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Beaufort County names teacher of the year finalists

Five classroom teachers were named last week as finalists for Beaufort County’s 2017-18 District Teacher of the Year.

The finalists are Hilton Head Island High School history teacher Duncan Aspinwall-Winter, Bluffton Middle literacy coach Angela Bellantone, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts third-grade teacher Jennifer Friend-Kerr, Beaufort Elementary engineering teacher Meredith Rhoden and Beaufort High biology teacher Dr. Nancy Ungvarsky.

Superintendent Jeff Moss announced the finalists before an audience of hundreds of educators at the opening session of Summer Institute 2017, the district’s annual three-day professional development conference, at May River High School.

“Great teaching is the No. 1 ingredient in an excellent education, and today we announced five top-notch professionals who epitomize great teaching,” Moss said. “Our finalists are terrific representatives for all of our district’s teachers.”

The teacher of the year will be announced Sept. 22 at an awards breakfast.

The three-step process began when school-level teachers of the year were selected in April. Those who wanted to compete for District Teacher of the Year submitted detailed applications in June.

A selection committee consisting of parents, former educators and community leaders from across Beaufort County reviewed the applications and rated them using a numerical scoring system. The five highest-scoring applicants were named as finalists.

The finalists will be interviewed by a separate review committee again composed of judges from across the county. The judges will begin by reviewing a video of each teacher doing a classroom lesson.

The judges will score candidates based on how well they respond to questions about their teaching methods as shown in the video, as well as how they respond to questions about current education issues. After the interviews, the panel will select a District Teacher of the Year to represent Beaufort County’s classroom professionals.

The current teacher of the year is Hilton Head Island High School’s Beth McMurray.

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