Elizabeth Supan, a 21-year education veteran, former teacher at J.D. Lever and now a teacher at Aiken Elementary School, was highly honored Monday at a banquet as the new Aiken County School District Teacher of the Year.
She succeeds Lisa Raiford, the outgoing teacher of the year and a special education instructor at the Center for Innovative Learning at Pinecrest.
Supans’ successes that led to her nomination and ultimately, her win, speak for themselves as well as the high praise she received from her students and peers. She was met with applause on her first day back at work Tuesday after receiving the honor, and one student took the time to make and present her with a card congratulating her.
“She’s really nice and fun,” said one of her students, Kate Bradford. “She’s really good at teaching stuff and helping you.”
Supan described education as the tool that enables young people to become successful.
“I believe that each student is a nurturing educational environment in which to grow intellectually as well as emotionally and socially, while being held to very high standards,” she said before the Monday event.
And her activities in the classroom display just that.
She currently teaches math in 90-minute blocks, and said, “Math has evolved, especially with Common Core. The idea is to get our children to think about math and figure out how a problem was solved. It’s not 15 years ago when it was simple computation. I take a lot of time outside of school researching for best practices — looking at YouTube songs and videos as ways to get kids moving.”
Principal Becky Koelker said what makes Supan great is that she’s a lifelong learner and always interested in honing her craft,
“You can’t teach your students everything,” she said. “You have to impart on them a thirst for learning and find out what they need to do,”Koelker said Mrs. Supan does that with great enthusiasm. She’s also a leader, and I put her on the leadership team the day I walked through the door.”
It’s also worth noting the six chosen finalists, known as the Honor Court. In addition to Supan, they are Loretta Childress, Greendale Elementary School; Tamara Butler, Hammond Hill Elementary School; Kathleen Langston, Redcliffe Elementary School; Amelia “Em” Ligon, Aiken High School; and Karey Santos, Millbrook Elementary School.
The Aiken Standard joins the Aiken County School District and Aiken’s Public Education Partners in congratulating Supan on a job well done, and an honor well-bestowed.