Return to Headlines

Reneé Atkinson Named SC Teacher of the Year

April 26, 2023

Congratulations to Reneé Atkinson, who has been named the 2024 SC Teacher of the Year! 

State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver announced this honor at the annual South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala, which took place on April 26, 2023, on the grounds of the Governor’s mansion in Columbia, South Carolina. This event celebrated public education in S.C. and hosted district Teachers of the Year, legislators, business leaders, and community members to acknowledge the importance of the teaching profession.

Reneé is an English teacher at Aynor High. This is her 21st year in education and her 17th in HCS. However, she never considered teaching until after earning her bachelor’s in history with a minor in English at Clemson University. She went on to earn her master’s in secondary English from Francis Marion University and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from Liberty University. She is also a National Board Certified teacher. While she has spent time in various roles over the past two decades, Renee’ says she’s happiest in the classroom because that’s where she can make the biggest difference for children. 

As the winner of the competition, Reneé receives $25,000 and is provided with a brand-new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador. She 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. She will also move forward to compete for the title of National Teacher of the Year. 

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 Reneé by watching the first portion of this video about the 2023 HCS Teacher of the Year finalists, by watching her HCS Teacher of the Year acceptance speech, and by watching the announcement that she was a finalist for SC Teacher of the Year.