Greenville, SC -- Mrs. Kelly Nalley, Spanish teacher at Fork Shoals School, was named 2010-11 South Carolina Teacher of the Year at an awards banquet tonight in Columbia. As State Teacher of the Year she will represent more than 50,000 South Carolina teachers in the National Teacher of the Year Program.
“Kelly Nalley has been an excellent role model for teachers across our district this year,” said Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher. “She is a very dedicated and talented educator who will represent every teacher in South Carolina in a very positive way during the coming year.”
On Thursday Mrs. Nalley will be in Columbia at the Statehouse, where for the first time she and the finalists will be introduced before the General Assembly. A noon press conference on the Statehouse steps announcing May as Teacher Appreciation Month will follow.
As a high school student, Kelly was the consummate over-achiever, being named Valedictorian and “Most Likely to Succeed.” Her vision was to pursue a profession with high income potential, such as a doctor, architect, or engineer. Then she became involved in the Teacher Cadet Program, a program designed to attract young people into the teaching profession.
Not only did she discover her future profession through the Teacher Cadet Program, but she also learned a valuable life lesson. According to Kelly, success is a personal accomplishment; it is not defined or measured by another person or a cultural stereotype. She believes teaching is one of those rare professions that allow her to experience joy and success through service to others.
In her 12 years as a teacher, this award-winning educator has learned that her chosen career is not always simple and easy. She recognizes that teaching requires self-reflection, the willingness to try new things, and the vision and passion to discern which experiences are most important for students.
Kelly is a member of the South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers Association and Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society. She is also a dedicated “teacher of teachers” mentor and advisor for first and second year teachers.
Kelly earned a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Clemson University, graduating Magna cum Laude. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Education from Furman University, and has completed additional coursework for the Master’s plus 30 certification.
The Judging Process
Teacher of the Year finalists completed a two-part selection process by two panels. The first panel graded the applications of district teachers of the year, and the 25 teachers with the highest scores advanced. The names of the teachers and the schools they represented were concealed from judges during the selection process.
The final selection committee is composed of private citizens and educators outside of the Education Department. They graded those 25 applications and selected five finalists, then conducted personal interviews with those teachers and examined videotapes of their classroom techniques. Each judge then graded the finalists independently using a numerical scoring system, and totals were tallied electronically by the agency’s Division of Educator Quality and Leadership.
During next school year, Mrs. Nalley will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) and serve as a statewide ambassador for the profession. She also receives a $25,000 cash award, a set of Michelin tires, a Jostens ring and a 2010 BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (manufactured at BMW’s South Carolina plant) to use for a year. This outstanding educator will participate in Leadership South Carolina, one of the oldest and most respected leadership programs in the country. In addition, the Notre Dame Club of the Western Carolinas will send her to its Excellence in Teaching Symposium.
Mrs. Nalley will work with the South Carolina Teacher Forum, whose members are current district teachers of the year. Her residency will include coordinating professional development for teachers and numerous speaking engagements around the state before civic and professional groups interested in education.
Kelly Nalley succeeds Bryan Coburn, a pre-engineering, computer programming and business teacher at Northwestern High School in York School District 3.
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