UpClose with HCS
Meet Brenda Kidd; SC Bar Association’s Law-Related Teacher of the Year and ELA Teacher at North Myrtle Beach Middle School
Brenda Kidd of North Myrtle Beach Middle School earned statewide honors when the South Carolina Bar Association named her the Teacher of the Year for Law-Related Education.
“I was blown away,” said Kidd. “I was so humbled I was chosen.”
For 14 years, Kidd has served as the teacher-coach and sponsor for Mock Trail at her school and has watched hundreds of students take on the roles of attorneys, clients, plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, researchers, and analysists. Her first experience seeing Mock Trial in action was when her son was on the school team at North Myrtle Beach High. Kidd was a supportive parent, but she wanted “in” on the competition.
The next year, Kidd sponsored and coached North Myrtle Beach Middle’s first Mock Trial team, which quickly established itself as a fierce contender, finishing as the runner-up for the State Championship for three consecutive years.
“This is the best academically-challenging experience, bar none”, said Kidd. “It has every experience you need to be a successful adult,” she added, citing how participating helps develop abilities to work as a team and think on your feet.
“You see how students grow in personal confidence, their understanding of the judicial system, and their understanding of legal terminology,” she added.
In Kidd’s class, it is easy to see the influence of Mock Trial experiences in daily instruction. The importance of personal presentation and constructive debate are woven into an exercise of evaluating writing samples in preparation for upcoming state assessments.
Thirty students in Kidd’s accelerated English language arts class have desks pushed together in groups of five. Armed with rubrics in hand, these 8th graders review anonymous writing samples submitted the previous year for SC Ready.
The adolescent evaluators read and rate the writing samples, in like fashion as adult evaluators. After a period of time, Kidd opens discussion and asks students to share their ratings before revealing the scores actually assigned. Time and time again, the North Myrtle Beach Middle students assigned lower scores than the adults, indicating they had higher expectations for the work samples.
This flip-flop of roles between test taker and test evaluator gives Kidd’s students an enhanced perspective of the elements of an exemplary writing sample, yet they also sharpen other skills as they discuss, defend and debate a work’s rating. Without appearing obvious, Kidd watches the exercise unfold. Presentation and public speaking skills aren’t measured on the standardized test, but are important skills in the workplace.
In her 35-year career, Kidd has taught at two schools, first at Myrtle Beach Middle School for 11 years, then at North Myrtle Beach Middle School, to date. In a career spanning more than three decades, Kidd has grown deep roots into the schools’ communities, teaching series of siblings and sometimes the children of former students. She was recruited to HCS right after graduating from Concord University, in Athens, West Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She is originally from St. Alban’s, West Virginia, a small town of approximately 12,000 near the confluence of the Kanawha and Coal rivers.
Kidd and her husband, Brent, have two adult children. She is an avid exerciser, a decorative painter, and admits she “loves to clean” to de-stress. On the top of her bucket list is a tropical vacation with her husband. The experienced educator admits that her bucket list can wait, because she still has so much passion and energy to offer, either as a teacher for middle school students or as a supportive coach for new teachers. She shared that being a new teacher can be overwhelming and how important it is to nurture those who are new to the career.
“I have a lot left to give,” said Kidd.