Return to Headlines

Unsung Educator of the Week

The "Unsung Educator of the Week" is a weekly honor given to a CCSD educator. The winner is nominated by a peer because of their determination to go above and beyond for our students. The winner for the week is published each Friday in the CCSD All Staff newsletter.

CCSD employees may submit nominees via this link or by emailing a name, description, and photo to stephen_wyatt@charleston.k12.sc.us

ARCHIVES: Unsung Educator 2019-2020

May 13, 2022

Amy Robinson
Speech/Language Pathologist

Amy Robinson"As a Speech/Language Pathologist who worked throughout the district, Amy Robinson always put students first. She made creative lessons for them, knew their likes and dislikes, and purchased items out of her pocket for them time and time again. She spent countless days, nights, and weekends, thinking about and prepping materials for her students. With communication as her primary objective, she helped give those children a "voice".
 
Even when Amy wasn't feeling well, she always showed up for her students. When she was given the opportunity to work virtually due to her illness, she still made it a point to see students in person. She would say "they deserve it". Amy was also a caring co-worker. She could see when a colleague needed support, and would always show up with a coffee or to chat.
 
Amy retired at the end of February this year, and unfortunately, passed away on April 23, 2022. She devoted 23 years to CCSD and its students. She loved them so much."

April 22, 2022

Alison Johnson, Guidance Counselor
Mitchell Elementary School

Alison Johnson"Mrs. Johnson was the guidance counselor when I was a student at Mitchell. She helped in my darkest days as a child. Growing up, I never knew how much of an impression she made on my life until I actually saw myself in today’s children.

Ms. Johnson is the best thing that ever happened to me and she’s the best thing that is happening for those children." --nominated by a colleague

March 25, 2022

Chelsea Ostop
Chicora Elementary School

Chelsea Ostop"Ms. Ostop is the epitome of a professional.

She comes with a smile on her face and is a big team player, Ms. Ostop relates to the children in a way that makes them seek her out.

Many of the kids say she is their "safe person". It is apparent through her work that she has a huge heart and genuinely cares for the children she serves." --nominated by a colleague

 

March 18, 2022

Alexi Eckert
Drayton Hall Elementary

Alexi Eckert Drayton Hall Elementary"Ms. Eckert is an exemplary teacher. She is always energetic, positive, and upbeat with her students.
 
From the moment her students walk into the classroom each morning until the moment she hugs each and every one of them to say goodbye for the day, Ms. Eckert continually provides a loving learning environment.
 
She has a gift for reaching her students emotionally, academically, and connecting with their parents. " -- nominated by a colleague

March 11, 2022

Gail FarrGail Farr
Memminger Elementary - Teacher Assistant

" Ms. Farr is a responsible, dependable, firm, and caring person. She is very attentive to the needs and the success of the children at Memminger. She has forged long-standing relationships with their parents and earned their respect as an Educator. She knows each child at this school by name; siblings' names; their interest and their opportunities to shine.  
 
Her gregarious spirit is contagious. She happily engages in conversations with our parents as she dotes on their children. She provides me assistance every time I ask to help with parenting engagement. She distributes our invitations to our parents in the cold weather, humid heat, and rainy days at the walker's gate to our parents. She greets everyone as if they are family. Every staff person and administration calls on her to facilitate many tasks. She is never late or disappointing. Her strategies to work with our students are effective and thorough. In her 26 years as a Teachers' Assistant, she has been referred by many as a champion for children and education. It would be an honor to see Ms. Gail Farr receive this recognition. " --nominated by a colleague

March 4, 2022

Alexis McGee & Rose Castillo
Stall High School - English / ESOL
 

Unsung Educator"McGee and Castillo are two women who work hard to ensure that our ELL (ESOL) students are met where they are and they elevate their students to the highest level they possibly can. They have students who have been in the country for a year or two, a few months, and as I write this, students that just arrived a week or two ago. These exceptional women are teaching basic soft skills so students can go from surviving to thriving in high school.
 
