Hilton Head Buick-GMC-Cadillac presented Gordon with a $5,000 cash prize

2019-20 District Teacher of the Year announced
Posted on 09/27/2019
Michelle Gordon being interviewed by local news

Friday, September 28, 2018

Bluffton High math teacher honored
as 2019-20 District Teacher of the Year

BEAUFORT – A math teacher with more than 15 years of classroom experience was named today as the Beaufort County’s 2019-2020 District Teacher of the Year.

The selection of Michelle Gordon, who teaches math at Bluffton High School, was announced during a celebration honoring teachers of the year from all of the district’s schools. 

“I am so awed by this, and so humbled,” Gordon said.  “All of these memories are rushing through my head right now – memories of the wonderful teachers I’ve had and memories of the wonderful students I’ve had.”

Bluffton High Principal Denise Donica said Gordon is respected not only by her students, but by her colleagues as well.

“She’s amazing,” Donica said.  “She’s so passionate about what she does, and everybody in our building loves her.”

Shane Gault, executive manager of Hilton Head Buick-GMC-Cadillac, presented Gordon with a $5,000 cash prize.

“It’s such an honor for our company to participate in recognizing some of Beaufort County’s most outstanding teachers – and to recognize one outstanding teacher in particular.” Gault said.  “It was a very, very special teacher who made a huge difference in my life as I learned to succeed despite a learning disability.  We can’t thank our teachers enough.”

The four other finalists for 2019-2020 District Teacher of the Year were Vicki Shockley of Lady’s Island Middle School, Keisha Miller of Joseph Shanklin Elementary School, Jill Exley of M.C. Riley Elementary School and Denise Bell of Hilton Head Island Elementary School.

Gordon said her teaching style varies each year based on student needs.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model in education,” she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “It is my responsibility to build rapport with students, have a keen sense of what makes a student grow, and maximize the short amount of time I have with them.”

Gordon says she is demanding, but in a nurturing way. “My students think I’m funny and sometimes a little corny,” she wrote, “but it captures their attention, and if I have their attention, then the door is open for the opportunity to learn. Goal accomplished!”

Gordon holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, summa cum laude, from South Carolina State University.  She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (SCCTM), and South Carolina Leader of Mathematics Education (SCLME).

Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that begins when school-level teachers of the year are selected in April.  Those wishing to compete for District Teacher of the Year submit detailed applications by the end of July. 

In the second step, a selection committee consisting of parents, former educators and community leaders from across Beaufort County reviews the applications and rates them using a numerical scoring system.  The five highest-scoring applicants are named as finalists. 

In the third step, the finalists are interviewed by a separate review committee again composed of judges from across the county. The judges scored candidates based on how well they respond to questions about current education issues.  After those interviews, the panel selects the District Teacher of the Year in September, and that person represents Beaufort County in the South Carolina State Teacher of the Year program. Finalists for the state program will be announced in February.

2019-20 Teachers of the Year listed by school:

Battery Creek High--Beth Ann Melton

Beaufort Elementary--Christene Johnson-Holmes

Beaufort High--Wendy Lacombe

Beaufort Middle--Rhonda McCauley

Beaufort/Jasper Academy for Career Excellence--Raquel Bryan

Bluffton Elementary--Rachel Gauvreau

Bluffton High--Michelle Gordon**

Bluffton Middle--Dr. Donna Floyd

Broad River Elementary--Arriel Young

Coosa Elementary--Cynthia Jeffrey

H. E. McCracken Middle--Emily Rietveld

Hilton Head ECC-- Kimberly Bambeck

Hilton Head High--Josh Wall

Hilton Head Elementary--Denise Bell**

Hilton Head Middle--DeAnna Campbell- Holmes

Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts --Lyn Raichle

Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary--Keisha Miller **

Lady’s Island Elementary--Kwame Thornton

Lady’s Island Middle-- Vicki Shockley**

May River High--Julie Collins

Michael C. Riley Elementary--Jill Exley**

Mossy Oaks Elementary--Amy Squires

Okatie Elementary--Amanda Hogshead

Port Royal Elementary-- Corey Hollis

Pritchardville Elementary--Deree Ward

Red Cedar Elementary-- Leanne Black

Right Choices--Nancy Wolff

River Ridge Academy--Kim Fields

Robert Smalls International Academy--Ashley Holland

St. Helena Elementary--  Sharonda Coaxum

Whale Branch Early College High--Freda McCanick          

Whale Branch Elementary-- Gerald Greene

Whale Branch Middle--Karen Tooman

Adult Ed-- Jannie Mae Williams

**District Teacher of the Year Finalists