“Teacher of the Year,” Kelly Nalley, chats with Greenville County Schools Communications Coordinator Susan Clarke after the awards program.On Friday, August 14, Greenville County Schools held their 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year Awards program at the Carolina First Center. There were 100 teacher candidates chosen from the different schools in the school district. From these candidates, ten were selected as teacher of the year candidates. There were three runner-up candidates chosen and then the teacher of the year.

Kelly H. Nalley, a Spanish teacher at Fork Shoals School, was chosen Greenville County Schools, 2009-2010 “Teacher of the Year.” She teaches Spanish to 2nd thru 5th grade students.

Mrs. Nalley graduated from Clemson University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education Degree. She later received a Master of Arts in Education: School Leadership in 2003 from Furman University. She has taught in four other schools including Mauldin High School, 2004-2005.

Kelly Nalley was named Valedictorian and “Most Likely to Succeed” during her senior year in high school. Her vision was to pursue a profession with high income potential, such as a doctor, architect or an engineer. But this all changed when she got involved in the “Teacher Cadet” program during her senior year in high school. This program is designed to attract young people into the teaching profession.

Mrs. Nalley said, “Not only did I discover my future profession through the Teacher Cadet program, but I also learned a valuable life lesson. Success is a personal accomplishment; it is not defined or measured by another person or a cultural stereotype. I believe teaching is one of those rare professions that allow you to experience joy and success through your service to others.”

In her 12 years as a teacher, she has learned that her chosen career is not always simple and easy. “Teaching requires self-reflection, the willingness to try new things, and the vision and passion to discern which experiences are most important for students,” she said.

Mrs. Nalley said, “I consider the role I plays in a student’s growth and development to be my greatest accomplishment.”

The Rotary Club of Greenville presented Mrs. Nalley a “Teacher of the Year” financial award of $1,750, Sam’s Club presented her a $1,000 grant and a Teacher of the Year banner for Fork Shoals School.

Some of the other gifts she received were a set of four Michelin tires from Michelin North America, a laptop computer from DELL Marketing, a $500 award from Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., Dinner for two from Soby’s Restaurant, a gift certificate from the Open Book, “Teacher of the Year” gold pin from Heff Jones Co.

The first-runner-up was Laura Sorochak, a firth grade teacher at Tigerville Elementary. She received a $1,250 financial award from The Rotary Club of Greenville. The second runner-up was Sarah Tollick, a fifth grade teacher at Monaview Elementary and she received a financial award of $900 from Rotary Club of Greenville, and the third runner-up was Kenna Brannon, a third grade teacher at Skyland Elementary and she received a financial award of $600 from Rotary Club of Greenville.

The other finalists were: Sara Evanson, Sevier Middle School; Kathy Hutchins, Roper Mountain Science Center; Jennifer Johnston, Sterling; Louise Rogers, Greer Middle; Donna Tesner, Slater Elementary; and Allison Turza Peake, J.L. Mann High Academy.

The process of selecting “The Best of the Best” began last fall when the schools and vocational centers selected their individual “Teachers of the Year.”

Three judges reviewed the applications and met with all “Teacher of the Year” candidates during an informal reception in March.

Each top ten candidate for Greenville County Schools Teacher of the Year is judged on 17 criteria including his or her nomination form, a classroom visit, and an oral interview in the classroom. Judges observe the teacher’s ability to articulate and project, interaction with students, personal and classroom appearance, and the atmosphere of the classroom.


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