Even though there are many languages that are spoken in this classroom every day, they reach their students with consideration. They are teaching their students English, and they are doing so by treating them with love, care, and respect for each one of their journeys. These women learn their students' stories and make sure each student is seen, something that is difficult to do in a large school. Even when you cannot speak one's language fluently, students see that these women care and that they are trying to do the right things for them. " --nominated by a colleague

February 25, 2022

Brenna Grant, 6th Grade ELA Teacher
CE Williams Middle -North

Brenna GrantMs. Grant goes out of her way every single day to not only support her students but also her fellow staff. She is constantly making extra copies for other teachers, grabbing coffee or leaving sweet notes for those who need a pick-me-up, applying for grants to better the school environment, and preparing full units to share with her department. To highlight a couple of her achievements, Grant received a grant this year in which every team was fortunate enough to get its own "recess equipment bag," containing basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, frisbees, etc. The kids are having a blast with their toys; previously, they had only a field and a run-down track to walk on. Another commendable thing that Ms. Grant took on this year is creating a rich, student-inquiry-based, project-based writing unit in which students are making their own autobiographies. Grant mapped out the entire unit, complete with schedule and hyperlinked materials and she shared it with all ELA teachers who had an interest in teaching it. Grant is the kind of teacher that every school wants to have (SHOULD HAVE!!!) on its team. She is the definition of "going above and beyond" and her passion completely shines through everything she does." --nominated by colleague

February 18, 2022

Kristen Lewis/ Instructional Coach
Morningside Middle
 
Kristen Lewis is a positive force both inside and outside her school. She has been dedicated to Morningside's students for years. She believes in the success of her students and her colleagues and goes the extra mile to move them forward.
 
This winter, Morningside saw amazing growth on MAP, and she worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make that happen. She is a dedicated and dependable hard worker that is making a difference in her school.
 
Not only does Kristen make a difference inside her school, but she is an integral part of our circle of Middle School Instructional coaches. She shares her successes and progress with us, and she is the first one to encourage us when we are discouraged and celebrate our schools when we are successful. She is an Unsung Hero in CCSD." --nominated by a colleague

February 10, 2022

Kim Smith, Behavioral Interventionist
Daniel Jenkins Academy

Kim Smith"I nominate Ms. Kim Smith as an Unsung Educator because she exudes absolute care, compassion, and concern for our students. Here at Daniel Jenkins Academy, we work with a unique population with very specific concerns and needs.

She is patient, thorough, transparent, a great listener, and a constant supporter. In addition, to be a great help to our students, she supports her colleagues as well in the same manner in which she supports our students!
We are very fortunate to have her as a part of our team. " -- nominated by a collegue

 

February 3, 2022

Albertha Palmer, Dayporter
Laurel Hill Primary School

Albertha Palmer, DayporterMs. Albertha, as she's known around the school, is a constant at Laurel Hill.

She's the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, and works hard to take care of all of the classrooms here at Laurel Hill.  She never says no to a request from a staff member, and she's always helping out wherever she is needed. Ms. Albertha always has a smile on her face and answers every walkie call with, "that's no problem."  

She doesn't often get the credit she deserves, but this school truly couldn't operate without her.  

Ms. Albertha has been a Loggerhead for many years, and we hope she stays forever!

January 21, 2022

Ridge WelchRidge Welch, Northwoods Middles School
8th Grade Social Studies

"Mr. Welch's great rapport with students is so evident. His 8th graders adore him and former students are always eager to reconnect with him.
He has a calm and down-to-earth demeanor that speaks to our students and quietly and confidently reassures them that they are valued and important to him--and society. It's a message that our students do not get enough.
His work beyond the classroom is impressive, too. He is a team player and doing much to improve our student government association. " --nominated by a colleague

January 14, 2022

Megan Arnold, Whitesides Elementary School
3rd Grade Teacher 

Megan arnold"This is Megan's first year teaching 3rd grade at Whitesides. She came to the team full of knowledge and ideas to enhance and organize our curriculums. Her organizational skills have greatly helped to create a detailed, interactive, and user-friendly long-range plan which has assisted the team with correlating standards to units and activities in an efficient and effective manner. Megan encourages units of curriculum to be organized in ways that make the most sense to our students, so they are fully immersed and engaged in topics for deeper understanding.

