At the District, we depend on dedicated teachers to fulfill our mission of putting Kids First – from the Statehouse down to the classroom. Each week we spotlight different teachers from the schools in our District on our social media channels to highlight all the hard work they do. Here’s who we spotlighted during October:
Shasta Smith, Liberty Steam Charter School
“‘Be compassionate,’ Morrie whispered. ‘And take responsibility for each other. If we only learned those lessons, this world would be so much better a place.'” -Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
It’s no surprise that Tuesdays with Morrie is Shasta Smith’s favorite book when you learn how she leads with love as a first-grade teacher at Liberty STEAM Charter. When she’s not seeking excellence in the classroom, she’s seeking a tasty taco or a movie night in (Remember the Titans, anyone?)
In her 11th year of education, Shasta hopes that her colleagues feel empowered and supported through collective leadership. She believes in the difference they make together as they nurture kids’ purpose, passion, and future.
Ty Tiger, Bridges Preparatory School
Our outstanding charter school faculty dedicates themselves to delivering a Kids First learning environment for all of their students; we want to highlight the efforts of Ty Tiger, a Bridges Prep English Teacher and ELA Department Head. When asked what her hopes for the future of education in South Carolina are, she said, “That the students will be the primary focus of all decision-making that occurs behind closed doors.”
Ty has spent her nine years in education doing just that. She has been driven by a desire to help her students find joy and wonder in acquiring new knowledge as they pursue their academic interests. She shares her passion for literature by engaging her Juniors in one of her favorite childhood novels, Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Ty encourages her fellow educators to join her in tapping into their inner child, never forgetting the hardships and importance of all the “little things” in a teenager’s life.
Christina Johnson, Riverwalk Academy
While we at the District are dedicated to putting our Kids First, the true heroes are our fantastic faculty members that lead our children to pursue success. We want to take a moment to shout out Riverwalk Academy’s 4th Grade Teacher Christina Johnson. While education was not her initial major in college, Christina has fallen in love with being a teacher as she engages her students in the Riverwalk Academy Project-Based Learning approach.
When asked what her hopes for education are, she said, “For children to fall in love with learning and know that they will continue to learn and grow their whole lives.” At Riverwalk Academy, Christina’s dreams have become a reality, with students taking on unique projects focused on acquiring essential knowledge, understanding, and success skills.
Christina enjoys cooking, spending time with her friends and family, and watching her favorite TV shows and movies in her spare time. For Christina, Riverwalk Academy has become like a second family, with the staff, students, and parents supporting each other.
Doug Adomatis, Greenville Technical Charter High School
“Be curious. Ask questions. Let your interests guide you. And there you will find your passion.”
For science teacher Doug Adomatis, this is not just a mantra he pushes for his students but one he lives by in his own life. These words inspired him to be one of the few Americans to see the total solar eclipse in 1991 at the top of a Hawaiian volcano. His adventurous spirit drives him to pursue his dream of obtaining a private pilot’s license and blaze new pathways for students at Greenville Tech so they may pursue their passions.
Doug has not always been a teacher. He only changed his career to education when his children came of school age. In all his previous careers, he has been a mentor, trainer, tutor, and guide in some part-time capacity. Now, as a full-time educator, Doug can make an even greater impact by putting Kids First in Greenville Tech’s award-winning classrooms.
Greenville Tech was the first Charter school in South Carolina and the first Charter school in the nation to be awarded the National Blue Ribbon of Excellence. Their quality faculty, like their inspiring Doug Adomatis, have achieved a graduation rate of 99% for their students. Every student is pushed to reach the maturity and skill level required to begin taking college courses, and each seeks the challenge to earn and develop.
Pamela Rhode, Polaris Tech Charter School
Every aspect of Polaris Tech Charter School — the rigorous course of competency-based study, relevant applied learning projects, technology-driven curriculum, open learning spaces, and the daily schedule—is intended to prepare students for success in college and their careers. Their incredibly talented teaching faculty, like Pamela Rhode, cultivate student accountability by allowing students to move throughout their learning environment and engage in a self-paced progression through their curriculum.
When she is not letting her mind drift into a good book by the water, Pamela encourages her students to explore their interests and challenges them to express their talents. “I hope that students will desire to continue to learn after leaving my classroom every day.” In Pamela’s classroom, students can work at their own pace and take ownership of their education. Here, students thrive in her Kids First approach, which goes far beyond a traditional core curriculum to educate the whole student. Every student is treated with the respect and care they deserve, which motivates them to continuously build and demonstrate knowledge, skills, confidence, and creativity that lays the foundation for a successful future.