LaQuetta Johnson named DCSD Teacher of the year
Pate Elementary School’s LaQuetta Johnson will represent Darlington County School District as Teacher of the Year for 2017-18. The thrilling announcement came during the district’s annual Teacher of the Year Banquet, held Thursday evening inside Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology’s new conference center.
Johnson was selected after an intensive judging period that included an application, video of her classroom instruction and a face-to-face panel interview.
Surprised and excited, Johnson thanked her parents and principal, Emily Lunn, for supporting and encouraging her. She also offered words of inspiration for her fellow teachers.
“I just want to thank everyone for this opportunity,” she said. “And I want to say remember that the students in your classrooms today are the future leaders of our world,” she said. “If you always remember that, you will always excel at what you do.”
Johnson holds a Master of Education in Reading and Mathematics from Walden University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Coker College.
She explained her philosophy of teaching in an extended application required for consideration.
“My philosophy of teaching is to teach the whole child. I cannot just focus on academics, but I must build relationships with each of my students,” Johnson wrote. “Building relationships enables my students to become less afraid of making mistakes. I believe that every child that steps across the threshold of my classroom door will become a success. I believe that if I hold high expectations for my students they will strive to meet them.
Judges, which included past Teachers of the Year, district administration and community leaders, selected Johnson from among five finalists. The four remaining finalists will serve as the district’s 2017-18 Honor Roll Teachers of the Year. The Honor Roll Teachers of the Year are: Jessica Mary Baker, Darlington Middle School; Jenifer Goff, Hartsville High School; Margaret “Meg” Lane, Spaulding Elementary School; Heath Shirey, Hartsville Middle School.
Judges selected the five finalists came from the pool of 2017-18 school Teachers of the Year. These peer-selected teachers will serve on the district’s Teacher Forum and Leadership Council, acting as teacher leaders and advisers for the district.
The 2017-18 School Teachers of the Year are: • Adrienne Smith, Brockington Elementary Magnet School • Kristen Sherman, Brunson-Dargan Elementary School • Taylor Byrd, Cain Elementary School • Elizabeth Hance, Carolina Elementary School • Kenneth Sandifer, Darlington County Institute of Technology • Amanda Howell, Darlington County Intervention School • Megan Ellen Pearce, Darlington High School • Jessica Mary Baker, Darlington Middle School • Jenifer Goff, Hartsville High School • Heath Shirey, Hartsville Middle School • Krystina Himes, Lamar Elementary School • Alphine Bradley, Lamar High School • Rembert Cook, Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology • Pamela Joni Gilbert, North Hartsville Elementary School • LaQuetta Johnson, Pate Elementary School • Desiray Rushing, Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School • Rachel Marino, Southside Early Childhood Center • Margaret Lane, Spaulding Elementary School • Nicole Lester McCary, Spaulding Middle School • Niddreta Johnson, St. John’s Elementary School • Jason Abraham, Thornwell School for the Arts • Jarriel Jacobs, Washington Street Elementary School • Scott Mixon, West Hartsville Elementary School