The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a district, state, and national level.
Each Teacher of the Year finalist will receive $10,000 and go on to the next stage of competition which involves an in-person interview with a team of expert judges. The overall winner receives a total of $25,000 and gets to drive a new BMW for one year while advocating on behalf of the nearly 60,000 educators in South Carolina. teaching profession across the state. These awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool. The overall winner will be announced at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala in Columbia on May 3rd.
Elisabeth Hardy - North Augusta High School
Elisabeth Hardy is a 12th grade English and Advanced Placement teacher at North Augusta High School in the Aiken County School District. She believes educators, should be passionate about creating a culture of care for every student. Each year her classes collaborate to choreograph, produce, promote, and fund an entirely student-led production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This performance is a testament to her student driven approach to teaching.
Mary Woodward - North Vista Elementary School
Mary Woodward is music teacher at North Vista Elementary School in Florence School District One. She desires to “be the kind of teacher who opens doors for all children, but especially for children who have always believed certain doors were permanently closed to them.” Her classes include lessons in music history, music theory, music composition, music appreciation, and music performance. She also integrates math, science, literacy, and technology into every lesson. Her students develop an ear for music and create their own pieces through Woodward's classroom atmosphere that encourages creativity.
Erin Fox - Gaffney High School
Erin Fox is an English teacher at Gaffney High School in the Cherokee County School District. Erin pulls from her dramatic, dance and musical background to create dynamic lessons and units for her students. In her roles as a teacher and cross country coach she ensures that her students are challenged every day. She strives to teach them “an inner drive” that will carry them further than just a 5K course, classroom, or school year. Erin also believes in the necessity of optimal health and wellness and the positive overall effects it has on student achievement and success.
Pam Flynn - Broome High School
Pam Flynn is a Social Studies teacher at Broome High School in Spartanburg School District Three. Pam serves her fellow teachers by mentoring, serving as a PACE instructor, and by leading students in CERRA’s Teacher Cadet Program. She takes her students on a history journey, by creating an animated and interactive learning environment in which they see the relevance in what they are learning. To teach World War I trench warfare, she rearranges the desks to create “trenches” which students must walk/crawl through. Flynn has received numerous awards, including the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award and Horace Mann Crystal Apple Award.
Marcia Womble - Gray-Court Owings School
Marcia Womble is a Visual Arts teacher at Gray Court-Owings Elementary & Middle School in Laurens County School District 55. She also serves as the District Visual Arts Coordinator. Drawn to teaching at a young age, Marcia has opened doors for her students by obtaining several grants to purchase new art media, tools, and sponsorship for her annual Arts Day. During Arts Day, each class visits with different artists, musicians, dancers, authors, and actors. She believes in the power of positivity and starts each class by getting her students to “tell her something good.”