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First Year Teacher of the Year Announced



Aiken County Public School District administrators, building principals and family members gathered at Jackson Middle STEAM Magnet School on Thursday, April 20, 2017, to honor the District’s twenty-eight First Year Teachers of the Year during an annual reception celebration.


District leaders also recognized six members of the First Year Teacher of the Year Honor Court and announced the winner of the 2016-17 ACPSD First Year Teacher of the Year Award – Ms. Katie Anderson, a mathematics and science instructor at Kennedy Middle School.


Ms. Anderson credited a portion of the success she has enjoyed during her first year of classroom instruction to extraordinary support at each level of District leadership she encountered.


“The support I have received during my first year of teaching has been incredible,” Anderson stated. “My District mentor, my building principal and assistant principals and colleagues have all been phenomenal in offering their support, encouragement and expertise. “If I ever had questions or concerns about anything at all there were an endless number of co-workers who were always willing to help and direct me. Even though some days are tougher than others, they were always there to share a kind word, helpful hints and a smile to get me through.”


Sarah Burnham, Katie’s mentor, beamed with pride following this afternoon’s announcement and commented that she has been a pleasure to work with. “Every interaction with her has been joyous, happy and full of enthusiasm.”


Ms. Anderson said two additional factors that allowed her to thrive during her first year of teaching were creativity in the classroom and connectivity with her students and parents.


“My instructional strategies vary from day to day as I try to implement as many different strategies as possible to help all of my students be successful,” Anderson commented. “I include videos, songs, scavenger hunts, foldable lessons and different modes of technology. My instructional goal is to provide an environment that promotes and encourages lifelong learning.”


“The connection between a teacher, parents and students is vital to success in any classroom,” Anderson added. I want my parents to know that I am there for the betterment of their child and that I will be there for them and their needs. One of my main goals is to let my parents know that we are a team. I want them to know that I am there to help and support them in all they do.”


“Katie always takes the time to find out exactly what each student needs to progress. She never gives on students and does not allow them to give up on themselves,” stated Kennedy Middle School Principal Teresa Mitchem. “As a first-year teacher, Katie went above and beyond to build positive relationships with parents, community members, and her colleagues.”


This year’s six-member, First Year Teacher of the Year Honor Court included Katie Anderson, Mallory Berley of North Aiken Elementary School, Ashley Carroll of Greendale Elementary School, Abby Hudson of North Augusta Elementary School, Missy Meesseman of Aiken Elementary School and Jenifer Williams of Paul Knox Middle School. 


The District’s high school First Year Teachers of the Year include Luke McClure (Aiken High); Erin Curtis (Midland Valley High); Forrest Wimberly (North Augusta High); Kimberly Patterson (Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle/High); Brian Goldschmidt (Silver Bluff High); Erik Potteiger (South Aiken High); and Megan Hunkins (Wagener-Salley High).


District middle school Teachers of the Year include Cassie Shumpert (Busbee-Corbett Elementary/Middle); Kevin Speers (Aiken Middle); Ashley Summer (Jackson Middle); Rachel Stripling (Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle); Erin Schar (Leavelle McCampbell Middle); Katie Anderson (Kennedy Middle); Steven McCleod (North Augusta Middle); Jenifer Williams (Paul Knox Middle); and Kevin Sweatt (Schofield Middle).


The District’s Elementary School First Year Teachers of the Year include Melissa Meesseman (Aiken Elementary); Hannah Knaul (Belvedere Elementary); Sara Anderson (Byrd Elementary); Shelby Snipes (East Aiken School of the Arts); Charity McClain (Gloverville Elementary); Ashley Carroll (Greendale Elementary); Aaron Hambrick (Horse Creek Academy); Kelsey Hayes (J.D. Lever Elementary); Mallory Berley (North Aiken Elementary); Abby Hudson (North Augusta Elementary); Kristin Boney (Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary); and Lindsey Paschal (Warrenville Elementary).