From left, Greenville County Schools Superintendent Burke Royster, State Superintendent Molly Spearman, Travelers Rest High Teacher Shelley Smith, and Traveler’s Rest High Principal Lou Lavely pose after Smith was named a finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year. Photo submitted.

Shelley Smith, teacher of the year for Greenville County Schools, has been named one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year award.

Smith, a social studies teacher at Travelers Rest High School, was surprised with the news at her school Wednesday by state Superintendent Molly Spearman.

“Shelley gives selflessly of her time and energy to ensure that every one of her students are prepared to be productive citizens and lifelong learners,” state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in a statement.

“She is a model educator and her work is inspiring our young people to follow in her footsteps.”

As a finalist, Smith will receive $10,000 and will go on to interview with a team of judges before the winner is announced May 8 at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala.

Along with being a spokesperson for the state’s teachers, the teacher of the year will receive a total of $25,000 and a new BMW to use for one year. Jeffrey Maxey, a special education resource teacher at Starr Elementary School in Anderson School District 3, was named the 2019 Teacher of the Year last year.

Smith was named the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year for Greenville County Schools in August. She’s taught at Travelers Rest High for the last six years since graduating from Clemson University.

“I’ve always wanted to teach, and now I’m getting to live that dream,” Smith said at the time.

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