August 14, 2019, Bluffton, S.C. – Five classroom teachers have been named as finalists for Beaufort County’s 2019-2020 District Teacher of the Year.
The finalists are Michelle Gordon, math teacher at Bluffton High School; Denise Bell, fifth-grade teacher at Hilton Head Island Elementary School; Keisha Miller, fourth-grade teacher at Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary School; Vicki Shockley, special education teacher at Lady’s Island Middle School; and Jill Exley, kindergarten teacher at M.C. Riley Elementary School.
Superintendent Frank Rodriguez made surprise visits to each of the finalists’ schools Monday and Tuesday to announce the five selections.
“It has definitely been exciting to make these surprise visits and honor such deserving teachers,” Rodriguez said. “Their hard work and dedication has brought them well-deserved recognition, and we’re very proud of them.”
The District Teacher of the Year will be announced next month at an awards ceremony.
Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that began when school-level teachers of the year were selected in April. 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 also about current education issues. After those interviews, the panel will select a District Teacher of the Year to represent Beaufort County’s classroom professionals.
The current Teacher of the Year is H.E. McCracken social studies teacher Karen McKenzie.