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KCRC honors Smith, Gainey, Gardner at annual celebration ceremony

November 22, 2019

2019 KCSD Reading Teacher of the Year Honorees Photo caption: KCSD Deputy Superintendent Tim Hopkins (left), Elementary Education Director Ginger Catoe (2nd from right) and Superintendent Shane Robbins (right) celebrate the selection of  Mt. Pisgah Elementary Principal Britt Gardner (2nd from the left) as Kershaw County Reading Administrator of the Year as well as Lugoff Elementary teacher Brantley Smith (3rd from the left) and North Central High teacher Nicole Gainey (3rd from the right) as Kershaw County Reading Teachers of the Year. Photo Credit: Melissa Smith. 

Lugoff Elementary School fourth grade teacher Brantley Smith and North Central High School English teacher Nicole Gainey were named the 2019-20 Kershaw County Reading Teachers of the Year by the Kershaw County Reading Council last night.  Mt. Pisgah Elementary Principal Britt Gardner earned the award for Kershaw County Reading Administrator of the Year.

Each school in the district nominated a Reading Teacher of the Year who submitted an application to be critiqued by external judges.  The Administrator of the Year was nominated by a person from his school and selected for how he has inspired and implemented literacy.

Smith has been teaching for 11 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s degree in education from Southern Wesleyan University. She says that “by creating a positive learning community where students create, share, discuss and give feedback, reading skills are grown each and every day.  I strive for my classroom to be student-led and teacher-facilitated. I ask my students to use their background knowledge to bring value to what they are reading as well as make connections to real-life scenarios.”

Gainey has been teaching for seven years and is an alumna of North Central High School. She earned an Associates in Social Services degree from Central Carolina Technical College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction degree from Western Governors University. She says, “My philosophy of literacy instruction is a one that seeks to inspire students to understand the importance of literacy and the advantages that come with being a competent, confident reader. I aim to give my students the skills to use that literacy to view life in a new, exciting way.”

Under Gardner's leadership, Mt. Pisgah Elementary has implemented the RAM Reading Challenge where students are encouraged to push the bar from the previous year and read more. He encourages reading in the cafeteria, on the bus and at home by providing students with personal lanyards at the beginning of the year to record reading wherever they are. As principal of Mt. Pisgah, Gardner has installed a Little Lending Library, revived a schoolwide community writing contest and dressed up like a hamster for the One School, One Book Reveal. He will be recognized in February at the Palmetto State Literacy Association Reading Conference and is a nominee for the state reading association's Administrator of the Year Award. 

Congratulations to all KCSD school reading teachers of the year:

Baron DeKalb Elementary – Tirishia Harris

Bethune Elementary – Julie Pigg

Blaney Elementary – Mary Rumsey

Camden Elementary – Haley Anderson

Camden High – Robbie Speaks

Camden Middle – Rosalyn Florence

Doby’s Mill Elementary – April Dixon

Jackson School – Nicole Hart

Lugoff Elementary – Brantley Smith

Lugoff-Elgin High – Wendy Mullis

Lugoff-Elgin Middle – Erica Peake

Midway Elementary – Denee Hayes

Mt. Pisgah Elementary – Amanda Williams

North Central High – Nicole Gainey

North Central Middle – Katherine Long

Pine Tree Hill Elementary – Ginger Chestnut

Stover Middle – Dana Sloan

Wateree Elementary – Christie Turbyfill

West Wateree Early Learning Academy – Sherri Johnson

The Kershaw County Reading Council is an affiliate of the South Carolina International Reading Association and the International Reading Association. Professional educators, parents, college students and adults interested in promoting literacy are eligible to join.

Mary Anne Byrd
(803) 432-8416