School briefs for June 29th-July 5th

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Beaufort County teachers, from left, Kimberly Morris, Karen Kessinger and Kathleen Marshall, took part in a program to bring agriculture education into the classroom. The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute allowed SC educators to tour Lowcountry-area farms and gain firsthand knowledge about agriculture in South Carolina. Photo provided.
Beaufort County teachers, from left, Kimberly Morris, Karen Kessinger and Kathleen Marshall, took part in a program to bring agriculture education into the classroom. The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute allowed SC educators to tour Lowcountry-area farms and gain firsthand knowledge about agriculture in South Carolina. Photo provided.

SC Farm Bureau teaches agriculture in classroom

Beaufort County teachers Kimberly Morris, Karen Kessinger and Kathleen Marshall were among 50 educators from across the South Carolina who recently learned how to bring agriculture into their classrooms. 

The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) hosted its annual Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute June 5-9 in Charleston, where teachers of grades preK-8 in public and private schools learned the importance of family farms and farmers and how to teach agricultural lessons to their students.

“The Ag in the Classroom program has many benefits because we can educate teachers about the importance of agriculture, and those teachers are then going to take that back to their own classrooms of sometimes 30 students. The overall outreach of the program is unmatched,” said Harry Ott, SCFB president.

In addition to instruction about their learning and teaching styles, Institute participants heard from agriculture and education experts from Clemson University’s College Relations/Ag Careers Department, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, the SC Ag Statistics Department and the SC Department of Agriculture. 

Participants also experienced two days of farm tours in the Lowcountry, including a USDA Research and Education Center, the Charleston Tea Plantation, Dantzler Farms in Santee and Terry Thomas Dairy Farm in Bowman.

“It is so important that students learn where their food and resources come from,” said Vonne Knight, SCFB director of Ag Literacy. “Providing teachers with not only the information and lesson plans they need, but also the confidence to teach agriculture makes it easy for them to do just that.

“I never cease to be amazed at the positive agricultural impact this course makes in the lives of teachers from across the state during this one week,” said Knight. “Teachers leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for agriculture. I have never been part of a more rewarding higher education experience.”

Participants earned three hours of graduate credit for recertification from Winthrop University, courtesy of SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Fund. Along with a modest registration fee, which many county Farm Bureau chapters reimburse to participants, sponsorships raised through the SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Fund cover the cost of tuition, room and board, resource speakers and tours, and materials for the week-long Institute.

“If agriculture is to maintain its status as South Carolina’s largest business sector – providing more than 212,000 jobs and more than a $42 billion impact on South Carolina’s economy – we’ve got to help people understand the link between their food and fiber and the farm,” said Ott. “Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program is a tool to help us accomplish that goal through our state’s teachers, and in turn to our state’s children.”

To make a tax deductible contribution to the 501(c)(3) Ag in the Classroom program, for more information, or to schedule an in-service workshop, contact SCFB Ag Literacy Program Director Vonne Knight at 803-936-4409 or vknight@scfb.org.

Education veterans selected as principals

A trio of veteran educators will fill the top leadership posts at three district schools:  Beaufort High, Whale Branch Middle and Robert Smalls International Academy.

“This is a strong group of proven administrators who are well qualified to take on their new positions,” said Superintendant Jeff Moss.  “I’m confident they will all do terrific jobs.”

The new principals are:

• Bonnie Almond, Beaufort High School: Almond is a 32-year education veteran who has served in North Carolina schools as a teacher, assistant principal, elementary school principal and high school principal. She was honored as Lee County Schools Principal of the Year in 2007-08.  

In 2013 she moved to Beaufort County, where she served as director of Secondary Education and later as director of Innovation.  Almond has a Bachelor’s Degree from Meredith College and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from North Carolina State University.  

She replaces Corey Murphy, who recently accepted an administrative position in a Virginia school system.

• Jennifer Morillo, Robert Smalls International Academy: Morillo is a veteran principal and district-level administrator. After serving as an assistant principal at Lady’s Island Middle School, she was named principal of Beaufort Elementary School in 2009.  

The school earned Palmetto Silver Awards for student achievement in 2012 and 2013, as well as Teacher Advancement Program awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  

Since 2013, Morillo has served as the Beaufort County School District’s director of Teaching and Learning. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Charleston Southern University.  

Morillo replaces Nicole Holloman, who is leaving the district to take an administrative position in the Atlanta area.

• Freddie Lawton, Whale Branch Middle School: Lawton, an assistant principal at Whale Branch Middle for the past four years, previously served in assistant principal roles at Okatie and St. Helena elementary schools, and also for six years as a classroom teacher at Port Royal Elementary.  

Lawton has been a presenter at state and regional professional development conferences, and he participated in the South Carolina Department of Education’s Aspiring Principals Program in 2011-2012.  

He has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina, as well as a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Charleston Southern University.  

Lawton replaces Chad Cox, recently named as the new principal at Battery Creek High following the retirement of Principal Edmond Burnes.

Students named to dean’s lists

The following students were named to Dean’s Lists:

• University of Alabama student Madelyn R Kalady of Beaufort was named to the Dean’s List for Spring 2017.

• Megan Potter of Beaufort was named to the Dean’s List at Miami University for the 2017 spring semester.