Five finalists for the Beaufort County School District's teacher of the year were announced Tuesday.
"Great teaching is the No. 1 ingredient in an excellent education, and today we announced five top-notch professionals who epitomize great teaching," superintendent Jeff Moss said during the opening session of Summer Institute 2014, the district's annual professional-development conference.
"Our finalists are terrific representatives for all of our district's teachers."
The 2014-15 finalists are:
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- Michelle Henry, master teacher at Whale Branch Elementary School.
- Caroleen Hodge, third-grade teacher at Port Royal Elementary School.
- Annette Lee, special-education teacher at Hilton Head Island High School.
- Sharon McMahon, math teacher at Bluffton Middle School.
- Amy Simmons, band teacher at Whale Branch Middle School.
Teachers of the year are picked in a three-step process that begins with school-level selections each April. Those who wish to continue in the competition for district teach of the year then submit detailed applications by the end of July, according to a district news release.
A committee of parents, former educators and Beaufort County community leaders reviews and rates the applications. The five highest-scoring applicants are named finalists.
Finalists are then interviewed by a separate review committee composed of judges from across the county. Those panelists begin by reviewing a video of the teacher giving a classroom lesson. Judges score candidates based on how well they respond to questions about their teaching methods, as well as how they respond to questions about current education issues.
After those interviews, the panel selects the district teacher of the year in September, and that person represents Beaufort County in the state competition.
The district's teacher of the year will be announced Sept. 19.
The current teacher of the year is Kristen Karszes, an English language arts instructor at Hilton Head Island High School.