Sarah Gams, an English teacher and chair of the English department at Spring Hill High School in Chapin, is one of five finalists for the 2021 S.C. Teacher of the Year award.
Gams teaches 10th through 12th grades at the Lexington-Richland School District Five school. She has been teaching for 16 years, has a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina and is national board-certified in early adolescence English Language Arts.
“Sarah is a veteran educator who gives tirelessly of her time and energy to ensure her students and peers have the support and content knowledge needed to be successful in life and academics,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in a news release.
Spearman, Lexington-Richland School District Five superintendent Christina Melton and Spring Hill principal Michael Lofton surprised Gams with a Google video call on Tuesday.
“Mrs. Gams is a passionate educator who leads by example,” Melton said. “She challenges her students while supporting their development and also serves as a teacher leader both at Spring Hill High School and in School District Five. Her classroom is vibrant, full of conversation and serves as an English laboratory where students are free to take risks, knowing that risk taking leads to development.”
The five finalists receive $10,000 and advance to the next stage of competition, which includes an interview with a panel of judges. The winner will receive $25,000 and a new BMW for use during a year of service as a roving education ambassador.
The winner will be announced at the S.C. Teacher of the Year Gala, usually held in May. The gala has been postponed and will be rescheduled later this year.o