5 finalists chosen for Horry County Teacher of the Year award

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Five finalists have been chosen to represent Horry County Schools as its 2025 teacher of the year.

They are Joey Hernandez from the Academy for the Arts, Science & Technology; Sandra Matthews from Conway Elementary School; Brook Hall from Loris High School; Katie Suggs from Socastee Elementary School; and Chad Hamilton from St. James Middle Middle School.

  • Joey Hernandez
    Joey Hernandez
  • Sandra Matthews
    Sandra Matthews
  • Brooke Hall
    Brooke Hall
  • Katie Suggs
    Katie Suggs
  • Chad Hamilton
    Chad Hamilton

One of the five will be named the district’s teacher of the year in May. The process began in November when 55 teachers were recognized by their peers at their respective schools, making them eligible for the annual award.

A selection committee then narrowed the list to 10 semifinalists after reviewing written applications. The final finalists were chosen after the committee looked at their portfolios and conducted interviews.

The district has recognized a teacher of the year since 1976, according to information on its website. Emma Lynn Cain from Pee Dee Elementary School was the district’s 2024 Teacher of the Year.

Two have gone on to become the South Carolina Teacher of the Year — Michelle Renee Atkinson from Aynor High School in 2024 and Jennifer Ainsworth from Socastee High School in 2015. Six others also became finalists for the state award.

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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.

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