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CCSD reveals Top Five Finalists for 2022 Teacher of the Year

Charleston County School District (CCSD) officials  surprised five teachers today by announcing their selection of the Top Five  Finalists for 2022 Teacher of the Year. 

The finalists are Natasha Akery, Academic Magnet High School; Nathalie  Bennett, Northwoods Middle School; Chakadasovavan Or, Julian Mitchell  Elementary School; Ashley Pomposelli, James B. Edwards Elementary  School; and Kory Roberts, Memminger Elementary School. 

CCSD Interim Superintendent Donald R. Kennedy, Sr. presented each finalist  with flowers and a certificate. At each stop along the route, CCSD shared  live announcements and updates on its social media platforms  (@CCSDConnects). Photos from the day can also be found there and on  ccsdschools.com. 

One of the finalists will take over the reins from the district’s current  Teacher of the Year, Adam Barnes, of West Ashley High School. 

 

Meet the Top Five Finalists 

Natasha Akery 

Teaching is a second career for Akery. She joined the profession in 2017  through an alternative certification process. She has filled the roles of English instructor and Diversity Coach at Academic Magnet High School since 2020.  She previously worked at Military Magnet Academy. 

Akery is a 2009 College of Charleston graduate and attends the International  Institute for Restorative Practices as she pursues her Master of Science. 

Akery is a member of multiple professional organizations, including the South  Carolina Council for Teachers of English where she was a presenter at the 2020  and 2022 Annual Conferences, Teacher2Teacher (National Social Media Network for Educators), and #HipHopEd (Virtual Professional Learning Community). 

In her role at Academic Magnet, Akery designs and facilitates professional development for administrators, faculty, and staff pertaining to diversity, equity,  and inclusion. Additionally, Akery also facilitates professional development for  CCSD English Language Arts and Social Studies teachers inspired by culturally responsive teaching and restorative practices. 

Nathalie Bennett 

Bennett is a sixth-grade math teacher at Northwoods Middle School and has been an educator for 13 years, holding various positions in North and South Carolina.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Biology from  Wake Forest University. 

Professional memberships include Girl Scouts of the United States of America and  Girls Scouts of Eastern South Carolina (volunteer). 

Bennett’s participation in school activities is extensive. She served as a School  Improvement Council committee member while teaching at W.B. Goodwin  Elementary and Pinehurst Elementary Schools; she was a member of the PTO/PTA at all of the schools she taught in; was the Grade Chair of Goodwin, and is now in that role at Northwoods. Throughout her career, Bennett has served as a  Professional Development leader on various topics. 

Recognitions are numerous and include being named a “Tireless Teacher” at  Northwoods, a Personalized Learning Leader Cohort, Teacher of the Year nominee at Pinehurst, SC Science P.L.U.S. Institute participant, and a Wake Forest  University 2005 Hall Award Winner (presented for excellence in student teaching to one graduating elementary teacher each year). 

Chakadasovavan Or 

Or is a third-grade teacher at Julian Mitchell Elementary School. He received his degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Political Science from the College of Charleston. This is his third year teaching at Mitchell.

Or is enrolled in the Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy Masters program at the  College of Charleston. His area of interest in education is addressing poverty and environmental factors which disrupt a child’s full potential to receive a quality  education. Through this program, Or hopes to be able to find ways to support the  scholars at Mitchell and advocate for their needs. 

Or is a member of the South Carolina Education Association, a math Professional  Learning Community Leader, trained in Restorative Circles, and has been  recognized as the 2021 Avery Research Center Teacher of the Year, named a 2020  CCSD Rookie Teacher of the Year, and received the 2020 Guiding Light Excellence  Award. 

Ashley Pomposelli 

Pomposelli began teaching kindergarten in 2010. She spent eight years in Horry  County and has been teaching at James B. Edwards Elementary School since 2017.  She is a Coastal Carolina University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Early  Childhood Education. 

Pomposelli has served as the grade-level chairperson since 2020 and prior to that was a grade-level chairperson and lead mentor at her school in Horry County.  While there she was also named the 2015-2016 Forest Elementary School Teacher of the Year. 

Pomposelli has focused on staff development, leadership, and training future teachers throughout her career. She worked with various teams to develop new social studies and science curriculums, instructed teachers on the new curriculum through professional development, and attended professional development to become Kagan certified, which enabled her to use revolutionary instructional strategies to boost engagement and achievement. Additionally, Pomposelli has been a cooperating teacher for student teachers at Coastal Carolina University and  College of Charleston. 

Kory Roberts 

Roberts teaches fifth grade at Memminger Elementary School. Roberts, a third-year teacher, graduated from College of Charleston in 2019 with a Bachelor of  Science Degree in Elementary Education. Additionally, Roberts was part of the “Call  Me Mister” program and is a Boys With a Purpose Advocate. 

Roberts participated in CCSD’s Summer residency program before joining  Memminger’s staff. Roberts has been involved with several organizations whose  purpose is to lift up students of poverty in high-risk situations, including “Boys With  a Purpose.” He is frequently asked to serve on committees and has been helpful in  teacher recruitment efforts. Roberts has served as a teacher leader in Summer  Enrichment Camps. 

Roberts held a position on the CCSD Teacher Cabinet and is on the 2022 Planning  Committee Member for CCSD’s Summer Enrichment Program. 

For more information, contact the Division of Strategy and Communications at  (843) 937-6303. 

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