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Cortney Harless named 2019-20 Darlington County School District Teacher of the Year

on Wednesday, 14 August 2019. Posted in News, Education, Local News

Cortney Harless named 2019-20 Darlington County School District Teacher of the Year
Cortney Harless, a kindergarten teacher at Southside Early Childhood Center, was named the 2019-20 Darlington County School District Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, Aug. 13. Pictured are (from left) Dr. Tim Newman, DCSD Superintendent, and Harless.

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Southside Early Childhood Center’s Cortney Harless will represent Darlington County School District (DCSD) as District Teacher of the Year for 2019-20. The announcement came during the district’s Back-to-School Convocation held Tuesday, Aug. 13, inside Hartsville High School’s Arena.

Harless is a 5K teacher at Southside Early Childhood Center. She earned the selection after an intensive judging period that included an application process and a face-to-face panel interview. 

Superintendent Dr. Tim Newman made the announcement in front of all the district’s educators and employees. 

“Ms. Harless represents exactly the sort of nurturing and compassionate educator we want in the Darlington County School District,” Newman said. “She recognizes the importance of ‘meeting our students where they are.’ On behalf of the district, I congratulate her on this prestigious honor, and I look forward to working with her as we continue to move our district forward.”

Harless holds a Master of Education in Instructional Accommodations from Francis Marion University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Youngstown State University. She began teaching in DCSD in 2017, and she has 11 years of early childhood teaching experience. 

She explained her philosophy of teaching in an extended application required for consideration.

“In many cases, my classroom is one of the first classroom my students will ever step foot into, not to mention the first classroom their parents well ever leave their ‘babies’ for the day,” she wrote. “Therefore, I feel it is extremely important to develop a mutually respectful and honest relationship with my students and their families. …A classroom is like an extended family, and once this foundation is established, I have the ability to accomplish several major goals.”  

Judges, which included former teachers, district administrators and community leaders, selected Harless from five finalists. The four remaining finalists will serve as the district’s 2019-20 Honor Roll Teachers of the Year. They are:

  • ·Kinsey Johnson, Brunson-Dargan Elementary School
  • ·Danielle Watkins, Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology
  • ·Carmen Blakney, Pate Elementary School
  • ·Monique Brown, St. John’s Elementary School

Judges selected the five finalists from the pool of 2019-20 School Teachers of the Year. These peer-selected teachers will serve on the district’s Teacher Forum and Leadership Council, acting as teacher leaders and advisers for the district. 


All 23 School Teachers of the Year are: 

  • ·Casey Sanders, Brockington Elementary Magnet School
  • ·Kinsey Johnson, Brunson-Dargan Elementary School
  • ·Lauren Prosser, Cain Elementary School
  • ·Melesa Creamer, Carolina Elementary School
  • ·Bert Beasley, Darlington County Institute of Technology
  • ·Anitra Caldwell, Darlington County Intervention School
  • ·Kristen Johnson, Darlington High School
  • ·Nena McConnell, Darlington Middle School
  • ·Cameron Watkins, Hartsville High School
  • ·Marlin Ketter, Hartsville Middle School
  • ·Tara Amerson, Lamar Elementary School
  • ·Toni Anderson, Lamar High School
  • ·Danielle Watkins, Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology
  • ·Bethany Perry, North Hartsville Elementary School
  • ·Carmen Blakney, Pate Elementary School
  • ·Karen James Wilson, Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School
  • ·Cortney Harless, Southside Early Childhood Center
  • ·Phoebie Heustess, Spaulding Elementary School
  • ·Shawntell Bull, Spaulding Middle School
  • ·Monique Brown, St. John’s Elementary School
  • ·Patricia McKinley, Thornwell School for the Arts
  • ·Jessica Lyerly, Washington Street Elementary School
  • ·Jazziman Parker, West Hartsville Elementary School