Lexington-Richland School District Five has named finalists for its 2021-2022 District Teacher of the Year award. The finalists are: Leslie Jones, a Seven Oaks Elementary MEDIA Magnet School 3rd grade teacher; Jennifer Metts, an Oak Pointe Elementary school counselor; and Lori Powers, a Chapin Middle School digital integration specialist.

Jones has served at Seven Oaks Elementary MEDIA Magnet since 2018. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Carolina and has a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of South Carolina. “I believe students need opportunities to explore other cultures and lands around the world,” Jones said. “I believe technology (such as the Google Earth exploration) should be used to enhance quality lessons, not replace them. I believe great lessons integrate multiple subjects so students have many points of connection and opportunities to synthesize what they’ve learned. I know that effective teaching offers differentiated instruction of both scaffolded support for some students and enrichment for others. I believe that social/emotional learning is a critical component of an effective classroom environment and that grit is one of the most important skills that students can develop. Perseverance, resilience, and persistence can be taught and learned and will make students more successful not only throughout their year in my classroom, but for a lifetime.”

Metts has served at Oak Pointe Elementary School since 2018. She received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Clemson University and has a master’s degree in business administration and an education specialist degree in counselor education from the University of South Carolina. Metts was raised by a single parent who was a high school teacher. “My commitment to the well-being of students is epitomized each and every day,” Metts said. “I equip students with necessary tools and strategies to promote their emotional health while using my own personal experiences to connect with them. I teach students language to express their feelings, frustrations, and anxieties and serves as a constant role-model for both students and staff. I value the relationships established with students and leverage these relationships to support students’ personal development and well-being.”

Powers has worked at Chapin Middle School since 2003, but served as the digital integration specialist for the past 9 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in education from Walden University. “I firmly believe that people learn best when they are fully engaged and are having fun with the material,” Powers said. “Whether I was providing standards based centers in my honors math classes, real world construction experiences in my Math Matters classes, or supporting science standards with robots as a Digital Integration Specialist, student engagement has been and will be my focal point. My goal is to create a Bold School atmosphere. Bold School supports using the best instructional strategies and blending them with technology tools that can enhance learning experiences. To create this Bold School environment, I work diligently to be a lifelong learner and to help others learn about the best technology tools to incorporate into their classrooms.”

Teacher of the Year winners from each school include: Shelby Rickey (Adult Education), Jill Chapman (Academy For Success), Kelly Brautigam (Ballentine Elementary), Sherry Clapp (Center for Advanced Technical Studies), Megan Burton (Chapin Elementary), Caitlin Walker (Dutch Fork Elementary), Ashley Congdon (H. E. Corley Elementary), Joanna Neal (Harbison West Elementary), Tania Turner (Irmo Elementary), Sydney Quarles (Lake Murray Elementary), Lisa Farrell (Leaphart Elementary), Kasey Holt (Nursery Road Elementary), Jennifer Metts (Oak Pointe Elementary), Jessica Lindler (River Springs Elementary), Leslie Jones (Seven Oaks Elementary), Kaycee Sites (Chapin Intermediate), Dawn Oswalt (CrossRoads Intermediate), Lori Powers (Chapin Middle), Laura Atkinson (Dutch Fork Middle), LeGreta Deas (Irmo Middle), Scott Stogner (Chapin High), Jane Miller (Dutch Fork High), Dr. X’andria Sutton (Irmo High) and Karen Fallaw (Spring Hill High).

Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton said, “The talent and dedication of our teachers are second to none, and our finalists represent the best of the best. We want to say congratulations to our finalists and all the school teachers of the year across School District Five. We are so grateful for all they do to make our district great.”

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