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Ms. Jaime Cunningham of Liberty Hill Academy Wins!

Brad Davis and Jaime CunninghamIt was an exciting Educators Night at the Charleston RiverDogs... Ms. Jaime Cunningham from Liberty Hill Academy is the 2014 CCSD District Teacher of the Year! We salute all five Teacher of the Year finalists. Watch the video highlighting these amazing teachers, or browse the Facebook album with all the highlights of this wonderful event!

Additional congratulations goes to our Rookie Teacher of the Year nominees, who were on hand during a pre-game picnic to find out who won for each learning community. Congratulations to Katherine Banks (Laurel Hill Primary), Elizabeth Gunther (Liberty Hill Academy), Kyle Brazell (CE Williams Middle School), and Kelly Duffy (Stall High School).

Teacher of the Year Finalists, 2013-2014

FinalistsOn Friday, April 5, CCSD's Office of Teacher Effectiveness surprised the finalists for District Teacher of the Year with a bouquet of flowers. Each finalist had the opportunity to check out a MINI Cooper from MINI of Charleston that the District Teacher of the Year will receive at CCSD Educator Night with the Charleston RiverDogs on May 1. Congratulations to each of the Teacher of the Year Finalists for this accomplishment.

Special thanks to MINI of Charleston, Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union, and Carroll School Services for their partnerships with CCSD in recognizing and rewarding our teacher leaders through the Teacher of the Year process!

Finalist Bios

Emma Armstrong, St. James-Santee Elementary School

"I do not consider teaching to be my job; I consider teaching my dream."

"My students’ feelings of success and comprehension drive me to want to be better for them."

EmmaArmstrongA graduate of the College of Charleston, Emma Armstrong opens the doors to her classroom each year hopeful in the possibilities for her students. Her commitment to developing a community of trust and hope for both the students and their parents has created a classroom environment in which student success , both academically and socially, is celebrated on a daily basis. Ms. Armstrong’s passionate dedication to her students’ education can be seen in her work with her school’s leadership team and the Advancing Literacy for Parents program as she shares creative ideas gained from her pursuit of a Masters in Education in Literacy program. Ms. Armstrongs’ colleague believes her "true love and respect for all children" drives her to "ensure the success of each and every [student]."

Charles Atkins, Sanders-Clyde Elementary School

"No matter how challenging, difficult, or dysfunctional a young person’s environment, he or she can foster a love for education through discovery in the lassroom with a highly skilled and passionate teacher."

Charles Atkins"I am always asking, ‘What can I do to make my setting the most fertile ground in the world for the growth of talent and acheivement?’ We must put ourselves in a position to deliver on our biggest aspirations."

Charles Atkins spent eight years in the automobile industry before joining the teaching community of CCSD through an alternative certification program offered by S.C. His passion for student achievement and success followed by his passion for the arts has compelled him to develop an authentic artistic learning environment at Sanders-Clyde Elementary. Through partnerships with The Avery Institute, Dance FX, Charleston Symphony, and Charleston Stage Theatre Company, to name a few, Mr. Atkins has developed an opportunity for students to "engage in creative processes so they can connect an art form and subject area to meet evolving academic objectives, as well as artistic objectives." He believes classroom and school grants, both of which he has written and been awarded, are the norm in seeking additional funding to help his school become the model for a thriving Fine Arts program for other schools in South Carolina. Mr. Atkins principal notes that his "positive attitude, passion for teaching, and love for children and the community are reflected in the oustanding quality of the level of instruction that he has both established and maintained at Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts School."

Kimberly Brown, Lincoln Middle/High School

"I am only one run on the ladder of success for the students; however a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. With that in mind, I strive to create a world of learning opportunities and successes for each of my students."

Kimberly Brown"What it truly means to be a teacher is to have the ability, the gift, to kindle in others a desire to know something that they didn’t know before."

A graduate of Coastal Carolina College, Kimberly Brown uses her English class as a "doorway to discovery" for her students where they explore the relationships among themselves, language, literature, ideas, and the world through reading and writing. She views her position as "a role model, a learner, and an agent of change inside and outside of [her] classroom" as the driving force behind her passion for teaching. Ms. Brown consistently inspires her colleagues through her work as a lead teacher, CORE team member, School Academic Leadership Team member, ELA department chair, and mentor for new teachers, while also sharing her expertise as a speaker on a national scale. Ms. Brown’s "greatest contribution to the profession, her students, and her community is her sincere interest and love of her job and the students of Lincoln Middle High School," notes one of her colleagues when asked about her greatest contribution to the profession.

Jaime Cunningham, Liberty Hill Academy

Jaime Cunningham"Every single student holds the capacity to be a productive and happy citizen. Each student deserves access to a hardworking, dedicated, and loving teacher, no matter what type of disability they have, where they live, or what mistakes they might have made in the past."

"I [can] reach students through love and this capacity to love [is] my greatest strength as a teacher."

A graduate of the College of Charleston, Jaime Cunningham is passionate about education as a tool for social justice. Her patience and love for her students with severe behavior problems has driven her to build strong relationships in the classroom and in the students’ homes and communities. She strives to make learning fun, interesting, and reachable to all students by challenging them through interactive lessons that incorporate songs, visual aids, technology, and hands-on, engaging instruction. Ms. Cunningham’s colleagues at Liberty Hill Academy identifies her as "an inspiration to all because she is always focused on the needs of her students."

Misty LeClerc, Wando High School

"My desire is for my students to have the opportunity to receive the best education in the country. I work hard to find ways to make the curriculum relevant. I work hard to show my students I care, and I work hard to help them to succeed."

Misty LeClerc"Education is not confined to a brick and mortar building, and individuals never cease to expand horizons when learning becomae a way of life."

A graduate of College of Charleston, Misty LeClerc believes that every student can learn and is capable of achieving at the highest level. She approaches teaching with assuming the challenge to find a way to motivate students. She is committed to expanding student learning in the classroom to competitions and organizations that give students the opportunity to apply their understanding of government, economics, and society. Whether challenging students through Wando’s AP (Advanced Placement) Academy or the SC EconoChallenge each year, or encouraging students during the "We the People", Model United Nations, or the Jefferson Awards, Ms LeClerc’s endless dedication to the teaching profession and her students "reinforces the importance of giving students the gentle yet challenging demand of high expectations for all." One of Ms. LeClerc’s former students shared, "She inspires every student she encounters to achieve more than they ever thought possible, whether they are in her class or not. She believes life is about learning, and she fosters that same zeal for knowledge in everyone around her."

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