- Whitlock Flex Center
Right Where We Belong! D7's Opens the 2022-2023 School Year!
There is no doubt that all of us in District 7 are right where we belong!
On August 10, we came together as one D7 faculty and staff family - for the first time in THREE years - to celebrate our Opening Convocation and kick off the 2022-2023 school year. Superintendent Jeff Stevens officially kicked off the event with a robust welcome to our 1,300 D7 teachers and staff, gathered at Spartanburg High School on Wednesday morning. The spirited back-to-school pep rally was the perfect opportunity to welcome teachers back from their summer break and set the tone for the year ahead. He encouraged faculty and staff to embrace their sense of belonging, of being family, and to recognize that every student has a place in District 7. “Let’s bring JOY to our students and to one another!” he said.
Our schools processed into the arena with a parade of flags to the driving rhythm of Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion,” led by school leaders and award winners (and yes, there was quite a bit of dancing in the stands as they waved to their fans). The event included performances by the Corporation, the Spartanburg High School Drumline, cheerleaders, and our JROTC cadets and words of inspiration from 2021 D7 Teacher of the Year, Kelli Hardigree, and Spartanburg High School student body president, Ford Daniels.
Opening Convocation would not be complete without the celebration of our Support Staff of the Year, our Crystal Apple and Teachers of the Year awards, along with the BIG announcement of the 2022-2023 District 7 Teacher of the Year, the highest distinction given to a teacher in D7.
Mignona Hall, 2nd grade teacher at Cleveland Academy of Leadership, was named the 2022-2023 D7 Teacher of the Year. Her principal, Marquice Clark highlighted Ms. Hall’s ability to put students at ease and to keep them motivated and focused. Ms. Hall has a special gift of showing her students unconditional love, understanding, and kindness. Hall says the best reward is “seeing her students flourish.”
Our 2022 Teachers of the Year are: Felicia Ratcliffe, Drayton Mills Elementary; Nicole Butler, E.P. Todd School; Nick Drake; Jesse Boyd Elementary; Sherale Smith, Mary H. Wright Elementary; Molly Fisher, Pine Street Elementary; Victoria Carroll, Carver Middle; Earl Diones, McCracken Middle; Hannah Land, Spartanburg High School; Carol Williams; Whitlock Flexible Learning Center and Alina Stephens, McCarthy Teszler School.
Crystal Apple Awards applaud the contributions of outstanding first-year teachers. Our Crystal Apple Award recipients are: Delisha Sarratt, Cleveland Academy of Leadership; Marlene Stephens, Drayton Mills Elementary; Jonathan Frye, E.P. Todd School; Sarah Hodge, Mary H. Wright Elementary; Lathan Sowell, Carver Middle; Ramonte Smith, McCracken Middle; Allison Dunlap, Spartanburg High School and Renee Gist, Whitlock Flexible Learning Center. Congratulations to Ramonte Smith, social studies teacher from McCracken Middle who was also named the district level Crystal Apple Award Winner. This award recognizes the most outstanding first year teacher in D7.
District 7 is also proud to present our Support Staff of the Year. Our 2022 Support Staff Members of the Year are: Mary Elizabeth Evans, Cleveland Academy of Leadership; Joe Broadus, Drayton Mills Elementary; Isela Pineda, E.P. Todd School; Leslie McCoy, Jesse Boyd Elementary; Sonja Tate, Mary H. Wright Elementary; Pamela Netherton, Pine Street Elementary; DuQuan Crawford, Carver Middle; Sergio Sims, McCracken Middle; Sharon Wilson, Spartanburg High School; Kevin Sontag, Whitlock Flex Learning Center; Jessica McKennedy, Dana Owens and Angela Stacey, McCarthy Teszler School; Frankie Ballenger, Bramlin Sarratt and Holly Scott, Transportation; Ronnie Miller, DSOC; and Carey Arnold and Kate Leonard, District Office. These support staff members excel in their commitment and contributions to their school or departments, and it is because of them District 7 runs so smoothly.
Mr. Stevens’ message and this year’s theme – I BELONG IN 7 – emphasizes the importance of authentic, meaningful connections with one another, and most importantly, with our students. As the Corporation sang Pat Benatar’s We Belong, student ambassadors from each school waved I BELONG IN 7 flags while circling the court – they are the reason we BELONG in District 7. “The single greatest strength of this school district is the sense of belonging, of being family, that enables us to make a difference in the lives of our students and families. District 7 is a place for every individual, every talent, every ability, every dream, every background, every perspective. EVERYONE is at home among our D7 family,” said Mr. Stevens.
Thank you, parents, for entrusting District 7 with your children! We are so proud to play a role in shaping their lives. We look forward to a great year!