Teacher of the Year finalists named at rally

4 mins read

The Beaufort County School District named five finalists for its 2012-13 District Teacher of the Year recognition.
Current Teacher of the Year Christine Gray from Hilton Head Island High School announced the five finalists’ names to the cheers of more than 2,000 school staff gathered at Bluffton High School for the district’s annual back-to-school rally.
The 2012-13 finalists are Amy Fallon, who teaches math and science at Port Royal Elementary School; Hollis Lambert, a seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher at Beaufort Middle School; Erin Reichert, a social studies teacher at Bluffton High School; Angela Stewart, an eighth-grade science teacher at Whale Branch Middle School; and  Jennifer Weitekamper, a social studies teacher at Hilton Head Island High School.
Superintendent Valerie Truesdale said the purpose of the annual back-to-school rally is to bring all of the district’s school staff together in one place, celebrate key achievements from the previous year and become energized as a district-wide team to kick off the new school year that begins next Monday, August 20.
Truesdale also announced a new partnership between the district and Hargray Communications.  Truesdale said Hargray had “wrapped” a number of its service vans with photos of Beaufort County students, developed a series of magazine advertisements celebrating the achievements of district schools and students, and announced plans to air television commercials about district students and schools on Hargray cable TV channels.
“Hargray is a proud partner in learning with the Beaufort County School District, and we are thrilled to be able to share that commitment with the community this school year,” said Hargray Marketing Director Eddie Andrews.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s back-to-school rally, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Clifton Taulbert, stressed the importance of educators pulling together as a community of professionals on behalf of children.  Taulbert said he grew up in poverty in the Mississippi Delta, and he credited “Ordinary People” with putting him on the path to success.
“Thinking that others matter is at the heart of ensuring success for them,” Taulbert said.  “This is where we start. I should have failed, but ordinary people stepped up. I mattered to them. And because other people thought I mattered, I eventually began to think that I mattered, too.”
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.
The panel selects the District Teacher of the Year in September, and that person represents Beaufort County in the South Carolina State Teacher of the Year program.

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