Red Carpet Award

Have you heard that Kershaw County had four schools honored today as “Red Carpet” winners?  Congratulations to ATEC, North Central Middle, Pine Tree Hill Elementary, and Wateree Elementary for this accomplishment!  How exciting for Kershaw County that we had the most schools honored out of all of the districts in our state.  I believe that it speaks volumes for these schools, that in the face of a budget crisis and an uncertain economic future, that we can still offer good customer service and family-friendly atmospheres.  Way to go “Red Carpet” winners!!!  Keep up the good work!!!

Toy Gala

Wow!  What an exciting night.  I would like to say a huge congratulations to Lugoff Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, Melody Johnson, for being named Kershaw County’s 2009 District Teacher of the Year.  She was chosen from an exemplary group of six honor roll teachers at tonight’s Kershaw County’s Teacher of the Year Gala.  I know that Melody will do a wonderful job representing Kershaw County as the next teacher of the year.  I look forward to getting to know her as she begins her path as a teacher leader as part of the Teacher Forum and the Leadership Council.  Way to go Melody!

I would also like to congratulate Pine Tree Hill’s Rebekah Branham for being named Kershaw County’s first Outstanding First Year Teacher.  I am so proud of you! 

I would love to hear from you if you attended the Gala tonight or if you would like to give a shout out to your school’s teacher of the year–for all of our Teachers of the Year are winners!

Spring Concert

This past Thursday, I was very proud to help host the spring concert performed by the Kershaw County District Chorus, which is directed by Dr. Susan Wyatt.  The Chorus was also joined in concert by several members of the “Strings for All” program and members of the “Strings in the Afternoon” group.  Both of the strings groups are directed by Mr. Jim Wheeler.  I cannot say enough about how fortunate we are to have these two programs in Kershaw County.  I have seen the students blossom as a direct result of being involved in these musical performing groups.  As we face uncertain times in our district with budget cuts, I certainly hope that these two worthwhile programs will continue to be offered as part of Kershaw County’s Arts curriculium.

I would love to hear from you if you have attended a performance at any of our local schools this spring or have students participating in any of our Arts programs here in Kershaw County.  Share some good news!

Budget Update

I wanted to thank Dr. Morgan for coming and speaking with the faculty at Pine Tree Hill at our meeting today.  I cannot imagine having to face the members of a faculty knowing that many of the questions being posed either simply don’t have answers or the answers are not the ones we would like to hear.  I appreciate the effort he is putting into keeping Kershaw County employees abreast of the situations that are happening in our district with regards to the budget through his blog, local media, community forums, and meeting with school faculties.  Despite all of the uncertainty, we need to keep reminding ourselves of all the good things that are happening in our schools.  We need to continue to work hard because we know that our students still need us despite the budget woes!

You Gotta Have the Arts!

If you happened to drive by the Fine Arts Center last night, you would have seen a long line of parents waiting to see their students participate in the Youth Arts Month Gala.  I have been participating in the Youth Arts Month Gala for over five years and am amazed at how it has grown.  Our Tinikling Team from Pine Tree Hill participated as part of the program.  There were so many parents there in support of the Arts here in Kershaw County that as one group would finish, parents would get up and make room for the parents of the next group.  Because I was with my students, the only group that I had the chance to see perform was the Kershaw County Show Choir.  I was so impressed and entertained by their performance.  Their director, Sandy Pace, and the choir have obviously been working very hard.  I thoroughly enjoyed their renditions of “Splish Splash” and “Witch Doctor” (from the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie).  Other groups that performed on Thursday night included CMS Jazz Band, “Strings for All,” CESCA Dance Group, and the CMS Theatre Group.  The groups that performed for the Youth Arts Month Gala on Tuesday evening included “Strings for All,” Stover Chorus, Stover Step Team, Doby’s Mill Chorus, and the Brevard Competition Winner.

Special thanks to Linda Shaylor and Steve Levan for helping sponsor this event. What a wonderful celebration of the arts here in Kershaw County!!!

I would love to hear from you if you had a student or group participate in the Youth Arts Month Gala.  I did not get to attend the Gala on Tuesday evening, but I know there were some great performances!  Share your thoughts!

Outstanding Teachers!!!

I would like to say congratulations to the following Outstanding First Year Teacher Award Finalists:  Rebecca Branham, Pine Tree Hill Elementary;  Heather Keith, North Central High;  Regina Pratt, Lugoff-Elgin High;  Rebecca Teal, ATEC.  These teachers are part of a new award in Kershaw County that recognizes an outstanding first year teacher.  The teachers had to be nominated by their principal and complete the application process, much like District Teacher of the Year.  The top four were chosen by a committee and went through the observation/interview process today.  We are very proud of this group of teachers, along with all of our first year teachers here in Kershaw County.  The winner will be announced at the Teacher of the Year Gala in May.

I would also like to congratulate our Honor Roll Teachers that were announced last Friday:  Melisa Blankenship, Wateree Elementary School;  Brian Heyward, Leslie M. Stover Middle School;  Melody Johnson, Lugoff Elementary School;  Kitt Lisenby, Mt. Pisgah Elementary School;  Robert Ondere, Lugoff-Elgin High School;  Jennifer Watson, Pine Tree Hill Elementary School.  These teachers are now in the running for 2009 Kershaw County Teacher of the Year.  They will complete the observation/interview process on March 27.  My thoughts and best wishes are with all of the finalists as they prepare for their second observation.

I would love to hear from anyone regarding our outstanding teachers here in Kershaw County.  Share a comment on how your child’s teacher or maybe a colleague is an outstanding teacher.

Principal of the Year

I would like to offer my congratulations to  Melissa Lloyd on being named Principal of the Year.  I met Melissa during my first year teaching at Pine Tree Hill.  She and I were on the same hall.  That year, she took me, Gail McCaskill, and Tajia Bussert (the newbies) under her wing and made us feel very welcome at Pine Tree Hill.  She was always quick to offer help, especially when I was working with her class on an up-coming program.  Melissa always carried herself with grace and poise, but she also had a little sly sense of humor!   I am very glad that I had the opportunity to teach with Melissa before she went into administration.  We always knew that she was destined to move beyond the classroom.  Congratulations Melissa!  You have earned it!

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