Bluffton’s Gordon named Beaufort County Teacher of the Year

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A math teacher with more than 15 years of classroom experience was named the Beaufort County’s 2019-2020 District Teacher of the Year on Friday, Sept. 27.

The selection of Michelle Gordon, who teaches math at Bluffton High School, was announced during a celebration honoring teachers of the year from all of the district’s schools.

“I am so awed by this, and so humbled,” Gordon said. “All of these memories are rushing through my head right now – memories of the wonderful teachers I’ve had and memories of the wonderful students I’ve had.”

The other finalists were Vicki Shockley of Lady’s Island Middle School, Keisha Miller of Joseph Shanklin Elementary School, Jill Exley of M.C. Riley Elementary School and Denise Bell of Hilton Head Island Elementary School. 

Bluffton High Principal Denise Donica said Gordon is respected not only by her students, but by her colleagues as well.

“She’s amazing,” Donica said. “She’s so passionate about what she does, and everybody in our building loves her.”

Shane Gault, executive manager of Hilton Head Buick-GMC-Cadillac, presented Gordon with a $5,000 cash prize. 

Gordon holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, summa cum laude, from South Carolina State University.

She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (SCCTM), and South Carolina Leader of Mathematics Education (SCLME). 

Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that begins when school-level teachers of the year are selected in April. Those wishing to compete for District Teacher of the Year submit detailed applications by the end of July.

In the second step, a selection committee consisting of parents, former educators and community leaders from across Beaufort County reviews the applications and rates them using a numerical scoring system. The five highest-scoring applicants are named as finalists. 

In the third step, the finalists are interviewed by a separate review committee again composed of judges from across the county. The judges scored candidates based on how well they respond to questions about current education issues. After those interviews, the panel selects the District Teacher of the Year in September, and that person represents Beaufort County in the S.C. State Teacher of the Year program. Finalists for the state program will be announced in February.

2019-20 Teachers of the Year

Listed by school

Battery Creek High School: Beth Ann Melton

Beaufort Elementary School: Christene Johnson-Holmes

Beaufort High School: Wendy Lacombe

Beaufort Middle School: Rhonda McCauley

Beaufort/Jasper Academy for Career Excellence: Raquel Bryan
Bluffton Elementary School: Rachel Gauvreau

Bluffton High School: Michelle Gordon**

Bluffton Middle School: Donna Floyd

Broad River Elementary: Arriel Young

Coosa Elementary: Cynthia Jeffrey

H.E. McCracken Middle School: Emily Rietveld

Hilton Head ECC: Kimberly Bambeck

Hilton Head Island High School: Josh Wall 

Hilton Head Island Elementary School: Denise Bell** 

Hilton Head Island Middle School: DeAnna Campbell-Holmes

Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts: Lyn Raichle
Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary School: Keisha Miller **
Lady’s Island Elementary School: Kwame Thornton 

Lady’s Island Middle School: Vicki Shockley**

May River High School: Julie Collins

Michael C. Riley Elementary School: Jill Exley**

Mossy Oaks Elementary School: Amy Squires 

Okatie Elementary School: Amanda Hogshead

Port Royal Elementary School: Corey Hollis

Pritchardville Elementary School: Deree Ward

Red Cedar Elementary School: Leanne Black

Right Choices: Nancy Wolff 

River Ridge Academy: Kim Fields

Robert Smalls International Academy: Ashley Holland
St. Helena Elementary School: Sharonda Coaxum

Whale Branch Early College High School: Freda McCanick

Whale Branch Elementary School: Gerald Greene

Whale Branch Middle School: Karen Tooman

Adult Education: Jannie Mae Williams

**District Teacher of the Year Finalists

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