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BCSD announces three finalists for 2018 Teacher of the Year

Published Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Finalists for teacher of the year with former teachers of the year

Pictured above is Sharon Blackwood, Emily Reichbach, Amanda Cooper, Jason McDermott, and Nicholas Snyder. (BCSD photo) 


The Berkeley County School District (BCSD) announced its three Honor Roll Teacher of the Year finalists at its annual Teacher Forum Induction on Friday, March 23 at Freedom Church. The finalists, Daniel Island School’s Jason McDermott, Devon Forest Elementary’s Emily Reichbach, and Goose Creek High’s Amanda Cooper, were recognized along with the other school-level teachers of the year at the celebration.

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The principals from the schools of the top three Honor Roll educators, who will advance to compete for the 2018 district-level Teacher of the Year honor, included the following in their letter of endorsement for these teachers:

  • Daniel Island School- Jason McDermott: Principal Kori Brown said that Mr. McDermott’s passion for his subject matter and the field of education is an ongoing force within his classroom and his school community. Not afraid to take risks, he has innovated a flipped classroom and is constantly in the process of re-evaluating and improving processes that are utilized. Mr. McDermott welcomes parental involvement and draws in parents with his obvious enthusiasm. His classroom is clearly designed to reflect student needs and his efforts to meet those needs on an ongoing basis. His ability to communicate with the various groups with whom he comes in contact during the school day are an asset to the school and the community.

  • Devon Forest Elementary- Emily Reichbach: Principal Cristie Mitchum said that Ms. Reichbach’s knowledge of best practices, as well as her experience as a teacher and technology coach, have been an asset to the school. Students in her classroom are learning through online videos and games, collaborating in online discussions around the world, communicating through Google Classroom, and engaging with digital lessons at their own pace. Ms. Reichbach creates innovative learning opportunities that reach far beyond her classroom walls. She welcomes diversity in her classroom and appreciates each child’s uniqueness. Her students know that she cares for each one of them and accepts them for who they are, but she also challenges them to be the best that they can be.

  • Goose Creek High-Amanda Cooper: Principal Shameka Washington said that Ms. Cooper is known for innovation, creativity, and best practices that empower all students for success. She utilizes instructional strategies that are engaging and demonstrate a profound respect for her students as individuals. Her strategies help even the most reluctant students become focused and involved in their own educations. A natural advocate for students, Ms. Cooper has worked extensively to build a sense of community at Goose Creek High. Ms. Cooper has been instrumental in establishing the Clean Laundry Initiative at Goose Creek High to help ensure that all students have their basic needs met.

“I could not be more excited for Jason, Emily and Amanda,” said 2017 BCSD Teacher of the Year Nicholas Snyder. “I know just how anxious and excited they all are, as I was in their same shoes just one year ago. I hope they will take the time to enjoy these moments and show the final selection committee what all of their peers already know, that they are outstanding educators. BCSD is lucky to have teachers of their caliber, and I cannot wait until April to learn who our next Teacher of the Year will be.”

The district will announce its 2018 Teacher of the Year on Thursday, April 27, at the annual Teacher of the Year Breakfast, sponsored by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, Santee Cooper and Trident Technical College.

For a full listing of all school-level teachers of the year, please visit the BCSD website.

Katie Orvin Tanner
orvink@bcsdschools.net