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Citadel News Service
23 Aug 2007

Tau Iota names top picks for S.C. Spanish Teacher of the Year

The Citadel's Tau Iota Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, is proud to announce the three finalists for its third annual South Carolina Spanish Teacher of the Year award. They are Brenda Barron of Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, Maelda Chalk of Hilton Preparatory School and Renee Love of Gaffney High School.

This program of recognition was created in 2005 to honor K-12 teachers from across South Carolina for their work as Spanish educators. Past winners include 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 on innovation in teaching, initiative in Spanish curriculum development and extracurricular activities related to teaching, and professional development. Judges are Spanish professors from six different colleges and universities across the state along with a representative from the South Carolina Department of Education, the current student president of The Citadel's chapter of Sigma Delta Pi and the past two South Carolina Spanish Teachers of the Year.

The finalists will be honored and the winner will be announced at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at The Citadel in Charleston. Each finalist will receive a plaque recognizing their achievements. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash award courtesy of Harvey, Casterline & Vallini law firm and Stewart Title. Each will receive one night’s complimentary lodging at the Francis Marion Hotel in historic downtown Charleston.

More information about the awards program is available at Nomination forms for the 2008 contest will be available at the website in January 2008. For questions, contact founder and director Dr. Mark P. Del Mastro at

Brenda Barron of Socastee High School
Since 1992, Barron has taught Spanish at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach. She has served on Horry County's Foreign Language Standards Committee and has earned the reputation as an innovative and passionate language teacher who has influenced countless colleagues in her ongoing role as teacher-mentor. A graduate of the University of Georgia, she completed graduate work at the University of Segovia in Spain, the University of Georgia and Coastal Carolina.

Maelda Chalk of Hilton Preparatory School
Chalk has been teaching Spanish at Hilton Head Preparatory School since 1999 while also serving as the Foreign Language chairperson. She has been active in her community with such programs as JAN-PLAN, a one-month, adult evening course, and co-director of Brain Gain during the summers. She is also a four-year recipient of the American Cancer Society School Spirit Award and an AP Spanish Reader for the College Board. Chalk is a graduate of High Point University.

Renee Love of Gaffney High School
Love has taught Spanish at Gaffney High School since 1985 and has served as the foreign language department head since 1991. She collaborated in the writing of a $200,000 technology grant for the Gaffney High School foreign language lab, and she has served as sponsor of the Spanish Club and directed student travel to Spain. A graduate of Limestone College, Love has completed graduate coursework at Converse, Winthrop and USC-Spartanburg.

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