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DISTINGUISHED TEACHERS OF LITERACY: Edgefield County Literacy Council Announces its 2022-2023 Elementary, Secondary and District Administrator of the Year Award Winners

Johnston, SC – Dana Kaltz considers herself fortunate to serve as the librarian at Johnston Elementary School, where she has the opportunity to teach lessons to every grade level on a weekly basis. 

Her students are fortunate as well to be under the tutelage of such a dedicated and passionate educator.

“Literacy provides a life for students to be able to communicate, and speak, and read and write, and learn and research,” stated Katlz, who was named as the Edgefield County Literacy Council’s 2022-2023 Elementary Distinguished Teacher of the Year during a Thursday afternoon ceremony (Nov. 17) held at Johnston Elementary School (JES). “It’s my job to help students develop a passion for reading and nothing makes my heart sing more than when I see that happen. I recently had a third-grader who came up to me and asked me, ‘what are we going to be learning in the library today?’ Not ‘what are we doing in the library today?’, but what are we going to be learning?”

“Seeing their love of learning through read alouds and conversations and collaboration has brought me the most joy,” Kaltz added.  

The goal of the Edgefield County Literacy Council (ECLC), a branch of the statewide Palmetto State Literacy Association, is to support and promote literacy at the local level. The organization, known previously as the Edgefield Reading Council, collects and donates books to nursing homes and physician waiting rooms, and supports the International Literacy Project, which works to help develop literacy skills in children who live in low income areas around the world.  

“We meet as a local council several times throughout the year and try to keep our meetings light and fun,” stated Edgefield County Literacy Council President Angela Fallaw, who also serves as a kindergarten teacher at JES. “We would love to have some new faces join us. We are very close to meeting our membership goal.”  

Cecilia Sobey, an eighth-grade teacher at Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (JET) Middle School, and the Edgefield County Literacy Council’s Secondary Distinguished Teacher of Literacy of the Year, looks for certain kinds of books to help her students develop a love of reading.

“You have to have literacy to be able to achieve anything in this world,” commented Sobey. “I try to read something that I think is going to be a real hook and leave the students with a cliffhanger so they want more.” 

The ECLC also announced a District Administrator of the Year Award, which went to Edgefield County School District (ECSD) Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Stephanie Wallace.

“It’s always a joy to be surrounded by teachers who are passionate about literacy, education and enhancing student learning,” stated Wallace. “Literacy is more than just reading, and all the Distinguished Teachers of Literacy in this room prove that on a daily basis. They have students collaborating and asking questions and building that information literacy so they can find any information they want, be anything they want to be, and just be great citizens when they leave us for the next stage in their life.”  

School-level winners of the ECLC’s 2022-2023 Distinguished Teacher of Literacy Award included Kaltz, Lisa Ledford (Strom Thurmond High School), Melissa Melick (Merriwether Middle School), Sobey, Morgan Swearingen (Fox Creek High School), Kristen Wells (Merriwether Elementary School), Amy Wilhelm (W.E. Parker Elementary School) and Terrie Yonce (Douglas Elementary School).  

Anyone who would like to join the Edgefield County Literacy Council may do so at www.palmetto state

ECSD Public Information Office