Rock Hill Schools names 29 school-level teachers of the year for the 2019-2020 school year, one from each school and support program in the district. Each school honoree advances and is now in the running for the 2021 District Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in August. We congratulate each of our educators for their dedication and for being chosen to represent their school.

Elementary Schools

Sarah Aycock
Belleview Elementary School, Physical Education
“Being names Teacher of the Year is such an honor.  To me this symbolizes all the hard work that goes into teaching.  I share this honor with all my colleagues because teaching is truly a team effort.  I feel very humbled to be chosen to represent my school.”

Enrique Saavedra
Cherry Park Elementary School of Language Immersion, 4th Grade Immersion – Spanish
“… being recognized for doing what I love; the profession that I do every day with the same passion that I felt on my first day as a teacher, and being chosen by the people I work with every day to represent Cherry Park Elementary gives me great pride.”

Gwendolyn Trott
Ebenezer Avenue Elementary, Music
“My life has been forever changed by having the privilege of teaching music to the amazing Ebenezer kids! I love my students, my incredibly inspiring coworkers, and my school, and I am honored to represent Ebenezer Avenue this year.”

Sara Sawczuk
Ebinport Elementary School, School Librarian (PreK – 5)
“Being given the honor of TOY signifies to me that engaging and empowering students through reading and personalized learning is valuable work and I could not do this work without the support of my peers and the strong and caring relationships between faculty, staff, and students that are fundamental to the Ebinport Elementary community. #EbinportLiftsMe”

Dawn Beckler
Finley Road Elementary, First Grade Teacher
“Teaching for me means loving my students without limits, making a lasting difference, and challenging them to achieve their dreams. I am beyond humbled to receive this honor and consider it a privilege to continue to make a difference in the lives of the children I teach. “

Alicia Greene
Independence Elementary, Special Education/Multiple
“Being chosen as Teacher of the Year is an extremely humbling honor. I feel like I operate daily in what I was purposed to do.  When my colleagues acknowledged me in this manner, it certainly was confirmation that I am doing all I can to serve children well.”

Andy Morton
India Hook Elementary School, Fifth Grade
“Receiving Teacher of the Year lets me know that the style of teaching that I embody is being positively received by my colleagues and without their support and willingness to join me during these big projects I would not be where I am today as an educator.”

Conrad Hayes
Lesslie Elementary School, K-3rd Grade/Special Education
“It is immensely humbling to be recognized by peers who sacrifice themselves daily to provide what’s best for our students. As a PACE alternative licensure participant there is no greater honor. My goal is to continue lifting my students and families as we journey towards success together!”

Haley May
Mount Gallant Elementary, Third Grade
“The honor of being Teacher of the Year means that others in our building can see the love and respect that my students and I have for each other.  It means that my students are taking what we’ve learned together and using it to make our school a brighter place!”

Dr. Sandra Spicer
Mount Holly Elementary School, Fifth Grade
“I am very humbled and honored to be recognized as Teacher of Year by the amazing teachers and staff at Mount Holly. I thank everyone I work with for all they do to help me be the best I can be for my students.”

Dana Burrell
Northside Elementary School of the Arts            , 1st grade
“Being named Teacher of the Year is such a great honor.  To me this means I have been gifted with a wonderful opportunity to represent Northside Elementary!  I am so incredibly grateful for my family, at home & at school, who inspire me to learn and grow each day!”

Standrick Rhodes
Oakdale STEAM Elementary School, 3rd-5th Grades (Special Education)
“…that during my teaching career, I have grown and developed, and I’ve been provided endless opportunities to fine-tune and perfect my craft.  This honor further motivates me to continue teaching my students with all my heart and soul, and contribute to the field in an effective and relevant way.”

Kristina Thompson
Old Pointe Elementary School, Kindergarten
“That my amazing, inspirational, strong, and supportive colleagues support and value what I am doing each and every day at our school. I am fortunate to be surrounded daily by coworkers, administrators, coaches, students, and families that lift, inspire, and challenge me!”

Lisa Smith
Richmond Drive Elementary School, Kindergarten
“It is a privilege to represent the amazing and dedicated teachers and staff at Richmond Drive Elementary School. It is humbling to be chosen as the Teacher of the Year and means the world to me that my colleagues would honor me with this title.“

Martha Compton
Rosewood Elementary, K-5 ESOL
“Being named Teacher of the Year by my colleagues at Rosewood is such an honor. This recognition symbolizes their support for the inclusive nature of our school.  We work tirelessly together to ensure that my students’ language differences do not impede their learning. I am proud to work with this amazing team!”

