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Citadel News Service
12 Nov 2009

Lakewood High educator named S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year

Elizabeth Sanderson of Lakewood High School in Sumter is 2009 South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year. The award is presented annually by The Citadel's chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

Sanderson was among three finalists honored today for their outstanding contributions to Spanish language education in the state’s K-12 schools.

From left to right: Elizabeth Sanderson, the South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year for 2009, is joined by finalists María C. Hood of Polo Road Elementary School in Columbia; Hollis R. Wilkes of Sara Collins Elementary School in Greenville; and Mark P. Del Mastro, founding director of S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year program at The Citadel.

Elizabeth was selected for her impressive and diverse teaching accomplishments in and outside of her school as well as for her outstanding role in disseminating the Hispanic language and culture in South Carolina,” said Mark P. Del Mastro, professor of Spanish and founder and director of the awards program.

On behalf of The Citadel's Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, Del Mastro presented Sanderson with $1,000 and a plaque. The runners up, María C. Hood of Polo Road Elementary School in Columbia and Hollis R. Wilkes of Sara Collins Elementary School in Greenville received plaques during the evening awards ceremony. All three finalists received a one-night stay for two courtesy of the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston.

Nominees statewide were judged on innovation in teaching, initiative in Spanish curriculum development, extra-curricular activities related to teaching and professional development.

Sanderson has taught at Lakewood High since 2002, and she currently serves as head of the school’s Spanish Department. Her related service activities in Spanish education include her role as Spanish Club co-advisor, past coordinator of the annual Hispanic Cultural Fair and the Service Learning Project at Pocalla Elementary School. She also is co-author of the district foreign language unit plans. Sanderson earned her B.A. in Spanish at Daemen College in Amherst, N.Y., and her M.Ed. at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

For more information about the South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year program, visit the web site or contact Del Mastro at or 843.953.5253. Nomination information for the 2010 contest will be available online in February.

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