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District Five announces 2017-18 Teacher of the Year finalists

IRMO- Lexington-Richland School District Five has announced its finalists for the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year award. The finalists are: Lisa Brooks, music teacher at Nursery Road Elementary School; Roger Simpson, director of bands at Irmo High School; and Billie Williams, geography and government teacher at Chapin High School. The district Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 10.

District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner said, “I continue to be amazed by the talent and dedication of our teachers all across the district. This year’s Teacher of the Year finalists represent the very best of District Five and the teaching profession. We congratulate and thank them for their outstanding service to our students and families.”

Brooks is in her seventh year at Nursery Road Elementary. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in music/speech and theater and a master’s degree in Music Education from Winthrop University. Throughout her 24 years of teaching elementary music, Brooks’ passion has made an impact on her students. She makes sure every student has the opportunity to perform on stage during their fall and spring programs. “I strive to make each and every child I teach feel equally important, valued and honored,” Brooks said. “My students see their part in production as being significant, and because they are actively engaged, they take ownership, and when they take ownership, they are committed to the overall success of our shows.”

Simpson is in his sixth year at Irmo High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Charleston Southern University and a master’s degree in band conducting from Sam Houston State University. Simpson teaches his students to work together and respect other’s differences. “My class is not a win-lose environment. In my classroom, we all win or we all lose,” Simpson said. “This environment allows my students to overcome various stereotypes as we embrace the uniting concept of music. I come to school every day to make a difference, attempting to reach every student and impact their futures by helping them to realize that they can overcome any obstacle they may face.”

Williams is in her third year at Chapin High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in secondary social studies at The Citadel. Williams’ approach in the classroom goes beyond academics. She also serves as an encourager, counselor and advocate for her students. “It is my job to provide my students with the skill sets required to achieve academic success,” Williams said. “Students must also understand the difference between academic achievement and growth. As educators, if we allow students to only define themselves by a numerical grade or letter, we will never realize the potential of some of our most vulnerable students. Teachers must strive to build confidence in their students, celebrating even the smallest victories in the classroom.”

Teachers of the Year from each school include: Clark Liles (Academy for Success), Gail Cutter (Ballentine Elementary), Marie Waldrop (Center for Advanced Technical Studies), Erin Jashinsky (Chapin Elementary), Sara Holstein (Chapin Middle), Lindsey Antley (Chapin Intermediate), Brent White (CrossRoads Intermediate), Sheila Sazehn (Dutch Fork Elementary), Jessica Thur (Dutch Fork High), Jenny Adams (Dutch Fork Middle), Beth Reilly (Harbison West Elementary), Amy Lowder (H. E. Corley Elementary), Jennie Blount (Irmo Elementary), Regan Moore (Irmo Middle), Amy Sgorrano (Lake Murray Elementary), Paula Matthews (Leaphart Elementary), Lindsay Head (Oak Pointe Elementary), Jason Bebber (River Springs Elementary), Kristin Mello (Seven Oaks Elementary) and Jared Clayton (Spring Hill High).

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