BMW Manufacturing Presents SC Teacher of the Year With New BMW X5

A group of people in front of an SUV.
BMW Group

State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver recently announced that Braden Wilson, a Social Studies teacher at Palmetto Middle School in Anderson School District One, has been named 2025 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

As part of the celebration, BMW Manufacturing, the program’s premier sponsor for 27 years, handed Wilson the keys to a 2024 BMW X5 xDrive40i.

“There are no words to express how honored I feel right now and how humbling it is to represent a group as amazing as South Carolina educators,” Wilson said. “I don’t think teachers get by without the help of each other. Everything I do in the classroom is because the teachers I work with at Palmetto Middle School help each other. It’s never an ‘I’ or a ‘we’ thing. People are stronger when they work together.”

“An important part of every student’s future begins in the classroom, and we understand the critical role that teachers play in the success of our youth,” said Max Metcalf, manager of Government and Community Relations at BMW Manufacturing. “We at BMW are grateful to all the state’s teachers and their commitment in providing a stimulating environment for our children’s education.”

The Manhattan Green Metallic BMW X5 presented to Braden Wilson has Black Sensafin Upholstery with 22-inch M double-spoke bi-color wheels. It includes the M Sport Package, panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof, and the BMW Curved Display with configurable 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 14.9-inch central information display. This year is the 25th anniversary of the BMW X5. Wilson will drive the X5 during her year-long sabbatical from the classroom as South Carolina’s public education ambassador.

Along with the use of a BMW X5 for one year, Wilson receives a $25,000 cash award, a set of Michelin tires, a Bojangles $2,000 award, an exclusive Jostens Teacher of the Year ring, and complimentary admission to participate in Leadership South Carolina. She will officially serve as the state spokesperson for over 50,000 educators.

Wilson said it was her sixth-grade history teacher who influenced her to teach. “Her class was the first time I loved learning in the classroom in general. At the end of the year, we had big portfolios on ancient civilizations, and she looked at mine and said, ‘you know so much. You would be a great teacher.’ And ever since then, that’s all I wanted to do.”

This year BMW Manufacturing celebrates 30 years of assembling BMWs in South Carolina, with more than 6.5 million BMWs assembled during the three decades. The Spartanburg factory employs more than 11,000 people to assemble the X3, X5, X7 and XM Sports Activity Vehicles and the X4 and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The 1,150-acre, 8-million-square-foot campus includes three body shops with more than 2,600 robots, two paint shops, and two assembly halls. The plant generates about 20 percent of its own power from methane gas and uses hydrogen fuel cell technology to power about 800 pieces of material handling equipment. The BMW Group announced in 2022 that it would invest $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations, including $1 billion to prepare the Spartanburg plant to assemble fully electric vehicles and $700 million to build a new high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff. When completed in 2026, Plant Woodruff will assemble the sixth-generation batteries to supply fully electric vehicles at BMW Manufacturing. By 2030, the BMW Group will assemble at least six fully electric models in the U.S.

Written by the BMW Group.