I believe what also makes a teacher an unsung hero is the support they give their team members. Especially after the last few years, supporting each other at work has never been more important. Without the support from colleagues and team members, keeping students at the heart of our work becomes difficult as we are trying to maintain our own health and self care. I lost my father two weeks ago and was out of school for two weeks. Megan wrote all my lesson plans, communicated daily with the various substitutes, followed up with my students daily, and graded all my papers. Megan understood the need for me to focus on family, but also the need to keep the students at the heart of our work by making sure that not only her own class, but my class as well, maintained their learning, expectations, and rigor." --nominated by a colleague


January 7, 2022

Tineaka Robinson, Morningside Middle
Sr. Administrative Assistant / Bookkeeper
 
Tineaka Robinson"Since the beginning of her career with CCSD, Ms. Robinson has worked tirelessly to find ways to support staff, students, and families. She is definitely part of “The village” when it comes to making sure all is well.

Every day, the doors of Morningside Middle School open with the sound of music from all genres and ethnicity. The students look forward to this along with the “good morning” greetings from Ms. Robinson and the Mighty Mustang staff. As the school's senior administrative assistant/bookkeeper, she engineers to prepare all parts of Morningside Middle School throughout the year. She works from July to July, literally. She quietly makes things happen.

There is nothing she would not do to support our school, students, and families. She is always ready with helpful hands and thoughts. Her job dictates being in the front office but she is a busy bee that can be found throughout the school assisting and team playing where needed. She takes command from the front office to the field in the back of the school. Our Mustang family has benefited greatly from her devoted CCSD Mustang spirit.." -- nominated by a colleague



December 17, 2021

Rebecca Alvarado, 9th grade English Teacher
St. John's High School

Alvarado"Ms. Alvarado teaches our freshmen, always a challenging bunch as they transition from middle school, and is dedicated to creating positive academic relationships with each and every scholar. To help them transition, Ms. Alvarado creates a weekly curriculum for her advisory classes that includes detailed plans for social-emotional learning, study skills, and even some fun Friday activities. She plans this in addition to her own classes and shares it school-wide for all teachers to use in their advisory classes.

After school, she runs a study session, available to all St. John's students, called Upgrade where she helps students with homework, supports students in keeping track of their grades and contacting their teachers, and spends time talking with them when they feel overwhelmed with the day. Her room is always open at lunch for students to stop in and get assistance, so there really isn't a single moment in the day where she isn't directly supporting our students.

She truly embodies the St. John's Islander spirit as she keeps students at the heart of her work." -- nominated by a colleague

December 10, 2021

Glenda Patierno - Special Education
North Charleston High School

Glenda PatiernoMs. Patierno is a great teacher and team player. She juggles not only her caseload but others as needed. She is an amazing teacher and a pleasure to work with. Yesterday, I was in my classroom at lunchtime and Ms. Patierno stopped in to talk to me. One of my assistants was also in the classroom to eat lunch. As Ms. Patierno and I were talking, my assistant ran out of our classroom kitchen and was choking. Ms. Patierno jumped into action and performed the Heimlich Maneuver saving my assistant's life. It was an anxiety-ridden experience yet Ms. Patierno handled it with a calm head. After things were ok and my assistant was fine, Ms. Patierno went on to her classroom to teach.



