District announces 5 finalists for 2022-23 Teacher of Year


From staff reports

Justine Hardy, a health science teacher at Battery Creek High School, and Jennifer Lyles, a 3rd-grade grade teacher at Beaufort’s Coosa Elementary School, are among the five classroom teachers named Tuesday, Aug. 2 as finalists for Beaufort County’s 2022-2023 District Teacher of the Year.

The other finalists, all from south of the Broad, are Kinsey Butler, band teacher at Bluffton Middle School; Karri Kearns, math teacher at May River High School; and Laverne Stewart, Ph.D., language arts teacher at Hilton Head Island Middle School.

Superintendent Frank Rodriguez announced the five selections before an audience of educators at the opening session of 2022 Summer Institute, the district’s annual three-day summer professional development conference. This year’s conference is being held at May River High School.

“Any one of these five outstanding professionals would serve well in the role of District Teacher of the Year,” Rodriguez said.

The District Teacher of the Year will be announced this fall.

Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that began when school-level teachers of the year were selected in May. 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 score candidates based on how well they respond to questions about their teaching experiences and current education issues.

After those interviews, the panel will select a District Teacher of the Year to represent Beaufort County’s classroom professionals.

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