S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year finalists announced
Martha Gadsden of Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner, Erin R. Gilreath of Dutch Fork High School in Irmo and Chrystal Hepler of West Ashley High School in Charleston are the 2012 finalists for the South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year, an annual distinction sponsored by Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, at the College of Charleston and The Citadel.
"For the eighth consecutive year we honor the finest K-12 teachers of Spanish in the Palmetto State through the admirable collaborative efforts of our two outstanding local institutions: the College of Charleston and The Citadel," said Mark P. Del Mastro, founding director. "With the invaluable support of both the Francis Marion Hotel and the S.C. Hispanic Leadership Council, we look forward to crowing the 2012 S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year in November at The Citadel campus, the birthplace of this statewide program."
The winner will be announced at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Greater Issues Room in Mark Clark Hall at The Citadel. All three finalists will receive a plaque recognizing their achievements. The 2012 S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year will receive a $500 cash award courtesy of the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council. Each finalist also will receive one night's complimentary lodging and breakfast the following morning at the Francis Marion Hotel in historic downtown Charleston.
This recognition program was founded in 2005 to honor K-12 teachers from across South Carolina for their work as Spanish educators. Past winners include Lynn Fulton-Archer of Richmond Drive Elementary School in 2011, Darlene S. Whitaker of Great Falls High School in 2010, Elizabeth Sanderson of Lakewood High School in 2009, Eileen Hilera Shields of Academic Magnet School in 2008, Renée C. Love of Gaffney High School in 2007, Celina P. Anthony of West Ashley High School in 2006, and Jennifer Bryant of Eastside High School (Greenville) in 2005.
This year's finalists were selected from nominees statewide for innovation in teaching, initiative in Spanish curriculum development and extracurricular activities related to teaching and professional development. Judges are Spanish professors from four South Carolina colleges and universities, a representative from the South Carolina Department of Education, the current student presidents of the College of Charleston's and The Citadel's chapters of Sigma Delta Pi and the past two South Carolina Spanish Teachers of the Year.
For more information about the South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year award, visit the website at www.scspanishteacheroftheyear.org. Nomination forms for the 2013 contest will be available at the website in February 2013.
South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year 2012 Finalists
Martha Gadsden of Berkeley High School, Moncks Corner
A teacher at Berkeley High School since 2008, Gadsden previously taught at Sangaree Middle (2007-2008) and Burke High School (2004-2007). A native of Colombia, South America, she has designed Berkeley High's International Baccalaureate Spanish curriculum for the school, serves as department chair of the world language department, organized the school's inaugural World Language Week, and is sponsor of the Spanish Club. Gadsden is a graduate of the National Pedagogical University of Bogota, Colombia, where she also earned her B.A. in Spanish.
Erin R. Gilreath of Dutch Fork High School, Irmo
A Spanish educator at Dutch Fork High since 2007, Gilreath also taught at West Ashley High School (2004-2007) and Fairfield Central High (2003-2004). As advisor of the Spanish Club, she has afforded students ample opportunities to emphasize the practical application of Spanish beyond the classroom. In addition, she has assisted the district World Language teachers with incorporating iPad technology, has represented her school and district at various national conferences, and she serves as a mentor to new faculty. Gilreath earned her B.A. in Spanish at Columbia College and her M.Ed. at the College of Charleston.
Chrystal Hepler of West Ashley High School, Charleston
A teacher at West Ashley High since 2008, Hepler is recognized by her peers for her enthusiasm and passion for teaching the Spanish language, which is in part reflected in her conscientious implementation of technology in the curriculum. Her passion goes beyond the classroom as demonstrated by her organization of various venues to educate and assist West Ashley students and their families with immigration issues. Hepler earned undergraduate degrees and her M.Ed. from the College of Charleston.