In a year marked by enormous challenges and hardships for teachers everywhere due to COVID-19, Spartanburg District Five took time out recently to focus on the positive that's happening inside its classroms. On December 1, the District honored its 2029-20 Teachers of the Year in a special, albeit socially distant, banquet at the Piedmont Club in Spartanburg. Teachers from each of the district's 12 schools were recognized for their contributions inside and outside the classroom.
The original event, typically held in October, had to be postponed due to COVID-19 and its impact on school districts across the state. "Despite everything we're going through, it's important for us to honor these teachers," said Superintendent Dr. Randall Gary. Dr. Gary thanked each of the 12 honorees for their dedication to their students and schools, and for their perseverance during the last 9 months.
In addition, the district recognized Jeri Hollis, of Byrnes High School, as its 2020-21 District Five Teacher of the Year. Hollis is a Byrnes High School graduate who chose to come "back home" to teach in the same school that inspired her love of learning.
The 2019-20 Teacher of the Year honorees are: Elizabeth Koon (Abner Creek Academy), Amanda Hamann (Duncan Elementary School of the Arts), Jo Kitchens (Lyman Elementary School), Karen Horton (Reidville Elementary School), Staci Sizemore (River Ridge Elementary School), Jessica Glay (Wellford Academy), Bethany Poppe Hill (Beech Springs Intermediate School), Melinda Duckett (Berry Shoals Intermediate School), Victoria Dickerson (D.R. Hill Middle School), Andrea Howard (Florence Chapel Middle School), Chelsea Hall (Byrnes Freshman Academy), and Jeri Hollis (Byrnes High School).