Tanya Peckham said being a teacher is being a part of something that is powerful.
The profession has made a deep impact on her life, she said, and she's making an impact on the profession.
On Friday, Sumter School District named Peckham its …
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On Friday, Sumter School District named Peckham its district Teacher of the Year for the upcoming 2019-20 school year at its annual opening meeting at Sumter County Civic Center.
A first-grade teacher at Wilder Elementary School, Peckham was named the school's teacher of the year for this year in the spring and also one of five finalists for the district's top honor.
Peckham has worked in education for 19 years, and for 17 of those years, she's been a classroom teacher.
A military spouse, she has taught at five schools in her career, and at four of them, Peckham has been named teacher of the year, she said.
However, Friday's honor is the first time she's been named a district teacher of the year.
Peckham said her favorite part of teaching is seeing students' growth - in all aspects of their lives.
"I love seeing their growth," she said. "I love seeing who they are when they begin the school year and the myriad of changes they go through and how much they grow. It's not just how much they grow academically, but also socially and emotionally and how they have changed through the year. It's such a process, and to be a part of that is pretty powerful."
This school year will be her fifth at Wilder and in the district, and Peckham said - to be honest - she was "shocked" Friday when her name was called by district Superintendent Penelope Martin-Knox.
She said she appreciates the support of her family, the principal, assistant principal and fellow teachers at Wilder and looks forward to promoting the school as she now enters the state teacher of the year contest.
"I hope to shine a little spotlight on Wilder Elementary," Peckham said. "We're doing some amazing things there, and I am so proud to work there and with my fellow teachers every day."
The other four finalists for district teacher of the year were Mary Ann Scott of Millwood Elementary School, Casey Barth of Chestnut Oaks Middle School, Alice Miller of Ebenezer Middle School and Matthew Wilt of Sumter High School.
Shasta Smith of High Hills Elementary School was the district's teacher of the year last year.
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