‘Best feeling ever’: Rock Hill school district teacher of year values relationships

Even when they are grown, former students still visit Kristi McGuirt at Ebinport Elementary School.

“I love the relationships that I’ve developed over the years,” McGuirt said. “My colleagues, they’re my best friends. I’ve met so many families that have been wonderful to me and the kids are awesome.”

McGuirt, who teaches second grade, was named the 2019 Rock Hill school district teacher of the year. McGuirt has taught for 27 years, 19 at Ebinport.

“I think it’s the most awesome thing ever,” she said. “I believe that it could have been any of the colleagues that I work with here at Ebinport right now.”

McGuirt grew up in Rock Hill and attended Ebinport for first through sixth grade.

“Ebinport is an awesome school with awesome teachers,” she said. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to represent Ebinport and our district.”

McGuirt’s sisters, Rhonda Cranford and Sheri Bruce, also work at Ebinport. Cranford is the school nurse and Bruce teaches first grade.

“They’re my best friends,” McGuirt said. “Even though I don’t see them everyday ... it’s awesome to know my sisters are here.”

McGuirt said the Rock Hill school district has largely influenced the person and educator she has become.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Rock Hill Schools,” she said. “I had awesome teachers here at Ebinport. I wanted to be just like them. A big part of who I am is owed to the Rock Hill school district.”

McGuirt earned her bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a master’s from Winthrop University with a concentration in the teaching of reading.

McGuirt said she has taught students who couldn’t read.

“Seeing them walk away and have a passion for reading, and reading well, and I know that’s going to aid them in their life later on, that’s the best feeling ever,” she said.

McGuirt said she enjoys supporting students.

“Just knowing I’ve impacted the students in a positive way, there is no other feeling like that,” McGuirt said. “There are also things kids go through and sometimes giving them that extra bit of support and encouraging them through a tough time, they remember those things.”

McGuirt said she is looking forward to meeting other teachers of the year and learning new skills.

“I don’t think there is a better profession out there,” she said. “It’s so rewarding intrinsically, inside, to see these kids take off and grow and know that you are making a positive contribution to society.”

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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