PICKENS – Southern Wesleyan University joined the School District of Pickens County in congratulating top educators during the district’s Back-to-School Celebration Aug. 15 at Pickens High School.
During the event, Southern Wesleyan University President Todd Voss presented cash prizes to the 2013-‘14 Teacher of the Year and Support Employee of the Year. Finalists in each category also received cash prizes sponsored by Southern Wesleyan.
“Teaching is a calling,” Voss said to the audience of teachers, support staff members and administrators. “There are so few who have the gifts, abilities, talents and character traits to be teachers in today’s world. I am so proud of what you do. You are standing in the gap in a world that’s falling apart. You are making a difference one student at a time.
“Every teacher, every administrator, every operational manager, every custodian, every food service employee and every school system has the ability and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these young people today,” he added.
Nikki Miller, a reading coach at Pickens Elementary School, was named Teacher of the Year. The finalists for Teacher of the Year were Susan Orr of Six Mile Elementary School, Jared Roper of McKissick Elementary School (a SWU alumnus), and Toni Johnson of Dacusville Middle School.
Jennifer Ohlrogge, an ISS instructor at Gettys Middle School, was named Support Employee of the Year. Finalists were Kim Hager of Dacusville Elementary School, Connie Upchurch of Clemson Elementary School and Diann Reece of A.R. Lewis Elementary School.
The finalists were selected first by a screening committee before going before an interview committee which will determine the winners. The committees were composed of parents, administrators, and former teachers and support employees of the year.