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      SC Teacher of the Year finalists announced

      Photo Credit: Sara Jane Harris

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Midlands fourth grade teacher Melody Johnson from Lugoff Elementary School in Kershaw County has been named as one of the five finalists for South Carolina's Teacher of the Year award.

      The State Education Department announced the finalists on Monday.

      "I was just so overwhelmed I was so excited! I got the call from Dr. Rex on Friday and I just started screaming! Then we got to talk more about the process and what happens next, but I'm very excited," said Johnson.

      Officials with the program said Johnson was nominated for her excellence in creating a classroom environment that models that of a family.

      The other teachers, listed alphabetically by school district, are:

      - Kelly H. Nalley, a second " fifth grade Spanish at Fork Shoals School, Greenville County

      - Julia Goodman Marshall, a fifth grade teacher at Oakdale Elementary School, Rock Hill School District (York Three)

      - Dr. Samantha Maddox, an English/language arts teacher at Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg School District Seven

      - Olivia "Libby" Ortmann, a six - eighth grade at Alice Drive Middle School, Sumter School District 17

      Officials say the finalists were chosen from 83 district-level winners. The winner will be announced April 28th.

      She will receive $25,000, use of a BMW for a year, and serve a one-year residency at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement at Winthrop University in Rock Hill. The four other finalists will receive $10,000 each.Each year, the State Superintendent of Education issues an invitation to the 85 school districts and the Department of Juvenile Justice to participate in the state program. Participation is optional.