Brushy Creek Elementary Teacher Wendy Frans named 2022-23 Teacher of the Year
This morning, Brushy Creek Elementary School fifth grade teacher Wendy Frans received the district’s highest teaching honor when Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster named her the 2022-23 GCS Teacher of the Year.
Three runners-up were announced. Michelle Stein, seventh grade special education inclusion teacher at Northwest Middle School, was named First Runner-up; Lesley Hipp, a second grade teacher at Robert E. Cashion Elementary School, was named Second Runner-up; and Bekki Benjamin, an English teacher at Wade Hampton High School, was named Third Runner-up.
Finalists for 2022-23 Teacher of the Year are Audrey Bass, strings, Eastside High School; Kerri Fay, first grade, K-12 Virtual Program; Janet Herrera-Gantt, third grade, Bethel Elementary School; Hank Hill, science/EMS, Riverside High School; Sarah Monson, English language arts, League Middle Academy; and Devin Moore, second grade, Summit Drive Elementary School.
In addition, two Emerging Teachers of the Year were named. Cait McManaway, third grade teacher at Fork Shoals School, was named Elementary Level Emerging Teacher of the Year, and Katherine West, English language arts teacher at Greenville Middle Academy, was named Secondary Level Emerging Teacher of the Year. The Emerging Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by Greenville Federal Credit Union.
2022-23 Teacher of the Year Wendy Frans
Brushy Creek Elementary educator Wendy Frans knows that being a teacher is more than teaching in a classroom; it’s about being a role model, a counselor, and helping students grow socially inside the classroom and out.
Wendy grew up as the youngest of six children in her family. Neither of her parents graduated from college and despite this, they instilled in her the importance of education and a college degree. With 20 years of teaching experience, she says it is still exciting to create engaging lessons and see the “lightbulbs” come on.
It is important that Ms. Frans teaches her students that kindness and giving to others is important, not only because it makes them feel good, but more importantly because students are thinking of someone other than themselves. Ms. Frans instills the principle I RISE in her students as they grow and mature. She says, “I RISE to meet the demands of the learning style of every student that in my classroom; I RISE to wipe away tears when they come to school with a heavy heart; I RISE to be honest with my students, admit when I make a mistake, ask forgiveness when I’ve jumped to a conclusion, and show fairness to all students, no matter what; I RISE to create engaging lessons to make learning fun; I RISE to mentor younger teachers; and I RISE to advocate for my present and past students while striving to become the best educator I can be.”
Teacher of the Year Process
The process of selecting ten Finalists began last fall when schools and centers selected their individual Teachers of the Year. School-level Teachers of the Year completed a comprehensive application that was reviewed and scored by an initial Screening Committee. The judges then ranked the top one-third of applicants and selected the finalists.
How Are the Finalists Chosen?
Each Top Ten candidate for GCS Teacher of the Year is judged on the completed application, a one-on-one interview, and a classroom observation. During the interview, candidates were judged on their use of effective communication skills, organization of responses to questions, and substance and relevance of response. Top Ten Finalists had an unannounced observation by the judging committee. Judges scored each finalist on his or her knowledge of content, teacher/student interaction, communication skills, instructional delivery, and assessment and feedback.
The members of the Selection Committee are Catherine James, Greenville Federal Credit Union; Dr. Michelle Meekins, retired GCS administrator; Kelly Nalley, former GCS Teacher of the Year and former SC Teacher of the Year; Andy Waters, Herff Jones of South Carolina; and Dr. Phillip Wilder, Clemson University.
Special Thanks to Our Sponsors
Special awards and prizes are provided for the top Greenville County teacher and other honorees. Sponsors include Bank of Travelers Rest, BMW Manufacturing Company, Chick-fil-A of Greer, Cowart Awards, District 1 PTA, Eplee + Associates, Expressions Unlimited, Greenville Federal Credit Union, Greenville Journal, Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa, Herff Jones of South Carolina, Jostens, LS Homes Residential, Michelin North America Inc., Papa John’s Pizza, Peace Center, Rotary Club of Greenville, SC Charities, Spinx, Staples and Table 301.