Sam HarrelsonI’m a science educator (Physics, Physical Science, Earth Science) at Thomas Sumter Academy in Sumter, SC. I’ve been a classroom teacher since 2002 and have mostly taught at the middle and high school levels, but I’ve also taught university courses over the years. Most of my experience is in Independent Schools here in the Carolinas. My main focus has been science and STEM-related subjects (physics and chemistry, robotics, coding, application development etc) over the years, but I’ve also taught English, American History, Ancient History, and Religious Studies.

My journey as an educator began while in High School where I participated in student teaching in elementary education. While in college, I joined AmeriCorps and worked for three years with middle schoolers. Shortly after graduating Yale and moving back to South Carolina, I taught High School English at Newberry High School before becoming a middle school science teacher at Hammond School and beginning my career in Independent Education.

I’m also the author of Asia Has Claims Upon New England on Assyrian archaeology and 19th Century Missionaries from Yale University Press. Related to that work, I’ve taught Religious Studies courses at the university level and have been included in books and studies on Assyrian art and archaeology as well as the history of Dura Europa in modern-day Syria.

The Rev. Merianna Neely Harrelson is my partner. We have four amazing young people in our family and two pups along with a slew of assorted animals and reptiles.

I’m an ordained baptist minister and hold a BA in Religion from Wofford College and a Masters in Religion and the Arts from Yale University.


  • Yale University (MAR, Religion and the Arts)
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • Wofford College (BA, Religion)

Teaching Experience:

  • Physics, Physical Science, and Earth Science Teacher – Thomas Sumter Academy (Sumter, SC)
  • Middle School Math, Robotics, and Science Teacher – Carolina Day School (Asheville, NC)
  • Middle School Science and Robotics Teacher – Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg, SC)
  • Adjunct Professor – Gardner-Webb University (Boiling Springs, NC)
  • Adjunct Professor – University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC)
  • Middle School Science Teacher – Hammond School (Columbia, SC)
  • High School English and Literature – Newberry High School (Newberry, SC)

Work Experience:

  • Sam Harrelson Consulting
  • General Manager, North America – Clicks2Customers
  • CEO – planetBeta
  • Senior Vice President / COO – PrimeQ
  • Curatorial Assistant – Yale University Art Gallery

Advisory Boards:

  • Palmetto Project Board of Advisors
  • Commission Junction Board of Publishers
  • Affiliate Summit Advisory Board
  • Affiliate Classroom Board of Directors
  • Spartanburg Day School Strategic Planning Board
  • Social Media Board for Carolina Day School