Florence School District 3 names employee of the year
WBTW.com. Kaitlyn Luna. August 19, 2020.

LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – Desiree Wilson, a teacher at J. Paul Truluck Creative Arts and Science Magnet School, was announced Monday as Florence School District 3’s Teacher of the Year by Superintendent Laura Hickson during a virtual opening ceremony.

A sixth- through eighth-grade STEM Project Lead the Way Instructor, Wilson believes teachers are most effective when they building relationships based on trust and understanding.

“Building an insightful, meaningful relationship with my students is the foundation for success in my classroom,” Wilson said. “One of my greatest contributions in education is bringing passion to the classroom. Being able to motivate my students brings me utter joy.”

Wilson said although each student has his or her own individual talents that may vary widely from one student to the next, it’s her job to nurture that talent.

“Students are like clay,” she observed. “They can be molded into great works of art, and at the beginning of each new school year, a teacher gets to start the process again. I would like to think that I help students see greatness is in each of them. It is my responsibility to promote the ‘I can’ in every student and to help them understand that they are individuals.”

Wilson has taught for 16 years and has been teaching in FSD3 since 2014. She is a TEAM One Mentor Leader and an Innovate Mentor. She also was named Ronald E. McNair Junior High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2016-2017.

Each school’s staff selected a teacher of the year to represent their respective schools. A panel of four judges with backgrounds in education selected the finalists based on written responses to questions that focused on teaching philosophy and influences that led to a teaching career and the importance of education on society.

Each school’s Teacher of the Year received a gift and finalists also received $250. Other school-level teachers of the year are:

  • Theresa Burgess, a 5K-3 English/language arts, math science and social studies teacher at the Alternative Center for Education;
  • Kimberly Cooper, a 7th-8th grade English teacher at Dr. Ronald E. McNair Junior High School;
  • Tressia Gibbs, a 9th-12th grade teacher at Lake City High School;
  • Katie Matthews, a first-grade science and social studies teacher at Scranton Elementary STEAM Academy;
  • Erica Poston, a first grade teacher at Lake City Early Childhood Center
  • Mary Alice Thomy-Bogue, a music teacher at J. C. Lynch Elementary School

FSD3 also named its Principal of the Year, Assistant Principal of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year.

Dr. Sharon Williams, principal of Main Street Elementary School, was named Principal of the Year. Other finalists were Thomas DeVine of Lake City Early Childhood Center and Shanda Poston of Scranton Elementary STEAM Academy.

Jami Kirby, assistant principal at Scranton Elementary STEAM Academy, was named Assistant Principal of the Year. Finalists for the award included Terrell Fleming of Main Street Elementary and Melanie McKnight of Olanta Magnet School.

Jerry State, a transition support specialist at the Alternative Center for Education, was named Classified Employee of the Year. Other finalists were John Battiste, a behavior interventionist at Main Street Elementary, and Tracy Hannah, a receptionist at J. Paul Truluck Magnet School.

Other school-level Classified Employees of the Year included Sharee Jones, a 4K instructional assistant at Lake City Early Childhood Center; Pamela Jenkins, a Montessori instructional assistant at J. C. Lynch Elementary; Martika Cooper, a 5K instructional assistant at Olanta Magnet School; Sharon Hammond, a receptionist and parent liaison at Scranton Elementary; Bryce Henneghan, a custodian at Dr. Ronald E. McNair Junior High; and Willie Burgess, a custodian at Lake City High.

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