Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Top Ten Finalists Announced for 2012-13 GCS Teacher of the Year

Ten finalists have been selected in the 2012-13 Greenville County Teacher of the Year program.

They are, in alphabetical order:  Abigail Cook, Chemistry, Wade Hampton High; Matt Critell, Kindergarten, Fork Shoals School; Jillian Grimsley, Fifth Grade, Stone Academy of Communication Arts; Jessica Jackson, Special Education, West Greenville School; Brian Morgan, Art, Duncan Chapel Elementary; Sara Newell, Fifth Grade, Sterling School; Will Ragland, Drama, Woodmont High; Rex Smith, Sixth Grade Science, League Academy of Communication Arts; Jennifer Valenti, Eighth Grade Spanish, Northwood Middle; and Sherryan Yarbrough, Kindergarten, Blythe Academy of Languages.

Profile of Top Ten Teachers

Abigail Cook - Click to enlarge. Matt Critell - Click to enlarge Jillian Grimsley - Click to enlarge Jessica Jackson - Click to enlarge Brian Morgan - Click to enlarge.
Abigail Cook
Chemistry, Wade Hampton High
Teaching Experience - 6
Present School - 6
Education – Bachelor’s - Clemson University; Master’s - Clemson University
Matt Critell
Kindergarten, Fork Shoals School
Teaching Experience – 4 ½
Present School - 3
Education – Bachelor’s – Youngstown State University
Jillian Grimsley
Fifth Grade, Stone Academy of Communication Arts
Teaching Experience - 4
Present School - 4
Education – Bachelor’s – Furman University; Master’s – Converse College
Jessica Jackson
Special Education, West Greenville School
Teaching Experience - 14
Present School - 6  
Education – Bachelor’s – Clemson University
Brian Morgan
Art, Duncan Chapel Elementary
Teaching Experience - 9
Present School - 6
Education – Bachelor’s – Berea College; Master’s – Furman University
Sara Newell - Click to enlarge Will Ragland - Click to enlarge Rex Smith - Click to enlarge Jennifer Valenti - Click to enlarge Sherryan Yarbrough - Click to enlarge.
Sara Newell
Fifth Grade, Sterling School
Teaching Experience - 13
Present School - 6
Education –Bachelor’s – University of South Carolina @ Spartanburg; Master’s – Converse College
Will Ragland
Drama, Woodmont High
Teaching Experience - 9
Present School - 4
Education – Bachelor’s – Davidson College
Rex Smith
Sixth Grade Science, League Academy of Communication Arts
Teaching Experience - 25
Present School -
Education – Bachelor’s – Western Carolina University
Jennifer Valenti
Eighth Grade Spanish, Northwood Middle
Teaching Experience - 15
Present School - 10
Education – Bachelor’s – Columbia College; Master’s – Columbia College
Sherryan Yarbrough
Kindergarten, Blythe Academy of Languages
Teaching Experience - 14
Present School - 4
Education – Bachelor’s – Lenoir-Rhyne College; Master’s – Southeastern Theological Seminary

The process of selecting the ten finalists began last fall when schools and centers selected their individual Teacher of the Year.  These teachers submitted applications which addressed their educational history and professional development, a professional biography, community involvement, philosophy of teaching, education issues and trends, the teaching profession, and a personal message to educators and the general public.

Applications were reviewed by a Screening Committee and a Selection Committee.  The Selection Committee will choose the next Teacher of the Year after participating in classroom observations and individual interviews with the ten finalists.  The announcement naming Greenville County’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year will be made in August.

The members of the Selection Committee are Dr. Temi Bidjerano, Furman University; Mr. Herb Johnson, Michelin North America; Dr. Betty McConaghy, retired school administrator; Mrs. Fanya Paouris, former Greenville and South Carolina Teacher of the Year; and Mr. Tobin Wolverton, The Rotary Club of Greenville.


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