Beech Hill teacher named Dorchester 2 Teacher of the Year
This has been an excellent year for Beech Hill Elementary School.
The school was named one of Palmetto’s Finest in March, and Tuesday, fifth-grade teacher Kelley Wanish was named Dorchester District 2 Teacher of the Year.
“It’s such an honor to be your representative,” she said after she was named. “I thank you for being such an excellent peer group. It helps me grow each and every year and gives me the desire to stay in the classroom making differences every single day.”
Wanish, who said she was first inspired to be a teacher by her elementary teacher mother, has taught classes for gifted and talented students at Beech Hill since 2007 and also is Beech Hill’s Quiz Bowl team coach and sponsors the school’s chess club. She also was named teacher of the year at Oakbrook Elementary School in 1997.
“I hold dear a file of thank-you letters from students and parents that, along with the accompanying smiles of confidence, I count as the richest rewards possible in the field of education,” she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. She went on to talk about a fifth-grader she struggled with all year, who on the last day handed her a note that said, “Thanks for never giving up on me.”
An educator since 1993, she has taught first-through-fifth grades and was the first teacher in the district to earn National Board Certification in the area of literacy in 2004.
Beech Hill Principal Rene Harris called Wanish “as rare as a blue moon and as delicate as a Faberge egg.”
Other finalists for the honor were Stephanie Wells of Ashley Ridge High School, Blythe Edwards of Newington Elementary School, Tria Grant of Summerville Elementary School and Tina Handlos of Summerville High School.
In addition, four Honor Rookie Teachers of the Year were named. They are Peter Patrick Collins Jr. of Alston Middle School, Stephanie Swan of Flowertown Elementary, Jacquelyn Williams of Oakbrook Elementary and Rosalyn V. Cowart of River Oaks Middle School.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.