CCSD reveals Top Five Finalists for 2022 Teacher of the Year

March 28, 2022

Charleston County School District (CCSD) officials surprised five teachers today by announcing their selection of the Top Five Finalists for 2022 Teacher of the Year.

The finalists are Natasha Akery, Academic Magnet High School; Nathalie Bennett, Northwoods Middle School; Chakadasovavan Or, Julian Mitchell Elementary School; Ashley Pomposelli, James B. Edwards Elementary School; and Kory Roberts, Memminger Elementary School.

CCSD Interim Superintendent Donald R. Kennedy, Sr. presented each finalist with flowers and a certificate. At each stop along the route, CCSD shared live announcements and updates on its social media platforms (@CCSDConnects). Photos from the day can also be found there and on

One of the finalists will take over the reins from the district’s current Teacher of the Year, Adam Barnes, of West Ashley High School.

Meet the Top Five Finalists

Natasha Akery

Teaching is a second career for Akery. She joined the profession in 2017 through an alternative certification process. She has filled the roles of English instructor and Diversity Coach at Academic Magnet High School since 2020. She previously worked at Military Magnet Academy.

Akery is a 2009 College of Charleston graduate and attends the International Institute for Restorative Practices as she pursues her Master of Science.

Akery is a member of multiple professional organizations including the South Carolina Council for Teachers of English where she was a presenter at the 2020 and 2022 Annual Conferences, Teacher2Teacher (National Social Media Network for Educators), and #HipHopEd (Virtual Professional Learning Community).

In her role at Academic Magnet, Akery designs and facilitates professional development for administrators, faculty, and staff pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, Akery also facilitates professional development for CCSD English Language Arts and Social Studies teachers inspired by culturally responsive teaching and restorative practices.

Nathalie Bennett

Bennett is a sixth grade math teacher at Northwoods Middle School and has been an educator for 13 years, holding various positions in North and South Carolina. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Biology from Wake Forest University.

Professional memberships include Girl Scouts of the United States of America and Girls Scouts of Eastern South Carolina (volunteer).

Bennett’s participation in school activities is extensive. She served as a School Improvement Council committee member while teaching at W.B. Goodwin Elementary and Pinehurst Elementary Schools; she was a member of either the PTO/PTA at all of the schools she taught in; was the Grade Chair of Goodwin, and is now in that role at Northwoods. Throughout her career, Bennett has served as a Professional Development leader on various topics.

Recognitions are numerous and include being named a “Tireless Teacher” at Northwoods, a Personalized Learning Leader Cohort, Teacher of the Year nominee at Pinehurst, SC Science P.L.U.S. Institute participant, and a Wake Forest University 2005 Hall Award Winner (presented for excellence in student teaching to one graduating elementary teacher each year).

Chakadasovavan Or

Or is a third grade teacher at Julian Mitchell Elementary School. He received his degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Political Science from the College of Charleston. This is his third year teaching at Mitchell.

Or is enrolled in the Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy Masters program at the College of Charleston. His area of interest in education is addressing poverty and environmental factors which disrupt a child’s full potential to receive a quality education. Through this program, Or hopes to be able to find ways to support the scholars at Mitchell and advocate for their needs.

Or is a member of the South Carolina Education Association, a math Professional Learning Community Leader, trained in Restorative Circles, and has been recognized as the 2021 Avery Research Center Teacher of the Year, named a 2020 CCSD Rookie Teacher of the Year, and received the 2020 Guiding Light Excellence Award.

Ashley Pomposelli

Pomposelli began teaching kindergarten in 2010. She spent eight years in Horry County and has been teaching at James B. Edwards Elementary School since 2017. She is a Coastal Carolina University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

Pomposelli has served as the grade-level chairperson since 2020 and prior to that was a grade-level chairperson and lead mentor at her school in Horry County. While there she was also named the 2015-2016 Forest Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Pomposelli has focused on staff development, leadership, and training future teachers throughout her career. She worked with various teams to develop new social studies and science curriculums, instructed teachers on the new curriculum through professional development, and attended professional development to become Kagan certified, which enabled her to use revolutionary instructional strategies to boost engagement and achievement. Additionally, Pomposelli has been a cooperating teacher for student teachers at Coastal Carolina University and College of Charleston.

Kory Roberts

Roberts teaches fifth grade at Memminger Elementary School. Roberts, a thirdyear teacher, graduated from College of Charleston in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. Additionally, Roberts was part of the “Call Me Mister” program and is a Boys With a Purpose Advocate.

Roberts participated in CCSD’s Summer residency program before joining Memminger’s staff. Roberts has been involved with several organizations whose purpose is to lift up students of poverty in high-risk situations, including “Boys With a Purpose.” He is frequently asked to serve on committees and has been helpful in teacher recruitment efforts. Roberts has served as a teacher leader in Summer Enrichment Camps.

Roberts held a position on the CCSD Teacher Cabinet and is on the 2022 Planning Committee Member for CCSD’s Summer Enrichment Program.

For more information, contact the Division of Strategy and Communications at (843) 937-6303.


About the Charleston County School District

Charleston County School District (CCSD) is a nationally accredited school district committed to providing equitable and quality educational opportunities for all of its students. CCSD is the second-largest school system in South Carolina and represents a unique blend of urban, suburban, and rural schools spanning 1,300 square miles along the coast. CCSD serves approximately 49,000 students in 88 schools and specialized programs.

CCSD offers a diverse, expanding portfolio of options and specialized programs, delivered through neighborhood, magnet, IB (international baccalaureate), Montessori, and charter schools. Options include programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), music and other creative and performing arts, career and technical preparation programs, and military.