Four Francis Marion University School of Education alumni received 2014 awards at a reception Feb.18, as part of Homecoming activities.
Amber M. Hekman (’12) received the Novice Educator Award, Roberta L. Olmstead (’06) received the Veteran Educator Award, Marlene Williams (’82) received the Out of the Classroom Educator Award and Carol Holliday-Schweitz (’81, ’86) received the Administrator Award.
The Novice Educator Award recognizes a successful FMU graduate who demonstrates leadership in education and has been an educator at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level for one to three years. In addition, the candidate must convey a strong sense of pride and loyalty for his/her alma mater, demonstrate success in his/her educational endeavors and serve his/her community through active involvement in civic and/or charitable and service organizations.
The criteria for the Veteran Educator Award and the Administrator Award are the same as outlined for the Novice Award but he/she must be an educator or administrator at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level with four or more years’ experience. The Out of the Classroom Educator Award recipient must meet the same criteria but must no longer teach in a classroom setting.
Hekman is an art teacher at Lucy T. Davis Elementary School. She received her bachelor’s degree in art education from FMU in 2012. While attending FMU, she was presented the outstanding student teacher award by The Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty and the Donna H. Goodman Community Service Award in Art Education by the FMU Department of Fine Arts. Hekman also served as president of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) FMU Student Chapter.
Olmstead is a special education teacher at Briggs Elementary School and has been employed there for 16 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in art, textiles and design from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and her master’s degree in teaching with a focus in learning disabilities from FMU. From supporting a student who is learning to conquer a fear of public speaking or complying with a doctor’s dietary guidelines, over the years, Olmstead has facilitated a classroom environment in which students discuss, compare, and confidently apply knowledge to solve multi-step problems.
Williams began her career in 1978 as a second grade teacher at Carver Elementary School, later serving as the curriculum coordinator at the school. She was then hired as assistant principal at Moore Intermediate School and principal at Theodore Lester Elementary School. She currently serves as personnel director/recruiter for Florence School District One in 2006. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University and her master’s degree from FMU. Williams has completed additional graduate work at the University of South Carolina.
Schweitz began her career in 1981 as a certified extended substitute teacher at Bennettsville Intermediate School. She later became a teacher at Bennettsville Primary, Chesterfield Elementary and Dewey L. Carter Elementary schools before becoming an elementary curriculum coordinator at Delmae Heights Elementary School and Carver Elementary School. Schweitz was principal of Timrod Elementary School before accepting her current position as principal of Moore Intermediate School. She earned the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from FMU and the master’s degree in educational administration from USC.