Aynor Teacher Named Finalist for State Teacher of the Year
On Friday, March 17th, SC Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver came to Aynor High. Her visit was to announce that Reneé Atkinson has been named one of the five finalists for the state’s Teacher of the Year program. Mrs. Atkinson is an Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) English teacher at Aynor High School and the current HCS teacher of the year.
Originally from Mullins, Mrs. Atkinson earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Clemson University, a Master of Secondary English degree from Francis Marion University, and an Education Specialist degree from Liberty University. She is also a National Board Certified teacher. This is her 21st year in education and her 17th in HCS.
“We are honored to celebrate Reneé as a finalist for this year's award," said Superintendent Weaver. "Her heart truly lives in the classroom where she directly impacts the lives of her students every day. Reneé is a blessing to Aynor High School and the entire school district of Horry County."
"Horry County Schools is proud of Mrs. Atkinson and congratulates her for being named one of the five finalists for South Carolina Teacher of the Year,” said Dr. Rick Maxey, Horry County Schools Superintendent. “Mrs. Atkinson’s students applaud her for making learning exciting and, most of all, for letting them know that she cares about each one of them and their successes in the classroom. We are so glad that Mrs. Atkinson is a part of our Horry County Schools family."
While she has spent time in various roles over the past two decades, Mrs. Atkinson says she’s happiest in the classroom because that’s where she can make the biggest difference for children. She says that being a good teacher is a collaborative effort and that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the community of educators around her supporting and teaching her.
As one of five finalists, Mrs. Atkinson will receive $10,000 and go on to the next stage of the competition, which involves an interview with a team of expert judges. The winner will be announced at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Celebration on April 26 in Columbia.
The winner receives $25,000 and is provided with a brand-new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador. They will provide mentoring, attend speaking engagements, work with Teacher Cadets and Teaching Fellows, lead the State Teacher Forum, and serve as the state spokesperson for over 55,000 educators.
The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on the district, state, and national levels. The Teacher of the Year Awards assist in retention efforts and serve as a powerful recruitment tool for the educator profession.
You can learn more about Mrs. Atkinson by watching the first portion of this video about the 2023 HCS Teacher of the Year finalists, and you can watch her acceptance speech from when she was named HCS Teacher of the Year here.