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FMU alumna named state Teacher of the Year

Last spring, at the district level it was the use of a new car for one year and $1,000. As of Thursday night, it is the use of a BMW sports car for one year, $25,000 cash and assorted gifts, which in the past have included automobile tires and laptop computers.

Who says teaching doesn't pay? It has paid off – not just in money and prizes but in personal fulfillment – for Francis Marion University graduate Ann Taylor, a special education teacher at Pine Tree Hill Elementary School in Kershaw County, who has been named the 2007 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

For the past three years, Taylor has taught self-contained special education classes (EMD), grades kindergarten through fifth. This year, she became a National Board candidate.

Taylor attended FMU from 1999-2001 and received a master’s degree in teaching, learning disabilities. She received additional certification in teaching students with mental disabilities as well. From 1993-1997, she attended Saginaw Valley State University and received a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences and criminal justice.

According to district officials, Taylor’s classroom is filled with excitement. She offers her students a safe haven where they are loved and receive compliments along the way.

During the next school year, Taylor will participate in a one-year residency program at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) and serve as a statewide ambassador for the teaching profession.

She also will conduct workshops for other classroom professionals, discuss public education issues with members of the General Assembly and State Board of Education, and work closely with the Teacher Cadet Program, a program that encourages academically able students with exemplary interpersonal and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career.

Four Honor Roll teachers who were finalists for the award each receive $10,000, a Dell computer and a set of Michelin tires. Each district teacher receives $1,000, and all 83 district nominees received various gifts donated by corporate sponsors.

FMU alumna Linda Dowling, a middle-grades language arts teacher at Darlington County’s Sonavista Alternative School, was among the five finalists chosen from nominees representing 83 of South Carolina’s 85 local public school districts.

This year marks the 42nd year of the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Program, which has grown tremendously in participation and prestige. Corporate sponsorships and private donations have funded the annual awards and transformed the program into a nationally recognized event that honors the State Teacher of the Year, Honor Roll teachers and district teachers of the year.

The 2006-07 sponsors include: Premier – BMW Manufacturing Co.; Diamond – Time Warner Cable; Platinum – Michelin North America Inc. and The R. L. Bryan Co; Gold - CMC Steel of South Carolina, Data Recognition Corporation and SMARTer Kids Foundation; Silver – AARP of South Carolina, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Childs & Halligan, P.A., Duff & White, L.L.C., Duke Energy, McNair Law Firm, P.A., Notre Dame Club of the Western Carolinas, Progress Energy, Publix Super Market Charities and SCE&G; Bronze – Alcoa-Mt. Holly, State Farm Insurance, Wachovia, and Washington Savannah River.

#185 / 5-7-07
Last Published: June 5, 2007 9:09 AM
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