Brandy A. Heyward
Sunset Park Center for Accelerated Studies, Kindergarten
“It is an honor to be named Teacher of the Year. Being a product of Rock Hill Schools, I’m grateful to give back to a community that has given exceedingly to me. As a Kindergarten teacher, each year it’s my privilege to accept with dedication and responsibility the charge of being my students’ first formal teacher.”

Mary Kathleen Culp
York Road Elementary School, 4th grade
“Being named Teacher of the Year is such an honor. To me this symbolizes what great role models I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from at York Road. I am very blessed to work with such tremendous teachers and students!


Middle Schools

Jenny Holle
Castle Heights Middle School, School Librarian – all grades and content
“A willingness to grow and learn alongside my students.  With diligence, patience, creativity and checking my ego at the door, I try to honor this vital profession.  Good teaching is a mindset with no “”off”” button.  It can be exhausting yet exhilarating.  I am proud to be a RHSD educator!”

Joe Brandt
Dutchman Creek, 7th grade Science
“Dutchman Creek Middle School has such an outstanding group of innovative teachers, highly effective staff and deeply engaged students; I’m happy just to be allowed in the building!  I look forward to representing everyone at the creek to the very high standard we have established. Go Gators!”

Julianne Haley
Rawlinson Road, 7th grade Social Studies
“Being chosen as teacher of the year by the faculty and staff of Rawlinson Road means they believe I demonstrate what a caring and hardworking teacher is. It is a sweet honor that they believe I should represent Raider Nation. I am humbled and excited.”

Patrick Hawthorne
Saluda Trail Middle School, 6-8 Unique Pathway 1 Special Education
“Being named Teacher of the Year is such an honor. To me this symbolizes a level of trust and faith that my colleagues believe that I am capable of representing our school.  I am extremely grateful to have been given this task to stand with elite educators of the district. “

Jeremy Sowells
Sullivan Middle School, 6th Grade, Resource/Special Education
“Being named Teacher of the Year is such an honor. To me, this symbolizes impactful servant leadership. Being educated in a school within SC’s Corridor of Shame, this honor represents overcoming obstacles, and the sense of hope, distinction, potential, achievement, advocacy, and love that I aspire to cultivate within students.”

High Schools

Mary Page
Rock Hill High School, 9-12/ ESOL
“Being named Teacher of the Year is such an honor. To me this symbolizes a win for all the underdogs because I have always been a teacher advocate for those students who did not have a voice or common language to empower them.”

Joshua Honea
Northwestern High School, 9-12, Family and Consumer Science
“Being named Teacher of the Year is such an honor.  To me this symbolizes the support of the faculty, staff, and administration that allows me to do my best work.  To receive this award is a testament to the supportive and family-like culture I have experienced at Northwestern High School.”

Barina Johnson
South Pointe High School, 9-12, Spanish/College & Career Readiness
“To me this symbolizes…the fulfillment of a dream and family legacy. Any excellence that anyone has seen in me is due to my faith, family, fellow educators and students who have inspired and encouraged me towards it. I pray that I will, in turn, be an inspiration to others. Thank you, Stallion Family!”


Support Programs

Tyrone Jenkins
Applied Technology Center (ATC), Culinary Arts Management
“I am ecstatic, humbled and honored to be voted ToY! This validates years of hard work and experience in the military as a Senior NCO instructing soldiers; and now using that training to educate students. My goal is to motivate students and ensure I’m providing the best example of compassion, leadership, and integrity.”


Jennifer Pinti
Central Child Development Center, Pre-K Special Education
“When parents entrust their child with me, I become as invested as they are in making a difference in their lives. Nothing compares to the joy I feel when my students reach a milestone or a goal and I am there to witness it. That’s the ultimate reward!”

David Norton
Flexible Learning Center, High School Science
“Being selected as TOY means that I have been singled out to be the face of an amazing group of individuals that make our school successful. This not only includes the certified staff, but also the aides, custodians, lunchroom workers, nurses, etc. I am honored and humbled to represent them.”