On Friday, March 11, CCSD's Office of Teacher Effectiveness and current District Teacher of the Year Emilie Woody (Wando High School) surprised the five finalists for District Teacher of the Year. 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. Congratulations to each of the Teacher of the Year Finalists!
Special thanks to MINI of Charleston, the Charleston RiverDogs, and News 2 for their partnerships with CCSD in recognizing and rewarding our teacher leaders through the Teacher of the Year process!
Corday Borders, 5th Grade Teacher, Belle Hall Elementary
"Every student should feel safe and valued despite their differences. We need to create a culture where we not only accept, but we also celebrate our differences. It is our differences that allow us to look at things in a new way, to understand new dimensions, to share a new perspective."
A graduate of the University of Georgia with a Masters degree from the College of Charleston, Corday Borders credits her developing relationships “at the heart of learning” in her classroom. Each day, Ms. Borders welcomes her students by name, engaging them in dialogue about their families, their sports, and their lives. Her students recognize the safety of her classroom where they are encouraged to “explain, discuss, argue and analyze…problems and thinking.” Ms. Borders encourages the community to support teachers. She believes that teachers may have a greater impact on the success of their students when supported by policymakers, community leaders, and parents. Ms. Border’s students excel in meeting the high expectations she establishes for them. She not only promotes discussion and analysis in the study of literature and complex mathematics, but she also works collaboratively with colleagues at her school to develop student skills in research, communication, and technology, as well as the importance of self-direction and work ethic.
Angie Greene, Guidance Counselor, James Simons Elementary
"The profession of teaching is not easy. It requires passion, commitment, and a lot of grit."
As a graduate of Winthrop University with a Masters degree from The Citadel, Angie Greene has had the opportunity to serve as a classroom teacher, reading teacher, and school counselor. Ms. Greene believes that her diverse educational experiences have provided her with unique perspectives that she uses to “assist teachers, students, and parents with a plethora of complex issues.” Ms. Greene collaborates with various organizations in the community to provide learning opportunities for her students. She welcomed a group of Citadel cadets to lead students in writing activities, she coordinates projects with the Rotary Club of Charleston, and she facilitates field trip opportunities for the students with the Circular Church. She believes these partnerships “provide the students a window into the great richness of our community, outside of the classroom.”
Christine James, Media Specialist, Northwoods Middle School
"Children are an amazing collection of contradictions, full of challenges and rewards, continual works-in-progress. Teachers are amazing, too, because they understand and embrace all the contradictions, relish the challenges, savor the rewards, and never tire of the constant developmental process."
With a degree from Drake University and a Masters from the University of South Carolina, Christine James nurtures student learning by connecting the students at her school with information and texts that are relevant to their individual lives—“what they like, what they struggle with, and what gets them excited about school.” Ms. James is committed to creating a learning environment where students feel safe and welcomed, where they know they are can trust her to provide them with engaging learning opportunities. She challenges herself to always provide a student-centered approach to instruction. Ms. James also provides support and learning opportunities for her colleagues. Whether helping them find additional resources for classroom instruction or assisting with ideas to incorporate technology into their lessons, she is dedicated to the development of all learners in the community. Ms. James is an advocate for the profession. She not only models best practices during instruction, but she also shares her joy for her job with others by demonstrating a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and a love for students.
Megan Orchard, Social Studies Teacher, Fort Johnson Middle School
"Every day is an event. Every day is different. I’m conveying the past to create a better future. I have a job where I experience deep belly laughs regularly. The rewards of teaching are inherent."
A graduate of Louisiana State University with a Masters degree from the University of Georgia, Megan Orchard believes that her role as a social studies teacher gives her the opportunity to “facilitate powerful discussions about societal woes, to mold people into citizens, and to build real world problem-solvers.” Through her commitment to service in the community, Ms. Orchard conveys a spirit of giving by modeling volunteer action for her students. She has recently worked with student volunteers to hold a donation drive for homeless veterans. Ms. Orchard also makes history engaging and relevant to the lives of her students. She commits to providing opportunities for her students to seek answers to questions and to explore their own understanding of the learning freely. On any day in her classroom, Ms. Orchard’s students may be engaged in an imperialism role-play, arguing in defense of King Louis XVI during a mock trial, or creating an iMovie about Revolutionary battles. Ms. Orchard reminds us that “teachers are warriors,” committed each day to student achievement, growth, and fun.
Karen Pickering, English Teacher, Stall High School
"I try to make my students independent thinkers who persist even when faced with adversity. I strive to help my students build self-confidence by creating a learning environment where they are free to make mistakes without being ridiculed and where they are encouraged to keep trying until they uncover appropriate answers."
As a graduate of Winthrop University with a Masters degree from The Citadel, Karen Pickering was inspired by her parents’, both former educators, and her teachers’ dedication and commitment to creating learning opportunities for students. Declaring teaching as her “passion,” Ms. Pickering collaborates with colleagues and administrators at her school to provide the best learning opportunities for her students. Whether preparing students to examine a novel by making the plot relevant through contemporary articles or by encouraging students to explore the global community through oral communication, Ms. Pickering creates learning opportunities that enable her students to thrive both inside and outside the classroom.