COLUMBIA, S.C. – Chelsey Counts, a sixth-grade teacher at Dent Middle School has been selected as one of the best new teachers in Richland School District Two. Counts is the February 2021 Rookie Teacher of the Block. The award is sponsored by H&R Block, a dedicated partner of the district.
“Chelsey Counts is on her way to becoming an expert in providing both quality and innovative teaching. Not only is she responsible for teaching accelerated math, one of the most rigorous courses, where her students are learning 2-3 years of content in a single year, but she strives to ensure that as her students are matriculating through the material that she keeps the content both relevant and rigorous,” said Tamala Ashford, principal of Dent Middle School.
Counts says her first year of teaching has definitely had its ups and downs. “I was completely flabbergasted when my name was called. I can’t believe that I was even nominated for the award, let alone winning it. I owe my colleagues on the 6th grade hallway for keeping me on track and allowing me to lean on them. Thank you to the entire Dent Middle School and Richland Two family for being so supportive and welcoming,” said Counts.
Counts was one of the first teachers at Dent Middle to volunteer to join their school wide AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Site team. Her role has morphed from her learning about the AVID mission to her now assisting in leading professional development for faculty and staff on ways to incorporate AVID strategies into their classrooms. AVID’s mission is to close the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.
RTOB winners receive a plaque and nameplate to hang outside their door, discounted tax preparation from H&R Block, a unique trophy designed by the 3D printing class at the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2), and a bag of Richland Two goodies from Human Resources. Each month a RTOB is chosen and then an overall winner, Rookie Teacher of the Year, is selected in the spring.