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Sarah Gams (center), SC Teacher of the Year - Image from Lexington-Richland School District Five

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, Lexington-Richland School District Five Superintendent, Dr. Christina Melton, and others surprised Sarah Gams at her home Thursday with a very special award. Gams, an English teacher at Spring Hill High School, was selected as the 2021 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

“The role of South Carolina Teacher of the Year during the upcoming school year will require tremendous leadership," said Spearman. “Sarah has shown throughout her career her ability to rise to the occasion and meet the needs of students wherever they are. She is most deserving of this honor and the attributes she possesses will be invaluable assets as she helps to lead our state and the teaching profession forward.”

Gams grew up in a home where teaching and learning surrounded her. Both of her parents were educators, so having school as a second home paved the way to her teaching career.

She majored in English at the Honors College of the University of South Carolina and earned her Master of Arts in teaching. She studied abroad the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she found a passion for travel and the global classroom. Gams found that multicultural experiences create global citizens, which led her to partner with Education First (EF) Tours in 2006. Through this organization, she has led nine student tours to Europe and other countries.

“We are beyond excited for Mrs. Gams and the entire School District Five community," said Melton. "At a time when education has been challenged and changed, Mrs. Gams represents the best of what teaching is in South Carolina. In Mrs. Gams, her students and peers have a champion and advocate who leads with passion and by example. Throughout her career, she has shown that the impact educators have on their students go beyond the school walls, and I know she will be an excellent ambassador for our field of public education. Congratulations, Mrs. Gams.”

As a part of being named the state Teacher of the Year, Gams received $25,000 and was provided with a new BMW vehicle to use while serving for one year as a state ambassador. She will travel South Carolina providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for more than 50,000 educators.

The 2021 state Teacher of the Year celebration gala has been postponed and is scheduled to take place later in the year.

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