ROCK HILL – Susan Snyder, a science teacher at Northwestern High School entering her 16th year in the classroom, was named Rock Hill Schools’ 2017-2018 District Teacher of the Year as part Friday’s back to school rally hosted by South Pointe High School.

Snyder was selected as the district’s top teacher by a panel of community judges who were thoroughly impressed at the high caliber of teachers in the district. Also recognized at the rally were honor roll teachers Susan Dixon and Melisa Smith. Dixon teaches english as a second language at Richmond Drive Elementary and Smith is a media specialist at Mount Gallant Elementary.

As the district teacher of the year, Snyder receives a 2017 Honda CR-V LX for use during the upcoming school year courtesy of Honda Cars of Rock Hill, $1,000 from the district, and a $500 classroom grant from the Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation. Snyder will serve as co-chair of the Rock Hill Schools teacher forum and is now in the running to be selected as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year. Dixon and Smith each received $500 from the district.

Snyder teaching

The three teachers focus on reaching all students and creating an engaging environment where learning thrives. 

“When kids feel appreciated or when kids are noticed they feel…like they can do something, like they are somebody, so validating them is so important,” said Snyder. 

Snyder takes pride in making science fun for her high school students and creating lessons that spark interest. Snyder, who began her career at NHS 15 years ago, enjoys being active outside the classroom saying,     

     “I have created a positive rapport with parents, fellow teachers, and students by serving as teacher, mentor, supervisor, coach, parent, church volunteer, and environmental liaison.” 

The rally also featured additional recognitions and presentations. 

•Each year, the district recognizes a beginning teacher of the year at the elementary and secondary levels who finished their first year in the teaching profession in the prior school year. The elementary winner is Sally Berger, a guidance counselor at Finley Road Elementary and the secondary winner is Michelle Perez, an English teacher at Rock Hill High School.  

michelle perez Sally Berger

(Michelle Perez left, Sally Berger right)

•The Rock Hill Schools Education Foundation, represented by president Alice Davis, announced 25 grant awards totaling $20,400. The foundation promotes a collaborative alliance between the community and Rock Hill Schools to provide funding and other resources to support educational initiatives. For more information about Rock Hill School District Foundation, please visit

•All school teachers of the year were recognized and presented a plaque.