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APRIL ROOKIE TEACHER OF THE BLOCK HAS POSITIVE MINDSET AND ZEAL FOR LEARNING

4/29/2022

Cassandra Smith, a first year teacher at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary School, is the April Rookie Teacher of the Block for Richland School District Two. Nominated by her principal, Dr. Twanisha Garner, Smith stands out in the classroom for several reasons.


“She implements a variety of instructional strategies to engage students in learning, lights up the room with her smile, has developed a positive learning community within her classroom, and has a contagious love for teaching,” said Dr. Garner.

This award is sponsored by district partner, H&R Block. Each month a new teacher is chosen, then an overall winner is selected as Rookie Teacher of the Year. Winners receive a plaque to hang outside their door, a nameplate for the door, discounted tax preparation from H&R Block, a unique trophy designed by the 3D printing class at the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2) Student Innovation Center, and a bag of Richland Two gifts from Human Resources.

Smith grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island but fell in love with Columbia after graduating from college and decided to stay. She teaches fifth grade and says she is pleased with her decision because she has the most wonderful students and colleagues at Nelson Elementary.  

"I am so honored to have been named the Rookie Teacher of the Block for April. It means so much to me to be recognized by my school, Richland 2, and H&R Block. This year, I have learned so much from my students and the teachers here at Lonnie B. Nelson, and I couldn't be more grateful. This award recognizes the learning community that my students' and I have built and gives me so much excitement for their futures, and what my second year teaching will have in store for me,” said Smith. 

Smith graduated from the University of South Carolina in May of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University. Nelson Elementary School is located at 225 North Brickyard Road, Columbia, SC 29223.