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Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced


On Thursday, March 22, five teachers learned they are finalists for 2018-2019 Richland Two Teacher of the Year. The teachers and their schools are: Mary Kathryn Burbank, Catawba Trail Elementary School; Lisa Rayner, Pontiac Elementary School; LaChe´ Williams, LW Conder Elementary School; Jill Lee, Blythewood Middle School; and Sue Weems, Blythewood High School.
Richland Two Superintendent Baron R. Davis said, “While they each bring different talents and gifts to the classroom, these five teachers promote the Richland Two Core Values of Learning, Character, Community and Joy. Each one possesses a strong passion for making a difference in the lives of their students and demonstrates why Richland Two is home to innovative, dedicated and premier educators.”
Mary Kathryn Burbank teaches music at Catawba Trail Elementary School. Over the course of her 20-year career, Burbank has twice started music programs from the ground up including starting the steel drum performing ensemble at Catawba Trail. She was inspired to teach by her father, who was a high school chemistry teacher and musician.
Lisa Rayner teaches music at Pontiac Elementary School. Many former students credit the singing, dancing and playing instruments that took place in Rayner’s class these past 24 years as the spark that started their love and passion for music. She credits her childhood flute instructor for putting her on the path to the classroom. 
LaChe´ Williams is a fifth-grade teacher at L.W. Conder Arts Integrated Elementary School. Williams said she has only ever wanted to be a teacher. She believes in being a partner in the learning process with her parents and their students. Williams has been a teacher for six years. 
Jill Lee is an eighth-grade math teacher at Blythewood Middle School. Lee credits a patient, funny and supportive algebra teacher for unearthing her talent for learning math and teaching. She has been an educator for 22 years.
Sue Weems teaches English at Blythewood High School. Weems comes from a family of educators and was determined not to become one. A frank conversation with a manager in college finally convinced her to embrace her natural gifts and pursue teaching as a career. She has been a teacher 15 years.
These five finalists now move on to be considered for the Richland Two 2018–2019 District Teacher of the Year which will be announced on May 10, 2018, at the Teacher of the Year Banquet.