Greenville County Schools Virtual Program teacher Angelica Childes received a shock on Wednesday, March 24, when South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, Greenville County Schools Superintendent Burke Royster and other officials surprised her with news that she had been selected as one of the five finalists to be South Carolina’s next Teacher of the Year.
Childes teaches fourth grade in the virtual program. She previously taught third grade at Summit Drive Elementary School.
The 2020 GCS teacher of the year graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree from Lamar University in Educational Administration.
“Mrs. Childes enjoys sharing with her students that her first year as a teacher was a disaster, but instead of becoming discouraged, it caused her to strengthen her commitment and effort focusing on her goal to one day be Teacher of the Year. That focus and resolve are hallmarks of her dedication to students and the profession,” Royster said in a release.
Before becoming a teacher, Childes volunteered in Uganda. She also served with Teach for America in New Orleans, Louisiana. While with the program, she developed an initiative connecting classrooms there with classrooms internationally.
Aside from teaching, Childes is a curriculum writer, cooperating teacher for pre-service teachers, mentor for new teachers, peer evaluator for second-year teachers and leads professional development sessions, according to the Department of Education.
“Angelica is a determined educator who strives to ensure her students are successful no matter their circumstances,” said Spearman. “Her commitment to meeting the individual needs of her students inspires her peers and positions her as an education leader across our state.”
The five finalists of Teacher of the Year receive $10,000. The next step in the competition includes an interview with judges. The winner will be announced at a gala on May 5 in Columbia. That person will receive $25,000 along with a new BMW. The Teacher of the Year serves as an ambassador for the department: mentoring other teachers, speaking at events and acting as a spokesperson.