Lisa Trott didn't go to college to become a teacher.
She initially majored in journalism and ended up with a degree in retail management. After she married and had her first child, she chose a career that was better suited to her family priorities: teaching.
She fell in love with it and feels she was meant to be an educator. On Friday, she was named the Charleston County School District's Teacher of the Year.
The award was bestowed just before the start of the third inning at a Charleston RiverDogs game at Riley Park Friday night. Outside the stadium, Trott sat in disbelief behind the wheel of a new 2013 Volvo S-16. She kept thinking a phone call would come telling her the car and the recognition were a mistake.
“I could not be more blessed,” she said.
The prize will allow her to get out of a dinged-up Honda Odyssey minivan, she said.
Trott, 51, teaches fourth-grade at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary in West Ashley.
“The best school in Charleston County,” she said.
She will receive a one-year's lease on the new Volvo from Volvo of Charleston and $250 from Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union.
“Is this not the most beautiful car?” she said.
Her daughter, Madeline Trott, looked on. She is a rising senior at the University of South Carolina.
“I'm so proud of her,” she said.
Each school picks a teacher of the year, and those nominees submit an application packet to the school district. The superintendent's Teacher Roundtable, a representative group of teachers from across the district, chooses five finalists.
A panel of educators from outside the district picks a winner based on applications, recommendations, interviews and classroom observations.
Trott has taught in county schools for 19 years, and she's been at Ashley River Creative Arts since 2000. The National Board Certified-teacher said in her application that although she's proud of her certifications and awards, she's most proud of passing on students “who have learned to expect more out of themselves, to challenge themselves, who are committed to being the very best humans they can be.”
She helped start a “Helping Hands” club for students at the school who weren't chosen for arts-specific clubs, and they have done everything from being book buddies to taking charge of the school recycling program. She also has a morning exercise team that choreographs short routines that are shown on the morning news show to get every student up and moving.
Some of her students climbed into the back seat of the new Volvo and cheered her award.
“This is the best feeling,” she said.
The runner-up was Kirk Lindgren of School of the Arts. Other finalists for the district's top teaching honor were Angie Grimes of Morningside Middle; Paul Pallagi of Ladson Elementary; and Melissa Yarbrough of St. Andrews School of Math and Science.
Lisa Trott, teacher at Ashley River Creative Arts, is named Charleston County School District Teacher of the Year as fellow finalist Melissa Yarbourgh, St. Andrews, claps during the RiverDogs game Friday at Riley Park.×