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Rookie Teacher of the Year recognition program hopes to improve retention by celebrating early success

A new Rookie Teacher of the Year program has been launched at Horry County Schools, made possible through support from the College Football Playoff Foundation in partnership with Coastal Carolina University.

Designed to recognize and celebrate teachers within the first three years of their career, the Rookie Teacher of the Year program aims to improve teacher retention by celebrating success early in their careers, a time when they are statistically most likely to leave the profession. In a recent study by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement at Winthrop University, 25 percent of first-year teachers are no longer teaching in South Carolina.

To help prepare new teachers for the challenges that come in the beginning of a career in education, Coastal Carolina University partners with HCS and other school districts in four neighboring counties to provide college students who are preparing for careers in teaching with extensive experience in school classrooms, where they can gain experience, network and receive support from other teachers, and become familiar with district curriculum, teaching strategies, progress monitoring, and the core values and climate that support student success.

Rookie Teacher of the Year school honorees were nominated by their school principals for their professionalism in providing quality instruction and meeting the needs of all students. Five finalists will be chosen from school nominees and the HCS Rookie Teacher of the Year will be recognized later this year.

School nominees are:

Rebekah Ceron, Academy for the Arts, Science & Technology; Joseph Gorcesky, Academy for Technology & Academics; Hannah Mills, Aynor Elementary; Ryan Minor, Aynor Middle; Taylor Barrett, Black Water Middle; Victoria Johnson, Carolina Forest Elementary; Delanie Sage, Carolina Forest High; Nadene Cafasso, Conway Elementary; Elizabeth Chandler, Conway High; Stevie Martin, Conway Middle; Caitlyn Worley, Daisy Elementary; Elizabeth Spegar, Forestbrook Middle; Suzanna Trout, Green Sea Floyds Elementary; Chloe Jones, Green Sea Floyds High; Courtney Willoughby, Green Sea Floyds Middle; Chris Condelli, Homewood Elementary; Stephanie Rosales-Perez, Kingston Elementary; Savannah Fowler, Loris Middle; Megan Worrell, Midland Elementary; Sarah Hall, Myrtle Beach Elementary; Shannon Baglanis, Myrtle Beach Middle; Emily Neil, North Myrtle Beach High; Kristina McGuinness, North Myrtle Beach Middle; Lia Holland, Ocean Bay Elementary; Matti Tyskewicz, Ocean Bay Middle; Jessica Skipper, Palmetto Bays Elementary; Jenna Howard, Pee Dee Elementary; Rita D’Ippolito, River Oaks Elementary; Macey Bullard, Riverside Elementary; Cody Bollinger, Seaside Elementary; Katelyn Suggs, Socastee Elementary; Alexis Karnes, Socastee High; Emily Scheffler, St. James High; Billy Heath, St. James Middle; Andrew Appel, Therapeutic Learning Center; and Ryleigh Honig, Whittemore Park Middle.