Teacher of the Year to Travel in a BMW Z4 Roadster
Ann Marie Taylor, South Carolina’s 2007-08 Teacher of the Year, will travel the state in a BMW Z4 roadster during her year-long sabbatical from the classroom to represent the state’s 50,000 teachers.
Taylor, a special education teacher at Pine Tree Elementary School in Kershaw County, was named South Carolina’s top teacher by State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex at a banquet at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Friday night that honored the state’s 83 district teachers of the year.
“Taylor is a motivated and enthusiastic teacher who is a passionate advocate for special needs children,” Rex said. “She knows that her calling is to nurture and teach and be an example to those around her. Her students know that she has high expectations for them, and they want to please both themselves and her. Her classroom is a community, a safe haven and a launching pad where learning is fun and success is real.”
In her classroom, Taylor uses hands-on approaches, knowing that her students do not learn unless activities are authentic and meaningful. They dance. They exercise. They put on plays. They learn about money by playing Let’s Make a Deal. They learn the concept of time by creating a time machine. They learn about plants by planting a garden. She tries to instill a desire for learning in her students that is so strong it will never leave them.
Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree from Saginaw (Michigan) Valley State University and a master’s degree from Francis Marion University. A six-year teaching veteran, she is a trainer and motivational speaker and has been honored by WLTX-TV as a teacher of the week. She has volunteered for causes ranging from the arts, United Way and church, to the Camden Junior Welfare League and Relay for Life. Taylor is also founder and president of the Kershaw County Branch of the Council for Exceptional Children. In 2005, she won the Habitat for Humanity Award for her Classroom Tsunami Project. She has begun the process for National Board Certification.
Besides representing the state’s teachers and receiving a BMW Z4 Roadster, Taylor will also participate in a yearlong residency at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA), receive a $25,000 cash award and a SMART board (an interactive whiteboard that turns a computer and projector into a teaching and presentation tool). She will participate in Leadership South Carolina and attend Notre Dame’s prestigious three-day Excellence in Teaching Symposium. In addition, she was awarded a Dell laptop computer and a set of Michelin tires.
The other finalists for Teacher of the year were:
- Linda M. Dowling, a middle school language arts teacher at Sonovista Alternative School in Darlington County.
- Ilona Lawless Sunday, a science teacher at Crayton Middle School in Richland School District One.
- Dawn Smith, a fourth grade teacher at Bookman Road Elementary School in Richland County School District Two.
- Frances L. Hardy, a language arts teacher at Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg School District Seven.
The four finalists each received $10,000, a Dell computer and a set of Michelin tires. Each district teacher receives $1,000, and all 83 district nominees received various gifts donated by corporate sponsors.
BMW Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of the BMW Group based in Munich, Germany, is the exclusive manufacturer of the Z4 and M Roadster, Z4 and M Coupe in addition to the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Its website address is www.bmwusfactory.com. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW’s North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America, and a design firm in California.