York County region teachers honored for helping students succeed

Jenna Beard Smith has been named the Rock Hill school district Beginning Teacher of the Year, Elementary Level, for the 2017-2018 school year.
Jenna Beard Smith has been named the Rock Hill school district Beginning Teacher of the Year, Elementary Level, for the 2017-2018 school year. Rock Hill school district

Each month, The Herald will highlight teachers, school staff or students who have made a positive impact in York, Lancaster and Chester County schools. The honorees are chosen by the school districts.

School: Belleview Elementary School

Name: Jenna Beard Smith

Background: Smith has taught for two years in Rock Hill. She is a special education teacher at Belleview Elementary School.

Reason for honor: Smith has been named the Rock Hill school district Beginning Teacher of the Year, Elementary Level, for the 2017-2018 school year.

Quote: “Differentiating instruction for her students is challenge that she had met head on. Mrs. Smith is very knowledgeable about the abilities of her students and she conducts IEP meetings in a smooth and professional manner. She has the ability to speak with parents about the strengths and challenges of their student while providing very specific examples of the students’ academic and social abilities,” said Belleview Elementary Principal Kevin Hood. “She has provided her students with real world experiences and multiple curriculum-based field studies.”

School: Banks Trail Middle

Name: Bradley Wagner

Background: Wagner has been a teacher in the Fort Mill school district for three years. He began as a seventh grade social studies teacher and later moved into his current role as the teacher of industrial technology and engineering. Wagner is the current Banks Trail Middle School Teacher of the Year, Beta Club sponsor and a STEAM teacher leader at the school. He was also selected as a FMSD Honor Roll Teacher of the Year.

Reason for honor: “Mr. Wagner is a passionate teacher who uses his love for teaching to create meaningful opportunities for his students. He challenges students to think critically as well as to learn from mistakes,” said Banks Trail principal Michael Pratt. “The passion that Mr. Wagner demonstrates is not only for his classroom, but for the entire school. If the school is open, Mr. Wagner is there helping whoever needs help, to make sure that Banks Trail is a great place.”

Quote: “I love building relationships with the students and getting to know who they are as people,” Wagner said. “I love working with them and helping them to discover the answers they are looking for. Teaching allows me to give back and to have a positive impact.”

School: Harold C. Johnson Elementary School

Name: Clair Britt

Background: Britt has served as a kindergarten teacher in the York school district for fifteen years. A graduate of Winthrop University, Britt is a national board certified teacher.

Reason for honor: Britt serves as a member of Harold C. Johnson’s Building Leadership Team and School Improvement Council. She is a long-time mentor teacher for teacher candidates/interns at Winthrop University. Britt leads her kindergarten team to try innovative strategies in the classroom, and she is a dedicated volunteer in her community and church.

Quote: “Ms. Britt is the epitome of professionalism in the teaching profession. She is respected throughout our district, the Winthrop community and the entire York County area as an innovative teacher leader,” said Crystal Sandifer, principal of Harold C. Johnson.

School: Clover High School

Name: Lindsay Miller

Background: Miller teaches biology.

Reason for honor: Miller was voted Clover High School’s Employee of the Month.

Quote: “Lindsay more than stepped up these past four weeks to make sure that a substitute had everything she needed and that the students stayed on pace since Biology is an EOC course while the teacher was out for surgery,” said Patti Myers, Clover’s current district teacher of the year. “She willingly invited students to her room for tutoring during flex time, helped maintain the Canvas course page, and PowerSchool grades. Her help made the weeks pass smoothly and the kept the students on pace. These actions are why I nominate Lindsay as the CHS staff member of the month.”

School: Lancaster High School

Name: Richard Gay

Background: Gay has taught for 43 years, 40 of those in Lancaster, and is Lancaster High’s Junior Civitan adviser.

Reason for honor: The Junior Civitans earned the 2018 International Club of the Year and State Club of the year.

Quote: “Richard certainly represents the difference lighting fires in students can make in their lives and in the future of our community, said Lancaster High Principal Rosalyn Mood. “He’s the perfect example of a teacher who pushes students to do more, to take risks to learn by doing. His passion is evident in his English classes, where that passion helps students fall in love with language and writing and literature.”

School: Lewisville Elementary School

Name: April Meacham

Background: Meacham teaches second grade at the elementary school.

Reason for honor: Meacham is the Chester County School District’s Rock Star Teacher of the Month.

Quote: “My child has struggled with his behavior and learning due to his disorder. Mrs. Meacham has taken the time to understand him and learn my son,” parent Casey Clark said in a prepared statement. “She makes me feel confident that my little boy will be successful at school and successful at life despite the hand he has been dealt with in life. Together, she and I can make him a successful citizen.”

Information provided by the school districts.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082; @amanda_d_harris
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