Photo caption: North Central Middle teacher Mary Barrett (l) and Pine Tree Hill Elementary teacher Dianne Farlett were recognized as Kershaw County Reading Teachers of the Year while Bethune Elementary Principal Estelle Benson was awarded the Reading Administrator of the Year honor. (Photo Credit: Melissa Smith)
Pine Tree Hill Elementary School first grade teacher Dianne Farlett and North Central Middle School 7th grade reading teacher Mary Barrett were named the 2017-18 Kershaw County Reading Teachers of the Year by the Kershaw County Reading Council last night. Bethune Elementary Principal Estelle Benson earned the award for Kershaw County Reading Administrator of the Year.
Each school in the district nominated a Reading Teacher of the Year who submitted an application and display board to be critiqued by external judges. The Administrator of the Year was nominated by someone at her school and selected based on how the administrator has inspired and implemented literacy in her school.
Farlett has been teaching for 30 years with the past five in the Kershaw County School District. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Georgia and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University. She says that she enjoys reading aloud Patty Lovell’s Molly Lou Melon to her students because it contains her favorite quote to “smile big and the world will smile right alongside you.”
Barrett has been teaching for two years, both of them at North Central Middle. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in middle level education from Columbia College. Young adult literature is her favorite type of fiction so she enjoys reading the same books as her 7th graders. The driving force behind her day-to-day choices in the classroom comes from Maya Angelou’s quote, “People will forget what you say or do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
As the principal of Bethune Elementary, Benson “guest teaches” in classes weekly as she leads Brain Buster activities. She set literacy as a top school priority and has used Fountas and Pinnell levels for all library and classroom books so families will be mindful of this tool when reading at home. Benson collaborates with the school’s Reading Interventionist Melissa Smith to produce weekly literacy videos that are shared on social media; the first one received over 1,000 views—more than ten times the number of Bethune students.
Congratulations to all KCSD school reading teachers of the year:
Baron DeKalb Elementary – BriAnna Alexander
Bethune Elementary – Libby Davis
Blaney Elementary – Amber Weaver
Camden Elementary – Jennifer Ellis
Camden High – Ashley Carmichael
Camden Middle – Debbie Blinkhorn
Doby’s Mill Elementary – Rebecca Reynolds
Jackson School – Jennifer Infinger
Lugoff Elementary – Amanda Hicks
Lugoff-Elgin High – Sharon Albert
Lugoff-Elgin Middle – Christy Peake
Midway Elementary – Teri Davis
Mt. Pisgah Elementary – Rebekah Branham
North Central High – Bambi Ferrer
North Central Middle – Mary Barrett
Pine Tree Hill Elementary – Dianne Farlett
Stover Middle – Kimberly Stokes
Wateree Elementary – Christie Turbyfill
The Kershaw County Reading Council is an affiliate of the South Carolina International Reading Association and the International Reading Association. Professional educators, parents, college students and adults interested in promoting literacy are eligible to join.