By VICKI BROWN
Colleton Preparatory Academy recently had three teachers complete the SCISA Master Teacher program: Kathy Houck, Jennifer Williams, and Bray Campbell.
The South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) is in its sixteenth year of the Master Teacher Program, which gives well-deserved recognition to teachers who exhibit best practices in the classroom and a willingness to share and collaborate with other educators. SCISA recognizes teachers who inspire excellence in the classroom, among colleagues and, especially, among students.
Each candidate had to currently be a full-time teacher at an independent school, possess a master’s degree or doctorate in area of teaching with five or more years of experience or have a bachelor’s degree with at least ten years’ experience.
“I felt that the process would help me become a better educator and this improvement would ultimately benefit the students in my classroom,” said Jennifer Williams. “It’s so important for all teachers – from the first-year teacher all the way up to us veterans – to always look for ways to improve our craft and become more effective in the classroom. This process makes you look for ways to step outside your own classroom and improve your teaching practices; it focuses on collaboration between teachers across grade levels and across SCISA schools. When I earned my Master Teacher certification back in 2013, I had one of the most fun and productive years I have ever had because I was trying new ideas and strategies and collaborating with other teachers across other grade levels to create awesome educational experiences for my students,” she added.
Master Teachers are required to create a portfolio that contained professional development for faculty members of their school, for SCISA functions, and for other schools. They are also required to produce four tangible examples of outstanding work related to the classroom and related to sharing and collaborating with other educators.
As part of the portfolio, each teacher had to create an unedited video of the candidate’s classroom teaching for an entire lesson and/or one class period. The candidates also had to provide five letters of recommendation, including a letter from the head of school. Each letter had to show that the nominee collaborated with colleagues and that the nominee has a characteristic that sets her apart from other nominees.
“Becoming a SCISA Master Teacher was very important to me because I was given the opportunity to challenge myself to become a better teacher,” said Bray Campbell. “I always try to do my best to show my students that learning is a continuous process and that it is important to work towards goals set even after graduation.”