EXTRA CREDIT: March Pee Dee Education Center Teachers of the Year

CLARENDON AND LEE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – Dozens of teachers across the Pee Dee were honored this school year for their achievement in and outside the classroom. Someone in their school nominates them and then an outside committee picks from the 2014-2015 Teacher of the year from a district list.

March’s teachers selected as the Pee Dee Education Center Teachers of the Year come from the Clarendon School District 3 and the Lee County School District.

Ms. Betsy Watts is a 4th grade math and science teacher at Walker Gamble Elementary. She’s taught for 27 years now and this is her 4th year at Walker Gamble. Ms. Watts says her family influenced her to pursue a teaching career and as a child she even pretended to be a teacher using her toys as students.

Ms. Watts calls the award a great accomplishment saying, “For it to be my first year teaching in a 4th grade classroom and for them to give me this honor, I was just honored. I was just speechless.”

Ms. Watts adds that she tries to instill in her students that no matter what it is, they will achieve it if they continually work at it a little bit at a time.

She says her greatest moments with the students are the personal relationships that go above and beyond academics. Ms. Watts says former students still contact her to share the big moments in their life and it’s rewarding to see students be successful outside the classroom.

Ms. Tracey Tate is a first grade teacher at Bishopville Primary. She’s spent her 23-year teaching career in Lee County where she was born and raised. Ms. Tate says she wanted to make a difference in her own community.

She decided to become a teacher after the experience with her own high school teachers who she says taught her more than academics. It’s something she now works to do with her own students. She tries to instill in her students they must love everyone and always look for the good in everyone.

Ms. Tate calls the Teacher of the Year award a great honor saying, “To see that they thought that much of me was wonderful, it was a good feeling. It almost brought me to tears. I was that excited.”

The teachers are now going through the application process for South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

And remember we want to hear from you this year! If you think your school or someone in it is going above and beyond. Send a submission to ExtraCredit@wbtw.com

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