State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised Gilbert High School teacher, Dani Stroud, today with news that she has been selected as one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year award.
“Dani grew up thinking she was going to be a doctor, but it turns out, her calling to impact the lives of others was meant to be inside the classroom,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “She is a model educator who inspires her students to think beyond the classroom as she prepares them for the next step after graduation.”
Dani Stroud is a Science teacher at Gilbert High School in Lexington County School District One. She received a bachelors in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the College of Charleston, and a masters in Teaching Chemistry at the University of South Carolina.
“Dani Stroud approaches each day with an understanding that teaching is both a science and an art. As she teaches, she examines what worked yesterday and makes changes, when needed, to improve student outcomes,” said Lexington County School District One Superintendent Dr. Greg Little. “As she encourages her students to look at the world through those same eyes, the eyes of a scientist, she teaches them to use logic and evidence to make decisions. Yet, she is still a compassionate, intelligent, and devoted teacher, who believes all students deserve to have someone believe in them, nurture their talents and give them the space to be heard and valued.”
Dani’s greatest contributions to and accomplishments in education are the passions she ignites in students. Regardless of their future occupations, Dani teaches students to look at worldly interconnectedness through scientific eyes, to use evidence in making decisions, and to have a willingness to pass knowledge to another generation with energy, kindness, empathy, and a few laughs. Dani currently teaches a variety of science courses to students in grades ninth through twelfth, including Unified Science, a course that partners special needs and traditional students.
As one of five finalists, Dani will receive $10,000 and go on to the next stage of competition which involves an interview with a team of expert judges. The winner will be announced at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Gala on May 5 in Columbia.
The winner receives a total of $25,000 and is provided with a brand new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 50,000 educators.
The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on the district, state, and national level. The Teacher of the Year Awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool to the educator profession.