A half dozen of Lexington One's finest educators are in the running for "Teacher of the Year," district officials announced.
The district finalists: Janice H. Bennett, Leslie W. Bussey, Debbie G. Debenport, Charli T. Kinard, Anné M. Peterson, and John Paul Sellars.
The winner, which will be picked in April by a panel of judges who observe and interview each teacher, will vie for S.C. Teacher of the Year next year.
Here's some background on the finalists:
Janice Bennett teaches fourth grade at Pleasant Hill Elementary School. An educator for 30 years, Bennett holds a bachelor’s degree in early-childhood education from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, and a master’s degree in early-childhood education from the University of South Carolina.
Lake Murray Elementary School’s Leslie Bussey has taught for 12 years. Currently a second-grade teacher, she earned a bachelor’s degree in early-childhood and elementary education from Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Carolina-Aiken.
Debbie Debenport, an English teacher with 18 years of experience, teaches at Lexington High School. Debenport earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and marketing from Baylor University in Texas. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching/English from the University of South Carolina.
Charli Kinard, a Spanish partial-immersion teacher at Gilbert Primary, currently teaches in a partial-immersion five-year-old kindergarten classroom, and has worked as an educator for 13 years. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish, and her certification in early-childhood education, at the University of South Carolina.
Pleasant Hill Middle’s Anné Peterson is a special education teacher with six years of experience. Peterson graduated from Central Connecticut University with a Bachelor of Science degree. She went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from Anna Maria College in Massachusetts before earning a master’s degree in special education and elementary education from Lesley University, also in Massachusetts.
John Paul Sellars teaches fifth grade at Red Bank Elementary. An educator with five years of experience, Sellars holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in North Carolina.
The district will announce its new District Teacher of the Year and recognize all school-level Teachers of the Year on Thursday, April 19, at a celebration in the Lexington One Performing Arts Center at 2463 Augusta Highway.
The district's current Teacher of the Year -- Lisa Rose, a biology teacher at White Knoll High School -- will vie for this year's state honor in April.