Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013

Northwest Middle Social Studies Teacher Named GCS Teacher of the Year

Anne Kelsey-Zibert - Greenville County Teacher of the YearGreenville County Schools Superintendent W. Burke Royster today announced the selection of Anne Kelsey-Zibert, a social studies teacher at Northwest Middle School, the 2013-14 Greenville County Teacher of the Year. Three runners-up were also named.

Adam Massey, Business Education, Greer High
First Runner-up

“I believe students want and need to see how the things learned in class today will apply to their lives tomorrow. I work hard to unite global events, be it politics, technology, sports, or entertainment, into class discussions. In the Virtual Enterprise program, the opportunities may come in simple tasks such as the creation of an advertisement for the firm’s product. This opportunity brings out creativity in students and raises the bar daily.”

Tom Rogers, Physics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Southside High Academy
Second Runner-up

“My students and I formed the SAM Team (Southside Automated Machines) where we designed and built a 200-pound robot for carrying firefighting equipment up stairs. We researched statistics about firefighter injuries in AP Statistics class, made design calculations in AP Physics, and wrote control software in IB Computer Science class. The SAM Team went on to create numerous other innovations and projects, all of which are used to varying degrees in my own classes.”

Mandy Waters, First Grade, Westcliffe Elementary
Third Runner-up

“I want my students to know that they are smart, that they have the capacity to learn, and that learning can take them so many places. I want my students to know they are important. I want them to know that no matter where they go or what they do, they are infinitely important to me. I want them to know that they are kind. I want them to see themselves as part of a class that works together and loves each other.”

Six other finalists were named in this year’s program that exemplifies the “best of the best” in Greenville County Schools. They are: Angie Cooley, music, Mitchell Road Elementary; Libba Mattison, Science, J. L. Mann High Academy; Clint Nalley, seventh grade science, Bryson Middle; Alyson Nelson, anatomy and biology, Mauldin High; Kim Phillips, special education, Bethel Elementary; and Jan Woodward, dance, Fine Arts Center.

2013-14 Greenville County Teacher of the Year

  • Anne Kelsey-Zibert, History, Northwest Middle School
  • Years of Teaching Experience – 9
  • Education – Bachelor’s - History, Princeton University; Master’s - History, Clemson University
  • National Board Certified Teacher

A Great Passion for History

While studying history at Princeton University, it became clear to Northwest Middle School history teacher Anne Kelsey-Zibert that the best way to combine her love of history and government with her gift of helping others learn was to become a classroom teacher.  “The more I understood what it meant to be a teacher and help students grow as individuals, the more I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to teaching,” said Mrs. Zibert.

 In her seventh grade classroom, she uses teaching methods that help history come alive.  “My students conducted a mock trail of Thomas Jefferson, and they’ve had assignments such as writing home as a factory worker in the 1800s and writing an oral history of a family member or neighbor,” she explained. “I want my students to feel connected to the history they are learning and understand that the past shaped the world they live in, and that history is relevant to their lives,” she said.

This National Board Certified teacher takes pride in creating a classroom environment where students understand what is expected of them, where they feel comfortable answering questions and collaborating with classmates, and where they know they are valued.

She constantly discovers new teaching methods and seeks new ways to engage students. “I am never content to simply use last year’s lesson plan without a great deal of rethinking and improving.  I frequently spend time in educational workshops, read blogs and articles about teaching strategies, and reflect on what I can improve about my teaching methods,” she said.

As a former Teacher Cadet, Mrs. Zibert’s dedication to the teaching profession goes well beyond day-to-day teaching. “I spend significant time during my planning period and after school calling parents, talking to others at my school that might be able to help a struggling student, and providing one-on-one tutoring to help a student learn. I use teaching strategies such as simulations or creative writing that helps students get excited about history,” she said.

Mrs. Zibert has conducted history workshops for her peers at the local, state and national levels.  She was selected to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks in American History Summer Workshop as well as a two-week study in Germany as part of the Transatlantic Outreach Program.

“I have learned about history while visiting the courtroom where the Nuremburg Trials took place, the house in Potsdam where the Allies settled the terms of World War II, and boarding houses where workers’ lives were transformed by the Industrial Revolution,” said Zibert.

In addition to teaching history, Mrs. Zibert has served her school and community as a soccer coach. She started a German club that exposes students to German culture, language, and food, and encourages students to become pen pals with German students. 

Mrs. Zibert pays tribute to Princeton University by serving as an alumna interviewer. “I have the opportunity to meet incredible students, learn about their accomplishments, and help serve my alma mater,” she said.

Congratulations to Anne Kelsey-Zibert, 2013-14 Greenville County Schools Teacher of the Year!

School Teachers of the Year

The process of selecting the ten finalists began last fall when schools and centers selected their individual Teachers of the Year. Applications were first reviewed by a Screening Committee. Five judges then selected the Top Ten finalists and the District Teacher of the Year.

How Are Finalists Chosen?

Each Top Ten candidate for Greenville County Teacher of the Year is judged on nine areas including those on his or her application form, a classroom visit, and an oral review.  In the classroom, judges observe the teacher’s command of subject matter, classroom environment, communication skills, enthusiasm, creativity, and classroom management skills. During the interview, candidates are judged on his or her use of effective communication skills, organization of response, knowledge and command of subject matter, and substance and relevance of response.

2013-14 judges were: Dr. Temi Bidjerano, Furman University; Mr. Herb Johnson, Michelin North America; Dr. Betty McConaghy, retired school administrator; Mrs. Margie Crowley, former Greenville Teacher of the Year; and Mr. Tobin Wolverton, The Rotary Club of Greenville.

Teachers of the Year Recognized by Local Businesses

The announcement naming Anne Kelsey-Zibert the 2013-14 Greenville County Teacher of the Year was made August 16 during a Teacher of the Year breakfast. Special awards and prizes were provided for the top Greenville County teacher and other honorees.

Emerging Teacher of the Year

• Greenville Federal Credit Union - $500 for Teachers’ Schools, $500 for Teachers; Crystal Award

All Teachers of the Year

  • Bank of Travelers Rest – Embroidered Tote Bag (Awarded in May)
  • Greenville Office Supply - $75 Gift Certificate
  • Plaque

Top Ten Finalists

  • Cowart Awards - Engraved Acrylics
  • Eplee & Associates – Book Store Gift Certificates
  • Expressions Unlimited – Flowers
  • Herff Jones Company – Teacher of the Year Gift
  • Sam’s Club - Goody Bag of School Supplies


  • Greenville Rotary Club – Cash Awards
  • Greenville Journal – Dinner Gift Certificate

Teacher of the Year

  • Cowart Awards – Engraved Acrylic
  • Expressions Unlimited – Bouquet
  • Greenville Journal - Dinner Gift Certificate
  • Greenville News – One-Year Subscription
  • Greenville Rotary Club – Cash Award
  • Herff Jones Company – Special Teacher of the Year Gift
  • Michelin North America – Set of 4 Michelin Tires
  • Peace Center – POP field Trip for Entire Class
  • Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company - $500
  • Sam’s Club - $1,000 Grant
  • Table 301 – Dinner for Two

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