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SC STEM Educator of the Year Finalists Announced on Pi Day

Annual Award Sponsored by Comporium, honors top STEM educators in the state selected by Leading STEM Companies and Education Experts

Florence–On this Pi Day, SC Future Minds, the S2TEM Centers, Comporium and Dominion Energy are delighted to announce the regional finalists for the SC STEM Educator of the Award. Selected by a panel of judges from leading STEM companies, including Michelin, BMW, Google, Milliken, Ranger Aerospace as well as STEM education specialists, the finalists hail from all five regions of the state and represent the finest in STEM ingenuity and innovation.

South Carolina faces two converging challenges for the future of its students and workforce: first, a critical shortage of public school educators, particularly in STEM areas; and second, the changing nature of jobs requiring an advanced understanding of STEM content areas and the skills required to tackle complex problems. The state will need to significantly increase its number of STEM educators in order to meet the demands of an evolving economy. Comporium, a family-owned diversified communications company now employing 1100 people in nine counties across the state and the founding sponsor, realizes that investing in the STEM Teacher of the Year award is also investing in the future of the state’s public education system.

The STEM Educator of the Year award was created to honor teachers who are making a significant difference in the lives of students across the state by providing an excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning, and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future. The STEM Educator of the Year will be selected from the five regional finalists and announced Spring 2020.

This is the second year for the award, Warren Wise from Richland Two was named the inaugural STEM Educator of the Year in April 2019. Since being named STEM Educator of the Year Warren has: received the 2019 Presidential Citation Award in the Education Advocacy category, was the lead instructor for Benedict College’s Cybersecurity Summer Camp, and attended the STEM Leadership Alliance Summit.

SC Future Minds received hundreds of nominations for the award, which is sponsored by Comporium, a family-owned regional telecommunications company based in Rock Hill, SC. Every nominee was noted for bringing enthusiasm and energy to their students through STEM projects, curricula, and teaching techniques. Finalists were selected from a competitive shortlist of 61 applications.

STEM teachers throughout South Carolina are sparking creative and analytical thinking in their students, preparing them for a fast-evolving economy and workforce. The STEM Educator of the Year Award was created to recognize their leadership and incentivize more professionals to become STEM educators.

Each of the following finalists will receive $1,000; the grand prize SC STEM Educator will receive $5,000 and professional development opportunities:

Coastal Pee Dee Region: Derenda “Dee” Marshall, STEM Lab Teacher at Wacamaw Intermediate School in Georgetown County School District.

Lowcountry Regional Finalist: Amy Baldwin, Gateway to Technology Teacher 6th – 8th grade at Oakbrook Middle School in Dorchester School District Two.

Midlands Region Finalist: Kirstin Bullington, Next Energy Engineering Instructor at Richland Two Institute of Innovation in Richland School District Two.

Upstate Regional Finalist: Tracy Elmore, STEM/PLTW teacher at Lugoff Middle School in Kershaw County School District.

Western Region Finalist: Chris Beyerle, Gateway to Technology Engineering Teacher at Fisher Middle School in Greenville County School District.

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About South Carolina Future Minds
South Carolina Future Minds (SCFM) is a nonpartisan, statewide 501(c)3 organization investing private resources in public education. Our mission is to champion world class student achievement by supporting excellence in teaching, encouraging collaboration among public education stakeholders, and connecting private financial support to public schools. www.scfutureminds.org

South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science(SCCMS)
South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science(SCCMS), a Center within Clemson University’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, is an alliance of partnering organizations and initiatives focused on promoting economic development through improving Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in schools and communities.

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