2012-13 Finalists for District Teacher of the Year Named Named
(August 15, 2012) – In front of an arena packed with all 1,200 Darlington County School District employees, district superintendent Dr. Rainey Knight, announced the finalists for the school district’s coveted “District Teacher of the Year” award.
Every year, teachers at each of the 23 schools of the Darlington County School District select a fellow teacher to represent their school as DCSD School Teachers of the Year. These peer-selected teachers serve on the district’s Teacher Forum, acting as teacher leaders and advisors for the district. From these 23 teachers, five are finalists, called “Honor Roll Teachers,” are chosen for the District Teacher of the Year award.
The 2012-13 Honor Roll Teachers are:
• Brandy “Dee” Driggers, Lamar Elementary School
• Adam Fedewa, Rosenwald Elementary & Middle School
• Jennifer King, Lamar High School
• Richane Robbins, Spaulding Middle School
• Pam Smith, Darlington County Institute of Technology
BRANDY “DEE” DRIGGERS: Driggers, a visual arts teacher, is a 14-year teaching veteran. She divides her time between Lamar Elementary and Lamar High School. Throughout her teaching career, Driggers has worked to develop connections with her students and share her love of learning and passion for art.
“The classroom culture is important, regardless of the subject matter. The students know they are valued, accepted and respected. I believe that each student is important and needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially. It is important to encourage the student by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites the sharing of ideas. In regards to teaching, I believe common sense is imperative, critical thinking is essential, and practical skills are key.”
ADAM FEDEWA: Fedewa, a four-year teaching veteran, is a busy teacher. He teaches physical education at Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School, Washington Street Elementary School, and Carolina Elementary School. Recently he was instrumental in bringing Project Fit America to the district, a national program designed to increase students’ physical exercise time through the use of state-of-the-art fitness equipment. He is passionate about getting his students excited about physical fitness.
“Childhood obesity is roaring through students all over the country, which puts me on the front lines against the fight. If I can get the students passionate about moving, being active, and making healthy choices, I am not only shaping healthy students, I am also shaping their families both now and in the future. My teaching style is to move, jump, roll, run, be silly, be loud, be active, and keep the same level of excitement from the first minute of class to the last.”
JENNIFER KING: King has been teaching biology, anatomy & physiology at Lamar High School for five years. She co-authored the school district’s Biology I Course Curriculum Guide and is currently co-authoring the district’s Biology II Course Curriculum Guide and the Anatomy & Physiology Course Curriculum Guide.
“In my classroom today, every lesson I teach I make absolutely certain to ensure that I am challenging my students to find the internal motivation to do better and work harder. I push my students to think critically rather than memorize facts, to go beyond the basic information to become inquisitive and curious about science. The greatest contribution I can make to education is to instill the same sense of accomplishment and success through challenging expectations that my teacher helped me find within myself.”
RICHANE ROBBINS: Robbins teaches middle school science at Spaulding Middle School. Her students benefit not only from her firm belief in the importance of continuous professional development for herself, but also from her whimsical ability to translate science concepts into memorable learning songs. Robbins’ ability to think outside the box has resulted in impressive test scores and lots of “aha!” moments.
“I savor the moments when the expressions on students’ faces transform into an excited understanding of a new concept, and their body language exudes confidence in their own ability to succeed. I call them “aha!” moments. While affirming my own abilities as a teacher, these moments are even more critical building blocks of the common vision of the teaching profession, which is to equip and inspire youth to become competent and globally competitive citizens.”
PAM SMITH: Smith has been teaching business and marketing to high school students for the past twelve years. She extends her teaching beyond the classroom by serving as sponsor and former officer for DECA, a business and marketing organization for high school students. Through the organization, students are exposed to career opportunities they did not know previously existed. Not one to slow down during the summer, Smith has led the YesCarolina Teen Entrepreneurial Summer Camp for young teens for the past two years.
“My goal is not to motivate a student to be a business major, but instead to help a student understand there is a world of opportunity beyond the classroom, hopefully motivating them to do their best and strive to succeed. I hope that as a teacher, I will help students in some way be better people, life-long learners, educators, community servers, managers, employers and/or citizens. A teacher’s greatest contributions and accomplishments come packaged in student successes!”
Next month the finalists will face a panel of judges composed of the current District Teacher of the Year, parents, business leaders, and district staff. The judges will interview the finalists and review videotapes of the teachers working with students in their classrooms. The 2012-13 Darlington County School District Teacher of the Year will be named at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet in September.
The five finalists were chosen from the 23 School Teachers of the Year. The 2012-13 School Teachers of the Year are:
• Brockington Elementary Magnet School: Jessica Hatcher, Third Grade
• Brunson-Dargan Elementary School: Natalie Pigatt, Fourth Grade
• Cain Elementary School: Leigh Hixson, First Grade
• Carolina Elementary School: LaShanda Tucker, Fourth Grade
• Darlington County Institute of Technology: Pam Smith, Business & Marketing
• Darlington County Intervention School: Ashleigh Skelton, English/Language Arts
• Darlington High School: Regina Damon, Exceptional Education
• Darlington Middle School: Fredreka Peterson, Math
• Hartsville High School: Mrs. Tommy K. Baker, Social Studies
• Hartsville Middle School: Kim Roberts, Chorus
• Lamar Elementary School: Brandy “Dee” Driggers, Visual Art
• Lamar High School: Jennifer King, Biology
• Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology: Lyn O’Donnell, Visual Art
• North Hartsville Elementary School: Brenda Ferguson, Exceptional Education
• Pate Elementary School: David Graham, Music
• Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School: Adam Fedewa, Physical Education
• Southside Early Childhood Center: Nakeisha Lacy, Kindergarten
• Spaulding Elementary School: Melinda Hanna, Fifth Grade
• Spaulding Middle School: Richane Robbins, Science
• St. John’s Elementary School: Dennis Gearhart, Fifth Grade
• Thornwell School for the Arts: Dawn “Michelle” Brand, Fourth Grade
• Washington Street Elementary: Melissa Morris, Second Grade
• West Hartsville Elementary: Jennifer “Haley” Adams, Fifth Grade