Pun intended, those who know him well, say he’s the “cream of the crop.” That’s because Robert Bollier, Chesterfield County School District Teacher of the Year 2012-13, literally gave up the farm to pursue a career in teaching.
“Upon graduation (from high school), my father offered to give me the family dairy farm if I did not attend college, but I knew where my heart was,” said Bollier. “I wanted to be able to touch the lives of students and see them grow into productive citizens.”
A Texas native, Bollier has spent nearly two decades teaching public school in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He has spent the past seven years at Cheraw High School.
Fellow faculty member Penny Quick, who is the CATE Department Head at Cheraw High School, said, “Robert Bollier is to Cheraw High School what a Clemson Extension Agent would be to any county in the state. He is ‘The Man’ when it comes to all things agricultural.”
“Mr. Bollier brings out the best in all his students who are seeking careers dealing with plants or animals. He is truly one of the best teachers I have ever had,” said Kristina Schultz, a ninth grade student at Cheraw High School.
When asked about his philosophy of education, Bollier said, “I believe that if we understand all our students, encourage them in the classroom, let them know of their potential, and display integrity by leading by example, each teacher is capable of building a more successful and productive citizen through the public education system.”
Each school year, each of Chesterfield County’s 16 schools select a Teacher of the Year to represent them. From these top teachers, the choice for the Chesterfield County District Teacher of the Year is made. Each school district in South Carolina then enters a competition for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year, who represents the state at the national level. The National Teacher of the Year award is sponsored by the ING Foundation and the Target Corporation as a project of the Council of Chief State School Officer.
According to the website for the South Carolina Board of Education, the Teacher of the Year program “celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a district, state, and national level. These awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool. The South Carolina Teacher of the Year serves for one school year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with teacher cadets and teaching fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 48,000 educators.”
Selection processes vary among school districts across the state. In Chesterfield County, the teachers of the year are selected by their peers.
Those chosen as Teacher of the Year at their respective schools include Darlene Butler – Cheraw Intermediate, Kelly Bollman - Long Middle, Olivia Pegues – Cheraw Primary, Sheila Gandy – McBee High, Jon Starling – McBee Elementary, Ann Beasley – Plainview Elementary, Dana Tucker – Chesterfield High, Kitt Lisenby – Chesterfield-Ruby Middle, Rita Bartley – Edwards Elementary, Dee Gaskins – Ruby Elementary, Amy Rutledge – Central High, Trey Gardner – New Heights Middle, Traci Allen – Jefferson Elementary, Gail Wright – Pageland Elementary, and Elizabeth Moss – Petersburg Primary.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, ext. 224, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.