places, from Louisiana, to Mississippi and she even substituted in California.

McManus explained that, “wherever [she] went, there was always a job in science.”

One experience McManus recalls in teaching is the opportunity she had to teach in Alaska. Once there, she taught in Adak, Ala. In Adak, McManus was able to help set up a science department and she also got a lot of money for the school. She was able to achieve her goals in helping the school because she wasn’t afraid to ask for supplies that were needed.

Before retiring, McManus taught for 23 years at NGU, which included her full-time position in the biology department. North Greenville didn’t have an environmental biology or an ecology class when McManus first began teaching, so she was asked to develop those classes.

McManus enjoyed her classes because of the opportunities to travel all over [the] mountains.

McManus was drawn to NGU by the university’s need for a biology teacher. When attending a class on campus one summer, she was offered the job. “God just dropped it in my lap,” McManus recalled on receiving her job as a biology teacher. “It was a God thing.”

After going into retirement, McManus decided to come back and continue teaching because she had a passion for helping students and especially wanted a science major, because North Greenville didn’t have a secondary science education major.

She, along with a few other professors at NGU, developed the major and applied to the state of South Carolina for approval.

“Big surprise,” McManus speaks, “we got approved the first time we applied.”

When asked what the most fulfilling part of being a teacher is, McManus says that “we have a lot of graduates out doing a great thing, and that really gives [her] a great sense of accomplishment.”

She also remarks on how much joy it brings her to see people accomplish things that [she] never had any idea they could accomplish.

For any future educators who are a little apprehensive on their future, McManus encourages to talk to people that you know, who are strong believers and are successful in their careers. She also says that spiritual growth helps too.

McManus has fulfilled so many dreams throughout her career, all while helping students with her words of encouragement and her willing attitude. We are thankful for all of her years of service at North Greenville University.