State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised Mamie P. Whitesides Elementary School teacher, Stephanie Haecherl, at her school today with news that she has been selected as one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year award. Haecherl is a second grade teacher at Mamie P. Whitesides Elementary in Charleston County School District.

As one of five finalists, Haecherl will receive $10,000 and go on to the next stage of competition which involves an in-person interview with a team of expert judges. The South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala will be held on May 8 in Columbia where the overall winner will be announced.

The winner receives a total of $25,000 and is provided with a brand new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 50,000 educators.