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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

ARCHIVES: Unsung Educator 2019-2020

November 20
Sarah Breland
Guidance Counselor
Wando High School

"Sarah has worked her entire educational career at Wando. She started 40+ years ago in the classroom as a Special Education Assistant and then Special Education teacher. Over the last 30+ years Ms. Breland has served as a School Counselor at Wando.

Sarah is dedicated to her students and the community she serves. Ms. Breland strives so that every student is College and Career Ready and is particularly passionate about minority and underrepresented students having equal access to postsecondary goals so they can reach their every potential." --colleague


November 13, 2020

Denice Shaw, Counselor
Clark Academy and Daniel Jenkins Academy

Denise Shaw is responsible for two schools where she works tirelessly to ensure that each school runs seamlessly. Covid-19 did not hinder her dedication in the least. It takes a lot of traits to be an effective counselor and even more to be a Guidance Director and she exemplifies them all.

We at Clark and DJA are so lucky to have her.

November 6, 2020

Carol Holmes, Special Education Assistant
Hunley Park Elementary School

Ms. Holmes is always thinking of the greater community. Each year she raises funds for the Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure. This year during unprecedented times she still brought cancer awareness to our Hunley Park Community. Students, teachers and staff were encouraged to wear pink. Also, when they entered our building they saw pink and red balloons in the shape of the ribbon we associate with the Cancer Society. Additionally, she is leading the charge in our collecting canned goods to give to families in need. She is the employee who is always smiling, leading us in our school spirit and greeting our teachers and staff with professionalism and grace. These examples show how she is always exposing our students to be thoughtful, lead with the heart and to remember the needs of others. She is our unsung hero. We are lucky to have her in our hive.

October 30, 2020

Barbara Harpe, Seventh Grade Math
Simmons - Pinckney Middle

Ms. Harpe is an outstanding team lead. During this "new" school year, Ms. Harpe has provided stability and guidance to both her students and her staff. Her experience as an educator and leader has been clearly visible as she is thorough and organized even in the midst of this unpredictable school year. Ms. Harpe always takes extra time out of her schedule to ensure students on the right track with both academics and behavior. Due to her organization and passion, she is able to set high standards that are clear and obtainable. Both students and staff are lucky to have a teacher like Ms. Harpe on their team.


October 23, 2020

Ebone Gordon, Parent Advocate
E.B. Ellington Elementary

Parent Advocate, Ebone Gordon, has and continues to go above and beyond to support families within and around the E.B. Ellington community. From working with the Lowcountry Food Bank to organize food distributions to assisting parents with housing, utilities, and other needs, Ms. Gordon performs her work with a cheerful disposition and without hesitation. Ms. Gordon has a special gift in that she knows almost every family that has children who attend Ellington. This gift has enabled Ms. Gordon to establish a positive and trusting relationship with our families. Ms. Ebone Gordon epitomizes the excellence for which CCSD is known and truly keeps students at the heart of our work!


October 16, 2020
Melanie Burbage
Lucy Beckham High School

Melanie is our auditorium specialist and coordinates all the audio/visual for any event held in our arts center.  But Melanie has become so much more for Beckham due to her dedication to make sure that anything technical or technology related in our building works flawlessly.  Opening a new building is a huge team effort and Melanie has stepped in time and time again to help everyone with everything from basic connectivity to setting up radios and phones.  She is a true team player with creative problem-solving skills and a never give up attitude. Her ability to assist teachers with both in-person and virtual tech issues has been essential to starting the school year successfully.  She is truly an unsung hero for our school community that we love and appreciate so much!  

October 9, 2020

Rita Gongora
C.E. Williams Middle School (North Campus)

Rita Gongora pours her heart into her work. It is evident in every interaction you have with her whether you are a colleague, a student or a parent. Rita has been a breath of fresh air and a cheerleader as we navigate this digital world of learning. Going above and beyond her role as a math teacher she provides training for our staff, fields technology questions all day, research new programs and websites to use and does it all with a smile on her face. As an example, Rita spent hours of her weekend to ensure that each Zoom link for the 130 students on her team worked! This made for a stress-free first virtual day for her students. I had the pleasure of listening to her teach students online. She was bubbling with enthusiasm and creating relationships with them while teaching math- not an easy feat! The care she takes to speak to each student and the time she puts in to ensure that everyone is getting attention is awe-inspiring.

Rita not only works tirelessly to make virtual learning a fun and engaging environment but she is an active part in our school culture. When we received more in-person students on the 21st, virtual schedules were rearranged. Rita took on an extra class because she knew her colleagues felt overwhelmed. This is Rita’s heart. She puts her students and her school first. Spending time after school to work through tech issues with a fellow teacher, looking up just the right image to use on a slide, or triple-checking a link to be sure it works, Rita is who you want to teach your child. She is always encouraging, always ready with a laugh, and always willing to help you find a solution. We cannot be prouder that she is a Wolverine!

October 2, 2020 

Carling Shalloo, Kindergarten Teacher
Laurel Hill Primary School

Carling Shalloo is a dedicated and creative Kindergarten Teacher at Laurel Hill Primary. This summer, Ms. Shalloo spent numerous hours developing a user-friendly class website, Canvas pages, and informational videos for her students and families. During the first few weeks of school, she shared her expertise with her entire team. She held workshops, individual sessions, and provided resources to help teachers navigate through the new learning platforms. Ms. Shalloo is an Unsung Educator for helping our youngest students, families, and co-workers begin this year with a seamless transition to virtual learning. She went above and beyond to show students are the heart of our work.

September 25, 2020

Casey Engleking
Pre-K North Charleston Elementary

"Mr. Engleking provides a positive classroom experience for his Pre-K students at NCES. He was worked hard to learn Spanish to assist his ELL students and goes above and beyond to provide cultural resources within the classroom. Not only a leader in the classroom, he is also a leader for our department through researching and sharing resources that support Phonemic Awareness. He has created teacher resources to support Heggerty Phonemic awareness instruction so students can be ready for Kindergarten."

September 18, 2020

Katherine Freligh, Media Specialist,
Mary Ford Early Learning & Family Center

"Mrs. Freligh has been tirelessly working to prepare all parts of Mary Ford for the new school year. From coming in over the summer to organize shipping containers of materials in our library to partnering with local volunteers to beautify our campus, Mrs. Freligh sees a need and immediately offers to help. Currently she is working above and beyond to help all of our families utilize their technology for distance learning, always ensuring that our students have whatever they need to learn. Mrs. Freligh's selfless work and dedication put the heartBEAT into "Students are the heart of our work!" --colleague