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Doby’s Mill Elementary teacher Lysa Manning named 2021 KCSD Teacher of the Year; Midway Elementary teacher Renata Inabinet to serve as first alternate

Lysa Manning

Doby’s Mill Elementary School (DMES) fifth grade teacher Lysa Manning was named 2021 Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Teacher of the Year at a celebration tonight while Midway Elementary School (MDWS) fourth grade teacher Renata Inabinet was chosen as first alternate.

Also honored during the evening’s celebration was Woolard Technology agriculture teacher Audrey Cutlip who was named as the Outstanding First Year Teacher and Midway Elementary School third grade teacher Grace Smith who was selected as the first alternate for the award. Adult Education Director Weyland Burns was recognized as the district’s Principal of the Year.

Renata InabinetAll 20 Kershaw County schools selected teachers of the year. Manning and Inabinet were two of five honor roll teachers selected as finalists for the district award. Other honor roll teachers are Lynley Jones-Blankenship, Continuous Learning Center; Nicole Gainey, North Central High School and Amy Hall, Wateree Elementary School.

Both Manning and Inabinet started their educational careers working as instructional assistants in elementary schools.

Audrey CutlipManning has worked at DMES since 2018 and has served as the fifth grade team leader this school year. She developed and facilitates the school’s I-Doby’s community service learning project that focuses on teaching students the importance of serving their school community, district personnel and local community outreach programs. The program has raised over $450 for Wreaths Across America, donated more than 100 pair of socks for a local shelter and collected money to purchase 43 bicycles for the Elgin Toy Round Up. The program will be featured at this summer’s South Carolina Association of School Administrators’ Innovative Ideas Institute.

Grace SmithShe has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education degree from Grand Canyon University and was selected as Round Top Elementary School’s Staff Person of the Year when she served as a special education teaching assistant before receiving her college degree.

“Building relationships with my students allows me to better understand their academic and social/emotional needs, which then transitions to them becoming more engaged in their learning and the demonstration of positive behavior,” Manning said. “These relationships built also provide me with the opportunity to create individualized instruction that can be the most meaningful for my students.”

Her principal Allison Hepfner said, “Lysa Manning has a pure teacher’s heart. She exudes love and compassion for her students and the profession in everything she does. I love how she sets her expectations high, but also helps create individual paths to those expectations so all of her students feel success.”

Inabinet began her teaching career in 2018 at Midway Elementary School. She was named as an Outstanding First Year Teacher Honor Roll finalist last school year and serves as Midway Elementary’s 4th grade team leader and as the school’s communications contact, webmaster and social media representative.

Burns has served in his position since 2011 and has over 35 years of experience in the educational field. He previously served as the Career Center Director and Adult Education Director for the Palmetto Unified School District. 

Weyland BurnsCutlip is the 13th KCSD educator to receive the district’s award to honor first year teachers. She hosted the First Annual Woolard Technology Center FFA shelter drive for the Kershaw County Humane Society where they collected and donated hundreds of pounds of dog and cat food along with treats, toys and beds.    

Smith’s principal Gail Stehle calls her “the pinnacle of magnificent teaching” and notes that her students had the highest gains of any Midway teacher from fall to winter MAP tests.

Other Outstanding First Year Teacher honor roll finalists  are Allysa Coleman from Camden Middle School and Breanna Sellers from North Central High School.

All of the 2021 local school teachers of the year were honored at the celebration. They are:

  • Baron DeKalb Elementary – Jaston Hawes
  • Bethune Elementary – Sandra Gregg
  • Blaney Elementary – Kayla Beckham
  • Camden Elementary – Casey Snodgrass
  • Camden High – Joey Hendrix
  • Camden Middle – Aaron Johnson
  • Continuous Learning Center (CLC) – Lynley Jones-Blankenship
  • Doby’s Mill Elementary – Lysa Manning
  • Jackson School – Taylor Cotton
  • Lugoff Elementary – Taylor Anderson
  • Lugoff-Elgin High – Katianne Rickwood
  • Lugoff-Elgin Middle – Liz Brown
  • Midway Elementary – Renata Inabinet
  • Mt. Pisgah Elementary – Blake Carrigan
  • North Central High – Nicole Gainey
  • North Central Middle – Michelle Reid
  • Pine Tree Hill Elementary – Paige Fourett
  • Stover Middle – Jordan Gurtcheff
  • Wateree Elementary – Amy Hall
  • Woolard Technology Center – LeKeith Bufford
Mary Anne Byrd