Photo Gallery | Five Finalists Named for Teacher of the Year Honor
Five outstanding classroom teachers were named as finalists in South Carolina's State Teacher of the Year Program.
The five finalists were chosen from nominees representing 82 local school districts, the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Palmetto Unified School District, and the South Carolina Public Charter School District.
They will travel to Columbia for personal interviews with a seven-member state Selection Committee. They are vying to represent more than 50,000 South Carolina teachers in the National Teacher of the Year Program.
The five finalists, listed alphabetically by school district, are:
· Amy McAllister, an English teacher at Johnsonville High School, Florence County School District Five;
· Taunja Pool, a 5th grade teacher at Summit Drive Elementary, Greenville County School District;
· Helen Walker, a music teacher at Doby’s Mill Elementary, Kershaw County School District;
· Philip Rabon II, a middle level social studies teacher at Pair Education Center, Lexington School District Two; and
· Patricia Swinton, an 11th and 12th-grade biology teacher at A.C. Flora High School, Richland School District One.
State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said, “Teachers are to education what doctors are to medicine: the providers of the service for which the institution exists. Amy, Taunja, Helen, Philip, and Patricia put the interests of their students first and lead classrooms where a personalized and customized approach to education produces outstanding results. On behalf of their students, parents, and colleagues, we congratulate and thank these educators for their excellence in the classroom.”
The finalists were chosen by a panel of educators and private citizens with no connection to the agency. The names of the teachers and the schools they represent were concealed from the judges during the selection process.
The announcement of South Carolina’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year will be made at the corporate-sponsored Teacher of the Year celebration on Tuesday, May 1 in Columbia. During the next school year, that teacher will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) and serve as a statewide ambassador for the profession.
South Carolina’s new Teacher of the Year also receives a $25,000 cash award and a BMW to use for a year. The four remaining finalists, or Honor Roll teachers, will receive $10,000 each, and the district teachers of the year will receive $1,000 each.