Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015

Greenville County Schools Superintendent W. Burke Royster today announced the selection of Shiree Turner Fowler, a kindergarten teacher at Hollis Elementary Academy, the 2015-16 Greenville County Teacher of the Year.

  • First Runner-up - Heather Steading, Fifth Grade, Fork Shoals School
  • Second Runner-up – Kristin Danko, Fourth Grade, Bell’s Crossing Elementary
  • Third Runner-up – Anne Matthews, Strings, Greenville Middle Academy

Shiree Turner Fowler, Kindergarten, Hollis Elementary Academy

2015-16 Greenville County Schools Teacher of the Year

  • Total Years of Teaching Experience – 12
  • Education – Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Social Work, Seattle University; Master’s Degree in Teaching, Elementary Education, City University Seattle

Achieving Begins with Believing

Hollis Elementary Academy kindergarten teacher Shiree Turner Fowler wanted to become a social worker so she could create empowering, community-based programs for at-risk youth. Once she began working with youth, she realized that although the children needed the programs, they were in need of something much greater. “To improve their lives, they first needed a quality education,” she said. “ I became committed to teaching in Title I schools, which are schools with at least a 40 percent poverty rate, because of my commitment to the young people I worked with.”

Shiree Turner Fowler has been a teacher for 12 years, and has taught at Hollis Elementary Academy for the past two years. She spent the first years of her teaching career in the Seattle and Tacoma areas of Washington, where she earned recognition as a Hero in the Classroom.

To reach her five-year-old students in a school with a 98 percent poverty rate, Shiree Turner Fowler teaches in a fast-paced, energetic manner. “When I increase the urgency of my teaching, scholars increase the urgency of their learning; when scholars increase the urgency of their learning, they increase the investment in their own learning and that investment yields a profit of academic success,” she explained.

Her style is also laced with extremely high expectations. “When scholars walk in line, they are learning to walk like they are in the halls of the White House. They do not enter a classroom, they enter a Kinderversity,” she said. “My rigorous curriculum demonstrates that I trust and believe that after overcoming obstacles, all of my scholars will walk down the aisle to receive their college diplomas and they will help change the world in their own special way.”

Shiree Turner Fowler believes her greatest accomplishments are the successes of her scholars. “I have contributed to their success through being unwilling to accept failure, challenging them to achieve, holding high expectations and holding the accountable to meeting those expectations, empowering them through academic success, and believing in them.”

Shiree Turner Fowler holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from Seattle University and a master’s degree in elementary education from City University in Seattle.

First Runner-up

Heather Steading, Fifth Grade
Fork Shoals School

“As teachers, children’s love for learning is in our hands. It is our responsibility to provide students with an education that meets their needs, engages them, motivates them, and inspires them. I want all of my fifth graders to leave school loving learning and knowing they are capable of anything they set their mind to.”

Second Runner-up

Kristin Danko, Fourth Grade
Bell’s Crossing Elementary

“I make my classroom a place of discovery and adventure, a safe haven where chances are taken and mistakes are made without fear of criticism, and knowledge is absorbed with an unquenchable thirst for more. I spark this flame and help them acknowledge a love of learning through my own positive attitude and enthusiasm for education.”

Third Runner-up

Anne Matthews, Strings
Greenville Middle Academy

“I make it a point to bond with each student by appreciating individual interests outside my classroom. Whether they cheer for a certain team, have a dog, or practice karate, students feel more appreciated, valued, and work harder when you take the time to share their interests both in and outside the classroom.”


  • Alice Bradley, Seventh Grade, Ralph Chandler Middle School
  • Amy Burnett, Mathematics, Berea High School
  • Tracy Gay, Fifth Grade, Crestview Elementary School
  • Stacy Hall, Sixth Grade School Counseling, Riverside Middle School
  • Shelley Peak, Third Grade, Robert E. Cashion Elementary School
  • David Quigley, Math and Science, Woodmont High School

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 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 the nine areas included on the application form, a classroom visit, and an interview.
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.

The members of the Selection Committee are Lillie Lewis, Southern Wesleyan University; Kelly Nalley, former Greenville County Schools and South Carolina Teacher of the Year; Dr. Betty McConaghy, retired school administrator; Scott Powell, The Rotary Club of Greenville; and Bill Tyler, Chick-fil-A.

Teachers of the Year Recognized by Local Businesses

Special awards and prizes are provided for the top Greenville County teacher and other honorees.

The Emerging Teachers of the Year Program, sponsored by Greenville Federal Credit Union, recognizes a second or third year teacher at the elementary and secondary levels for outstanding performance. Each winner receives $500, a crystal award, and $500 for his or her school.

Teacher of the Year sponsors are Bank of Travelers Rest, Chick-fil-A, Cowart Awards, Eplee and Associates, Expressions Unlimited, Greenville Federal Credit Union, Greenville Journal, Herff Jones Company, Michelin North America, Inc., Papa John’s Pizza, Peace Center, Rotary Club of Greenville, Sam’s Club, Sprint, and The Greenville News.

Shiree Turner Fowler, a kindergarten teacher at Hollis Elementary Academy, the 2015-16 Greenville County Teacher of the Year.
Shiree Turner Fowler, a kindergarten teacher at Hollis Elementary Academy, the 2015-16 Greenville County Teacher of the Year.
Superintendent W. Burke Royster with Shiree Turner Fowler
Superintendent W. Burke Royster with Shiree Turner Fowler
Shiree Turner Fowler
Shiree Turner Fowler
Shiree Turner Fowler 2
Shiree Turner Fowler
TOY Runners Up
TOY Runners Up
Dr. Royster congratulating finalists
Dr. Royster congratulating finalists

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