December 3, 2021

Erika Whitesides, Kindergarten
Springfield Elementary

Erika WhitesidesMs. Whitesides is new to our district this year. She has come into a new school, learned the new curriculum, and has run with it! Her positive energy radiates through the school. Watching her teach, you can see the passion that she has for ensuring all students succeed. She provides the right amount of rigor that her expectations stay high, while also meeting students where they are. Her children always seem happy as her classroom is such a welcoming place to be. She and her assistant are a dream team! We are so appreciative of Ms. Whitesides' hard work as she ensures her students are prepared for 1st grade!!

November 19, 2021

Michelle Saletan, Cafeteria Manager
Buist Academy


Michelle Saletan"Ms. Michelle is an amazing member of the Buist Academy Family. As the cafeteria manager, she takes an active role in not only the nutritional needs of our students but their educational experience, as well. The cafeteria always celebrates cultural heritage months with special feasts and lunches, they highlight the South Carolina harvests of the month with homemade delicious items that they share with students and staff, and they regularly participate in cross-curricular lessons with classroom teachers. In the past, the cafeteria has worked with multiple grade levels on lessons. Most recently, Ms. Michelle worked with 8th-grade students to help create their Barbadian-Charlestonian Potluck. She designed stations and worked with the students to enhance their learning in the classroom.

The cafeteria staff participates in all of the spirit days and students love their positive energy. Ms. Michelle and her staff are an irreplaceable part of our daily lives at Buist!"

 

November 12, 2021

Lindsay Beard, 7th and 8th Grade Math Teacher
Haut Gap Middle School

 
Lindsay Beard"Mrs. Beard does double duty by teaching two grades levels. She is a strong advocate for her students and works diligently to help all students excel at math. Her consistently cheerful personality makes her a favorite among students and staff.
 
Some of the efforts she has made over the years to engage students are data and donuts to review MAP scores, organizing math ambassadors that have 8th-grade students meet and tutor 7th graders, and routinely making math videos to help students understand concepts. Her dedication to pushing all students to succeed is unparalleled. Mrs. Beard is a tremendous asset to our school! "
-- nominated by a colleague
 
 

 

October 29, 2021

Gayla Moseley (Interventionist/Lead Teacher)
Buist Academy for Advanced Studies

Gayla Moseley"Over Ms. Moseley's career at Buist Academy, she has taught several different grade levels. Her final few years as a classroom teacher were in the 3rd grade. Ms. Mosely used data and had the drive to see all students achieve success. Her drive and passion for students led to a teacher leader role within the school. She has worked for almost three years as an interventionist. Her role and responsibilities far exceed her title and value to the school community.

Last year, COVID impacted the school's ability to facilitate connections and help build relationships among faculty, staff, and students. Ms. Moseley wanted to find a way to connect with many of our new students. She was informed that many students loved basketball and that she may want to join them at recess. Ms. Moseley took it a step further by creating a recess basketball league, The Buist Basketball Association (BBA). The BBA includes 7th and 8th-grade students. Students did not get to select their teams. This arrangement created an opportunity for students to work with and get to know new people.

October 22, 2021

Lauren King, Special Education
R.B. Stall High School

Lauren King"Ms. King has been helping the administration and other Special Education teachers at R.B. Stall HS to be sure the students are registered in the correct classes and that their schedules follow their IEP goals. Ms. King continuously shows leadership qualities by being a tremendous support for new and veteran teachers.

She mentors several teachers who are new to the district and goes the extra mile for everyone. She also supports students when they have difficulties. Our team is better thanks to her!"
--nominated by a colleague

 

October 15, 2021

Emily Willis, Greenhouse/Technology Teacher
James B. Edwards School of Global Leadership

Emily Willis"Mrs. Willis serves as the GreenTech teacher at JBE. She teaches dual curriculums to our 730 students in CD through 5th grade. In Technology, Mrs. Willis introduced our students to coding through developmentally appropriate robotics such as BeeBots, Ozobots, and Spheros. Mrs. Willis also teaches typing. She facilitates the horticulture curriculum to our students through the Lowcountry Sustainability Program and our school greenhouse.
Each school year, Mrs. Willis develops a "Green Theme" to guide our students through greenhouse objectives. This year's theme is based on the book A Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root.

