Five classroom teachers have been named as finalists for Beaufort County’s 2018-19 District Teacher of the Year.
The finalists are Brittany Carter, science teacher at Bluffton High School; Tamekia Ford, sixth-grade English teacher at Whale Branch Middle School; Cora Lugo, literacy teacher at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts; Kelly Hall, theater arts teacher at Beaufort Middle School; and Karen McKenzie, eighth-grade social studies teacher at H.E. McCracken Middle School.
Superintendent Herb Berg announced the five selections before an audience of more than 1,000 educators at the opening session of 2018 Summer Institute, the district’s annual three-day summer professional development conference. This year’s conference is being held at Bluffton High School.
“The secret to a school’s success is not really much of a secret,” Berg said. “It’s having a solid corps of bright, capable, dedicated and hard-working classroom teachers. Our five finalists for District Teacher of the Year are terrific examples of the kind of top-quality professionals we want to see in every classroom in Beaufort County.”
The District Teacher of the Year will be announced next month at an awards ceremony.
Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that began when school-level teachers of the year were selected in April. Those wishing to compete for District Teacher of the Year submitted detailed applications in July.
In the second step, a selection committee consisting of parents, former educators and community leaders from across Beaufort County reviewed the applications and rated them using a numerical scoring system. The five highest-scoring applicants were named as finalists.
In the next step, the five finalists will be interviewed by a separate review committee again composed of judges from across the county. The judges will begin by reviewing a video of each teacher doing a classroom lesson. The judges will then score candidates based on how well they respond to questions about their teaching methods as shown in the video, as well as how they respond to questions about current education issues. After those interviews, the panel will select a District Teacher of the Year to represent Beaufort County’s classroom professionals.
Last year’s Teacher of the Year was Beaufort High School biology teacher Dr. Nancy Ungvarsky.
Photo at top: Brittany Carter, Bluffton HS; Tamekia Ford, Whale Branch Middle Summer Institute Keynote Astronaut and STEAM Explorer Leland Melvin; Cora Lugo, Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts; Kelly Hall, Beaufort Middle; and Karen McKenzie, H.E. McCracken Middle.