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Citadel News Service
13 Nov 2008

Charleston teacher named Spanish Teacher of the Year

Eileen Hilera Shields of Academic Magnet High School in Charleston today was named South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year, an annual award presented by The Citadel’s Tau Iota Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

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Pictured left to right are S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year finalist Jessica Martinez Johnson of Lone Oak Elementary School in Spartanburg, S.C., Mark P. Del Mastro, founder of the awards program; Eileen Hilera Shields, the 2008 S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year; and Gloria Maria Ham of Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C..

Shields will receive a $1000 cash award courtesy of Citadel Investments, LLC and Stewart Title. Finalists Gloria Maria Ham of Spring Valley High School in Columbia and Jessica Martinez Johnson of Lone Oak Elementary in Spartanburg received one night’s complimentary lodging at the Francis Marion Hotel in historic downtown Charleston.

“Eileen Shields' outstanding work as a Spanish teacher, academic leader and collaborator in countywide Spanish curriculum development, among other impressive professional achievements, made her a great choice for this year’s award,” said Mark P. Del Mastro, founder of the recognition program and head of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. “A finalist in 2006, her ongoing accomplishments are a credit to the teaching profession, her students and her school district.”

The South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year program was created in 2005 to honor K-12 teachers from across South Carolina for their work as Spanish educators. Nominees were evaluated on innovation in teaching, initiative in Spanish curriculum development and extracurricular activities related to teaching and professional development. Judges represent Spanish professors at state colleges and universities, the South Carolina Department of Education, The Citadel's chapter of Sigma Delta Pi and previous award recipients.

Shields has taught Spanish at Academic Magnet High School since 1998 and served as the department chairman from 1999 to 2006. She is also the school's sponsor for the National Spanish Honor Society, and during the 2007-2008 school year she collaborated in the development of a high school Spanish curriculum for Charleston County. An author of a book of Spanish short stories published in 2007, Shields is a graduate of the College of Charleston, and she earned her M.Ed. from The Citadel.

For more information about the South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year award visit the web site at www.scspanishteacheroftheyear.org. Nomination forms for the 2009 contest will be available at the website in February 2009.

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