Our students benefit tremendously from Mrs. Willis' dedication, enthusiasm, and sincerity. We don't know what we would do without her! --nominated by a colleague

 

October 8, 2021

Margaret Williams, Art Teacher
James Simons Montessori

Margaret Williams"Ms. Williams wears many hats at our school. First and foremost, she is our art teacher who creates engaging content for all grade levels PreK4-8th grade.

In addition to her primary role, Ms. Williams is also our middle school girls' volleyball coach. She devotes her time after school to support our middle school athletic program and acts as a mentor and guide to our adolescent girls. Going above and beyond her official titles, Ms. Williams is always willing the lend a helping hand. Whether she is creating art for our PBIS school initiative or our Accelerated Reader school initiative or any other needs that the students or teachers may have, Ms. Williams truly keeps the students at the heart of our work. Her presence has beautified our school in so many ways, and we are fortunate to have her here at James Simons." -- nominated by a colleague

October 1, 2021 

Katie Erickson, Instructional Coach
Angel Oak Elementary

Katie Erickson"When you just want to throw your hands up, Katie is there!

Katie Erickson is a wonderful example of being an integral part of the student's and teachers' success through Angel Oak's Integration programs.

Her positive attitude helps students and teachers navigate through difficult situations and she loves to celebrate successes as well.

Katie's work with the Art's Now Grant has been an easy task for her because she loves the connections, growth, and impact on our student's academic success."
-- nominated by a colleague

 

September 24, 2021

Katherine Gleaton, Reading Interventionist
Ladson Elementary

Katherine Gleaton"Mrs. Gleaton always shines with a positive attitude and her willingness to help others. She is a leader for the Ladson Intervention Team by keeping us on track and organized.
 
She absolutely loves teaching students to read, and it shows when you watch her instruction. It is evident that her love of reading is transferred to her students by the joy you see in their faces when they walk into her office.
 
Ladson is lucky to have someone with her knowledge, expertise, and passion!" -- nominated by a colleague

 

 

September 17, 2021

Julianna Ridenhour, 9th Grade teacher
Burke High School

Julianna Ridenhour"Ms. Ridenhour goes above and beyond in order to support students in her Earth Science classroom. She plans intentionally with her student's best interests in mind. She works with community partners and organizations in order to make sure her students see the real-world application of their work. Not only does she arrive early to work each day, but she also works with the volleyball team to develop our student-athletes into well-rounded young women within our school community.
She selflessly dedicates herself to her students and her passion for education is evident on a daily basis." --nominated by a colleague


September 10, 2021

Nik'Toshia Giles, Kindergarten Teacher
Meeting Street @ Burns

Nik'Toshia Giles"Ms. Giles exemplifies putting students at the heart of her work daily. She goes above and beyond for her kids by ensuring her learning environment is rigorous yet joyful. The students in her kindergarten class focus on reading and math as well as social-emotional skills. She grounds herself in her work by educating the whole child. Her class meditates daily and reflects on their actions and how their actions affect the class. She really puts all her time and energy into ensuring her students are ready not only for 1st grade but entering into our world as kind-hearted and caring people. " --nominated by a co-worker 

September 3, 2021 

Jana Robson, 2nd Grade
Laurel Hill Primary School

Jana RobsonThrough and through, Mrs. Robson embodies the district's motto; Students are the Heart of Our Work. Each day, with unparalleled dedication, encouragement, and kindness towards her students, she lives out her belief that all children can learn. Mrs. Robson also known as "the Canvas Queen" for second grade at Laurel Hill Primary, worked through her summer to make user-friendly Open Court lessons for the second-grade Canvas course. As a result, students who are quarantined now have access to professionally crafted phonics lessons. Both her students and co-workers agree that Mrs. Robson is a dedicated leader and teacher at the top of her game!