Bluffton High School teacher Erin Reichert has been named the Beaufort County teacher of the year.
The announcement was made this morning at a breakfast at Callawassie Island.
Reichert, who has taught Advanced Placement U.S. history, Youth in Goverment and sociology courses at Bluffton High for six years, said her passion for civics and social studies convinced her she had to teach.
Her favorite course, Youth in Government, is one she started at Bluffton High through a national YMCA program. The course teaches students about all levels of government. They shadow Bluffton town officials in the spring, travel to the State House in Columbia in the fall, and plan mock elections and voter registration drives at the school.
Reichert was one of five finalists for the teacher of the year award. The four other finalists were Holly Lambert of Beaufort Middle School, Jennifer Weitekamper of Hilton Head Island High School, Amy Fallon of Port Royal Elementary School and Angela Stewart of Whale Branch Middle School.
Teacher-of-the-year selection began in May with the announcement of school-level teachers. A panel then determines the finalists, who are further vetted through interviews and a video of them teaching the lesson.
As in past years, the honor comes with a new car. Reichert was presented with a white 2013 BMW 328i, donated by Tom Ditzig of Hilton Head Automotive-BMW, to drive free of charge for a year. Reichert joked that she’s not sure her 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter will be allowed to ride in the new car, but she was thrilled to have it.
She will also lead the district’s Teacher Forum for a year. The group provides input to district policy makers.
Reichert goes on to compete for state teacher of the year.