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L-EHS' Schnibben is 2012 Teacher of the Year
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Camden Elementary School Principal Ed Yount is KCSDs Principal of the Year. A teary-eyed Yount thanked former co-workers, his current faculty and staff, the KCSD, and his family. Yount was previously the vice-principal for Pine Tree Hill Elementary School. - photo by Miciah Bennett

A perspective of herself as a teenager in school and a passion for her career led to Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS) English teacher Nicole Schnibben to be named the Kershaw County School District’s (KCSD) 2012 Teacher of the Year. Schnibben received the accolade during Monday night’s KCSD Teacher of the Year banquet at Camden High School (CHS).

Tears had already fallen from Schnibben’s eyes earlier in the evening as she took the CHS stage while a video played of a student recognizing her as a KCSD Honor Roll Teacher of the Year. An announcer told the audience about how Schnibben’s interest in her own education.

“As a teenager, I made the grades necessary to get into a good college but was often a disinterested student within the high school classroom,” Schnibben said in a KCSD pamphlet handed out during the banquet. “And now that I am a teacher, not a day goes by where I do not think of my former teenage self.”

Schnibben received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina (USC), respectively. During college, Schnibben decided that she wanted to “inspire” students like her; now her goal as an educator is to “inspire lifelong learners.”

“I really love my job and my subject area, and I hope that my students are inspired by my passion,” she said. “I don’t really see myself doing anything else but teaching; I am excited everyday… I maintain a positive attitude everyday... no matter what.”

Schnibben said the support of her cohorts -- fellow faculty and staff -- gives her a sense of sanity and support. She said she is able to bounce ideas off them and is “really inspire(d)” by them on a daily basis.

This is Schnibben’s third year at L-EHS.

North Central Middle School’s (NCMS) David Pollock was honored as the 2012 KCSD first alternate Teacher of the Year. Pollock is a history teacher who attended the University of South Carolina and Coppin State University in Maryland.

The district also honored “real life heroes” at this year’s Teacher of the Year Gala. The annual event recognizes the Principal of Year, Outstanding First Year Teachers, each school’s teacher of the year, as well as the District’s teacher of the year.

In addition to Schnibben and Pollack, this year’s award winners include:

Principal of the Year: Ed Yount, Camden Elementary School (CES).

Outstanding First Year Teachers: Katie Beth Arms, Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC); Becca Johnson, Baron DeKalb Elementary School (BDK); Mandy Harris, Jackson School; and Lynley Jones-Blankenship of Leslie M. Stover Middle School (LSMS). Katie Beth Arms is the 2012 First Year Outstanding Teacher of the Year; Mandy Harris is first alternate.

Honor Roll Teachers: Brittany Knapko, (CES); Kari Meldrum, Lugoff-Elgin Middle School (L-EMS); David Pollock, NCMS; Nicole Schnibben, L-EHS; Randy Self, Pine Tree Hill Elementary School (PTHS).

Teachers of the Year: Jody Stevens, ATEC; Donna Farnum, BDK; LaToya Hough, Bethune Elementary School; Tammy Duszynski, Blaney Elementary School; Brittany Knapko, CES; Molly Moxley, CHS; Amy Murray, Camden Middle School; Jessica Zeller, Continuous Learning Center; Andrea Derrick, Doby’s Mill Elementary School; Betsy Burr, Jackson School; Amanda Hicks, Lugoff Elementary School; Nicole Shnibben, L-EHS; Kari Meldrum, L-EMS; Molly Lane, Midway Elementary School; Denise Catoe, Mt. Pisgah Elementary School; George Morrow, North Central High School (NCHS); David Pollock, NCMS; Randy Self, PTHS; Liz Canada, SEAGUL - L-EMS; Charles Ashmore, LSMS; Michelle Williams, Wateree Elementary School.

Mary Ann Blaskowitz Education Scholarship: Antuan Augustus, 18 -- the L-EHS student plans to major in Spanish and minor in education at the College of Charleston. Augustus is a teacher cadet active in Beta Club, the band and Junior Leadership. He won a bronze statue and $500 sponsored by the Kershaw County Teacher Forum.

Meredith Kirkland of CHS, Heather Keith of NCHS and Wendy Mullis of L-EHS were given a donation by the Kershaw County Teacher Forum for their contributions as teachers of the Teacher Cadet program.