Teacher Tributes

Caitlin Ouzts

McCormick High School

Caitlin Ouzts is our hero because she goes above and beyond in every aspect of being a teacher. We watched her grow as this was her first teaching job after graduating from college. She came in and enthusiastic about her passion. She has developed into an effective facilitator in one of our newly established 21st century classrooms, where students collaborate, inquire, and develop skills to be used for a lifetime. Not only that, she volunteered to set up and run the afterschool program where students receive extra instruction to elevate all students to be successful.

Nominated By: Flora Belton

McCormick County School District

Erica Wright

Crosswell Drive Elementary School

She strives to see her students grow mental, academically, socially and learn some job skills.

Nominated By: Bridgett Bradley

Sumter School District

Lori Kingsmore Patterson

Pine Street Elementary

She loves all of her students. She goes the second mile to give them a basic knowledge and an enjoyment of music. She even teaches them African Drums!!

Nominated By: Deborah Koltonski


Lori Kingsmore Patterson

Pine Street Elementary

Lori is always the first one at school and the last one to leave. She is a wonderful teacher, and the kids love her. She teaches Chorus, which involves traveling to All-State Chorus, singing the National Anthem at Wofford football/basketball games, and taking them to nursing homes to sing for the patients there. Lori is a sensational soloist who sings at Spartanburg First Baptist Church and participates in the choir. In addition to having 2 children, Lori is attending classes at Converse working on her Administration Degree while teaching full time. She also writes grants for her school. Can you say A-M-A-Z-I-N-G???

Nominated By: Loretta Kingsmore

Spartanburg District 7

Tessa Porter

High Point Academy

My teacher is a hero because she does what she can to help us students be able to understand the world of science. She makes sure that everyone understands and knows what to do if someone doesn’t. She is strict, but not in a mean way, and she is always willing to help, even outside of her class. She is very creative and comes up with the most creative ways to help us learn science. If there is trouble, she is willing to give advice. She loves all her students in every way. I always looked forward to going to her class, and I was disappointed when it was over. My teacher, Mrs Porter, was a hero in every way, and I am going to miss having her next year.

Nominated By: Alyx Creel

South Carolina Public Charter School District

Andrea Garver

Cario middle school

Anytime someone needs help or wants to start a club she will help. Every time she teaches she will use real life examples or reenact the situation.

Nominated By: Brady Setser

Charleston county school district

Yaniet wheeler

Lake Murray Elementary

Mrs. Wheeler is always funny and caring.. she gives the best hugs in the morning. she makes Spanish fun.. She created the first military club in our school and I really like it because before that I did not have many friends

Nominated By: Ella


Mary Davis

RH Fulmer Middle School

My teacher hero is Mary Davis. She is a “speech teacher” but also a really cool human being.
She is my teacher hero because she touches the lives of students and their families. She works with a variety of students who might be nonverbal, verbally challenged, or who just have a hard time with social skills. She has to travel between four schools in our district and a majority of her students are middle schoolers. She goes in and out of schools and classrooms to try to help students and their teachers figure out how to maximize communication abilities to have better access to their classwork and their peers. She is really good at thinking outside of the box and considering the student as an individual and appreciating the strengths each one possesses.
She is my teacher hero because she is a 5-year survivor of invasive breast cancer who taught me that a person is not a diagnosis. She also taught me how to ask for help and that doing so does not equal failure, it just means you have folks who love you a whole lot who are willing to be your support system.
She is my teacher hero because she goes above and beyond the classroom to reach more students than those whom she teaches. She is the Yearbook editor for Fulmer Middle School and works tirelessly to make sure it is a book the whole school can take pride in and that all students, regardless of popularity or abilities, are represented.
She is my teacher hero because she encourages her family and colleagues to give back to the community through volunteer opportunities, and is the first to reach out to help others in need.
Finally, she is my teacher hero because she is not afraid to follow her dreams. This past year, she wanted to learn to tap dance, so she took a class and had a recital.
So many of us are so proud of everything she does, of everything she symbolizes, and everything she models. She is a cool human who is my teacher-hero, and she happens to be my mom.

Nominated By: Pete Davis

Lexington School District Teo

Casey Willingham

Pomaria Garmany Elementary

Mrs. Willingham was a 4th grade teacher at Little Mountain Elementary School when she taught my daughter. After a very hard year in 3rd grade my child had lost most of her enthusiasm for learning. Mrs Willingham ignited that enthusiasm again for my child. Sophia, my daughter, looked forward to going to school again. She felt loved, challenged, and important. Mrs. Willingham treated my daughter as her own. She found my daughter’s weak areas and took time to work with her on them. Mrs. Willingham even made short videos for the parents showing us how to work math problems using the strategies she was teaching. This made it much easier for me to help my child at home. Mrs. Willingham is an exceptional teacher!

Nominated By: Glynnis Abraham


Frances Meetze

Gilbert High School

Mrs. Meetze always makes sure her students have an understanding of what is going on. Even if students do not like history, she manages to make sure they understand what is going on, how it worked, and the basics of history. She has an open door policy and always welcomes in students even if they need to just talk with someone. Frances Meetze is one of the most deserving people and teachers that I’ve ever met in my life.

Nominated By: Kaitlynne Goodman