State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised Chapin High School teacher, Amy Carter, Monday with news that she has been selected as one of five finalists for the prestigious South Carolina Teacher of the Year award. Lexington-Richland Five representatives notified the public as of Monday afternoon.

“I am just thrilled and overwhelmed,” Carter said. “It is incredibly humbling to represent teachers in my profession. I was just teaching my students about powerful stories and this is just an amazing part of my story. Thank you so much for this honor!”

Superintendent Spearman and Lexington-Richland School District Five superintendent, Dr. Christina Melton, joined staff and students from Chapin High along with Carter’s family to make the surprise announcement inside her classroom.

“Amy's love and passion for education is evident the moment you walk into her classroom," Spearman said. "Her leadership and dedication for teaching inspires not only her students but also her peers."

Amy Carter is a National Board Certified English teacher, received a bachelor’s degree in English Education at the University of Georgia, and a masters degree in Educational Technology from the University of South Carolina.

“Mrs. Carter is a passionate educator who truly represents the best of what teaching is in South Carolina,” Melton said. "We are proud to have Mrs. Carter named a finalist and proud that she represents the many exceptional teachers we have in our district and throughout the state. Congratulations, Mrs. Carter!”

Carter's teaching philosophy stems from Marianne Williamson's urging to "Let your light shine so that others may be granted permission to do the same," according to district officials.

As one of five finalists, Amy will receive $10,000 and go on to the next stage of competition which involves an interview with a team of expert judges. The winner will be announced at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala on May 5 in Columbia.

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.

The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on the district, state, and national level. The Teacher of the Year Awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool to the educator profession, Lex-Rich Five officials said.

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