An English teacher with more than 30 years of classroom experience was named Friday as the 2016-17 District Teacher of the Year.
Elizabeth MacMurray, who teaches ninth-grade English at Hilton Head Island High School, received the award during a breakfast celebration at Callawassie Island Clubhouse to honor teachers of the year from all of the district’s schools. She has been with the district since 2004 and in the classroom since 1982, previously teaching in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Teaching is in her blood, MacMurray said after the celebration.
“If scientists can’t find it in my DNA, then psychologists should study my environment to debate whether nature or nurture influences destiny,” she said.
Hilton Head High Principal Amanda O’Nan said MacMurray is the kind of teacher she would want her own children to have.
“She teaches every student as if they were her own,” O’Nan said. “She has a heart of gold, and that’s why our students gravitate to her. Magic happens in her classroom.”
MacMurray was offered a choice of a $5,000 cash prize, presented by Hilton Head Buick-GMC-Cadillac, or $5,000 to apply toward one of the dealer’s vehicles. The Foundation for Educational Excellence also gave an additional $1,000 grant award to MacMurray to support innovative instructional opportunities for her students.
The four other finalists for District Teacher of the Year were Lawrence Anderson of Mossy Oaks Elementary School, Bebe Cifaldi of Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts, Kelly Goudy of Robert Smalls International Academy and Jennifer Stoddard of Beaufort Middle School.
MacMurray will represent Beaufort County in the South Carolina State Teacher of the Year program, which announces its own finalists in February.