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Music teacher selected FSD1 Teacher of the Year

on Tuesday, 20 September 2016. Posted in News, Education, Local News

Music teacher selected FSD1 Teacher of the Year

Mary Woodward of North Vista Elementary has been selected as Florence School District One’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year. She was selected from over 20 applicants in Florence One schools. Florence One Superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges surprised Woodward on Monday with the announcement of her title for 2016-17.

Accompanied by an entourage of school personnel and media to North Vista Elementary, Dr. Bridges visited Woodward’s classroom and presented her with a bouquet of roses and balloons. Prior the announcement, the teacher of the year selection panel reviewed all school teacher of the year applications, and the four teachers whose applications received the highest scores emerged as Honor Roll Teachers.

Last week these four teachers including Ms. Woodward, Brittany Bennett of Timrod Elementary; Sarah Caulkins of McLaurin Elementary; and Bill Ward of West Florence High School, all underwent classroom observations and interviews conducted by a three-member selection panel from outside Florence One. Woodward, who teaches music at North Vista said, “I am committed to use my knowledge of music to provide instruction that is creative, engaging, and encouraging; teaching students that music can be a pathway for success in all other academic and personal areas.

My greatest contribution and accomplishment in education is teaching my students that they may be one of many, but they are all unique, talented, courageous, beautiful, loved and valued individuals, and the world could not move forward without them.” Woodward, who has 15 years of teaching experience, has served at North Vista Elementary for the past three years. She has also served as a music teacher in both the Chesterfield and Darlington County School Districts.

She is a National Board Certified teacher in the area of early/middle childhood music. “The best teachers are teachers who go above and beyond what their job entails,” said Woodward. “They reach children where they are and show them they do not have to stay there.” According to her teaching philosophy, Woodward believes music promotes social and emotional growth and in many instances, motivates students to attend school regularly. Woodward goes on to express that educators must be willing to improve.

“Educators absolutely must obliterate the commonly used sentiment, ‘but we’ve always done it this way.’ Whether an educator agrees or not, teaching changes with societal changes. What worked last year may not work this year. Therefore, educators should never grow so obdurate that we forget good teaching requires reflection, reinvention, and sometimes complete renovation.”

Woodward received a bachelor of arts degree in music education from Coker College; a master of science in education with a concentration in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University; and a master of education in teaching with a concentration in elementary curriculum and STEAM Education from American Public University. Most recently she is in pursuit of a Doctorate in Education at John Hopkins University. Woodward will represent Florence School District One in this year’s South Carolina Teacher of the Year Program.

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