State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman surprised Pee Dee Elementary teacher Beth Hendrick on Tuesday with the news that she’s in the top five finalists for the state Teacher of the Year honor.
“I am so surprised, amazed, and feel super blessed,” Hendrick said. “I’m so proud to represent my school. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher – this is like a dream come true.”
Hendrick is the Horry County Schools 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year, and as a top five finalist for the state competition she received a $10,000 prize.
If she were to win the state Teacher of the Year honor, she would get an additional $25,000 and a lease on a new BMW vehicle.
The final state competition will take place on May 5 in Columbia.
“This really is an award for the whole district, the whole school,” Spearman said. “It’s a huge honor for the entire HCS community. It’s [surprising teachers for awards] is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a big day to celebrate.”
District 11 board member Shanda Allen and District 7 member Janet Graham were also in attendance, as they share this school in their district areas.
“I am very proud,” Allen said.
PDES Principal Christina Plowman was just as surprised as Hendrick when Spearman, HCS Superintendent Rick Maxey and a crowd of school employees and media arrived at PDES.
“I was shocked and proud. I knew we had state-level winner types of teachers at PDES already, it is what makes PDES a great school,” Plowman said.
As the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher for Pee Dee Elementary, Hendrick is responsible for teaching all grade levels.
After teaching first grade at a bilingual mission school in Honduras after college, she decided teaching was what she wanted to do with her life.
“It was just eye-opening. I realized it was my passion,” Hendrick said after winning the local competition.
Born and raised in Horry County, Hendrick attended Winthrop University and received her undergraduate degree in elementary education, and got her master’s degree in teaching language learners from the College of Charleston.
She said in 2019 that she feels like she “has the best kids in the whole world”, and loves her students.
“I feel like they just make everything worth it. Just seeing those lightbulbs every day and really helping them to be successful,” Hendrick said. “We know how important education is, but [so is] just trying to get them to realize that they 'can’, and empower them to just be successful and figure out what their passion is, and their purpose in life.”
She is married to her husband, Brian, and she has two sons, Noah and Luke. She said she hopes to possibly buy a minivan with her winnings.
Hendrick told My Horry News last year that she knows the classroom is where she is meant to be.
“I’m driven every day because God has called me to be a teacher and it’s part of my life’s purpose. This gives me a passion for what I do every day,” she said.
Nominate a teacher in Horry County for our Teacher of the Month campaign, sponsored by Sparks Toyota. The teacher with the most votes will win a plaque, $50 prize from Sparks Toyota, and a follow-up story in our local papers! The ballot resets every month! Use link to participate: https://bit.ly/3rawzwp