DHS Educator Named State Teacher Of The Year Finalist

Five outstanding classroom teachers were named today as finalists in South Carolina’s State Teacher of the Year Program.
Among them is Beth R. Hinson, a biology teacher at Dillon High School. Hinson refers to her last 24 years in the classroom as a “journey of discovery.” Talented at putting young people at ease, Hinson appreciates and values the uniqueness and diversity her students bring to the classroom. Teachers, she says, cannot work independently to refine only their skills. Instead, they must work together – developing new techniques and sharing knowledge, skills and practices. National Board recertified, Hinson earned a bachelor’s degree from Wofford College and a master’s degree from Francis Marion College.
State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said the five teachers were chosen from nominees representing 82 local school districts, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Palmetto Unified School District, the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind and the South Carolina Public Charter School District. They will travel to Columbia next month for personal interviews with a seven-member state Selection Committee. All are vying to represent more than 50,000 South Carolina teachers in the National Teacher of the Year Program.
Other finalists, listed alphabetically by school district, include:
* D. Craig Andrysczyk, a fifth-grade mathematics and science teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary School in Lexington/Richland School District 5.
* Annitra Jean Allman, an eighth-grade mathematics teacher at Johnakin Middle School in Marion School District 1.
* Jeffrey C. Eargle, a U.S. history teacher at Mid-Carolina High School in Newberry County.
* Patti J. Tate, an English teacher at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill School District 3.
The finalists were chosen by a panel of educators and private citizens with no connection to the agency. The names of the teachers and the schools they represent were concealed from the judges during the selection process.
“I congratulate these teachers,” said State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais. “The work that they do in the classroom, their leadership among their peers and their efforts in the community honor their profession and reflect a commitment to improving the lives of our young people.”
The announcement of South Carolina’s 2011-12 Teacher of the Year will be made at the corporate-sponsored Teacher of the Year celebration April 27 in Columbia. During the next school year, that teacher will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement and serve as a statewide ambassador for the profession.
South Carolina’s new Teacher of the Year also receives a $25,000. The four remaining finalists, or Honor Roll teachers, will receive $10,000 each, and all district teachers of the year will receive $1,000 each. This year marks the 46th year of the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Program, which has grown tremendously in participation and prestige. The awards program is a nationally recognized event that honors the State Teacher of the Year, Honor Roll teachers and district teachers of the year.
Zais said his agency would assist the new Teacher of the Year in preparing his or her application for the National Teacher of the Year program next fall. Started in 1952, that program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers and is sponsored by the ING Foundation.
The 2011-12 State Teacher of the Year will succeed Kelly H. Nalley, a Spanish teacher at Fork Shoals School in Greenville.
The new Teacher of the Year will work with CERRA and the South Carolina Teacher Forum, whose members are district teachers of the year. The residency will include numerous speaking engagements around the state before civic and professional groups interested in education.
The teacher also will conduct workshops for other classroom professionals, discuss public education issues with members of the General Assembly and State Board of Education, and work closely with the Teacher Cadet Program that encourages academically able students with exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career.

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