Aynor High School teacher named S.C. Teacher of the Year finalist

Pictured L to R: State Superintendent Ellen Weaver, Renee Atkinson and family, Horry County...
Pictured L to R: State Superintendent Ellen Weaver, Renee Atkinson and family, Horry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey.(South Carolina Department of Education)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:59 AM EDT
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AYNOR, S.C. (WMBF) - An Horry County teacher is now in the running for the state’s Teacher of the Year award.

The South Carolina Department of Education announced Friday that Aynor High School’s Renee Atkinson is one of five finalists for the honor. State Superintendent Ellen Weaver surprised her with the news, according to the department. Atkinson was also previously named Horry County Schools’ Teacher of the Year.

“We are honored to celebrate Renee as a finalist for this year’s award,” said Weaver. “Her heart truly lives in the classroom where she directly impacts the lives of her students every day. Renee is a blessing to Aynor High School and the entire school district of Horry County.”

HCS Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey also said that Atkinson’s students “applaud her for making learning exciting, and most of all, for letting them know that she cares about each one of them and their successes in the classroom.”

“We are so glad that Mrs. Atkinson is a part of our Horry County Schools family,” Maxey added.

Atkinson teaches 10th, 11th and 12th-grade English at Aynor and is also the school’s IB coordinator. In addition, Atkinson is an IB examiner for English, holds positions within the school’s AP program and was the school’s curriculum coach from 2014-2019.

The education department added that Atkinson “regularly provides professional development opportunities for teachers in Horry County Schools” and has presented at state-level conferences.

Atkinson will receive $10,000 as part of being named a finalist. The next stage of the process involved an interview with expert judges who will name a winner next month.

“The winner receives a total of $25,000 and is provided with a brand-new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with Teacher Cadets and Teaching Fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 55,000 educators,” the education department said in its release.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.