Lexington-Richland School District Five has named finalists for its 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year award. The finalists are: Amy Carter, a Chapin High School English & Teacher Cadets teacher; Courtney Cade, a Chapin Middle School language arts teacher; and Sandi Cole, a Spring Hill High School physics and physical science teacher.

Carter has served at Chapin High School since 2010. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Georgia and has a master’s degree in Education Technology Language from the University of South Carolina. “I have always sought to combine language and writing (authors’ writing and students’ writing) with the powerful collaboration tools that technology offers,” Carter said. “I believe that literature can keep us in touch with our humanity and teach us about empathy that can make us all better keepers of each other.” With her most recent professional investment in the Teacher Cadet program, she hopes to make an even greater impact as an advocate for public education by inspiring hopeful future educators that may one day become our colleagues

Cade has served at Chapin Middle School since 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in Middle Level Education from the University of South Carolina. Cade is the daughter of an educator and learned early on that the job had many benefits. She strives to be a cheerleader for her students as they strive to become who they want to be. “I choose to lead by example,” Cade said. “I come to class with a smile on her face and a positive attitude, so my students know that she cares for and believes in them. I feel my greatest accomplishment is not that my students can identify the theme or central idea of a text, but that my students know they are worthy and have the confidence to face any obstacle that life may throw their way.”

Cole has served at Spring Hill High School since 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree from College of Charleston. Prior to becoming a teacher at Spring Hill, Cole taught at Blythewood High School, Dutch Fork High School and Ridgeview High School. “Through every lesson she teaches, Cole pushes students beyond their limits and challenges other teachers to do so as well. “I feel that students are cheated if teachers only cover the standards without creativity and challenge,” Cole said. “Over the years I have worked to change the mentality of other teachers who have taught science courses with me, working with department members to revise planning guides that allow more in-depth covering of the content.”

Teacher of the Year winners from each school include: Hetlena Johnson (Academy For Success), Wendy Price (Ballentine Elementary), Joe Chapman (Center for Advanced Technical Studies), Krista McMillon (Chapin Elementary), Trina Poston (Dutch Fork Elementary), Lisa Knoche (H. E. Corley Elementary), Shannon Dunlap (Harbison West Elementary), Blake Lawson Sorrel (Irmo Elementary), Jill Stauffer (Lake Murray Elementary), Addy Schelble (Leaphart Elementary), Blythe Robertson (Nursery Road Elementary), Sharon Williams (Oak Pointe Elementary), Phyllis Griggs (River Springs Elementary), Taylor Gepper (Seven Oaks Elementary), Elizabeth Burke (Chapin Intermediate), Erin Smith (CrossRoads Intermediate), Courtney Cade (Chapin Middle), Grace McKlveen (Dutch Fork Middle), Brittany Frohnhoefer (Irmo Middle), Amy Carter (Chapin High), Brittany Holden (Dutch Fork High), Jennifer Tudor (Irmo High) and Sandi Cole (Spring Hill High).

Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton said, “The talent and dedication of our teachers are second to none, and our finalists represent the best of the best. We want to say congratulations to our finalists and all the school teachers of the year across School District Five. We are so grateful for all they do to make our district great.”