Harbison West Elementary School fifth grade teacher Brenna Lamprey has been named as the South Carolina Council for Exceptional Children’s (SCCEC) General Education Teacher of the Year. The award is given to a general educator who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of exceptional children and youth.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive such a prestigious award, which in fact highlights the collaboration and influence of so many involved,” said Lamprey. “It has been through learning from my students, colleagues at Harbison West, and throughout District Five that I am the teacher I am today. I have been so fortunate to have amazing role models of all ages and experience levels to challenge me to always dream big, strive for better and work towards creating an educational community where acceptance and collaboration are a priority.”

In 2015, Lamprey and Harbison West special education preschool teacher Beth Reilly created the group “Project Au-Some.” The group started after Reilly shared a book about Autism to Lamprey’s class. Lamprey’s fifth graders then felt compelled to give back to younger students with special needs, and that is where the big buddy, little buddy system began. As the students started spending more time together, the Big Buddies started planning and teaching lessons for the Little Buddies. These lessons consisted of gross and fine motor skills, social skills and developmentally appropriate academic skills.

“To be selected as the General Education Teacher of the Year for our state is an incredible accomplishment,” said District Five Director of Special Services Angie Slatton. “I have had the opportunity to see Brenna in action on several occasions and the award is no surprise to me. She goes above and beyond every single day to meet the needs of all her students at Harbison West.”

In addition to her award, both Lamprey and Reilly received their second mini-grant from the SCCEC for Project Au-Some.

“I’ve always loved providing opportunities for general education and special education students to interact, but Project Au-Some has motivated me to take it to the next level, and to continue to inspire others to be the change,” Lamprey said. “Beth and I are so excited to receive yet another mini-grant from the SCCEC for this wonderful group.”

Harbison West Elementary School principal Ed Davis said Lamprey means a lot to the school family.

“We as a school at Harbison West are so proud of Ms. Brenna Lamprey for receiving the General Education Teacher of the Year award,” Davis said. “We are so fortunate to have her here serving our students. She is the embodiment of hero believing, growing and soaring.”