Back-to-School Celebration 2017

Teacher and Support Employee of the Year Announced
Posted on 08/14/2017
Back-to-School Celebration

The School District of Pickens County announced the new Teacher and Support Employee of the Year at our 2017 Back-to-School Celebration on August 14. Debra Harris, a teacher at West End Elementary School, is the new Teacher of the Year, and Barrett Rampey, a technology assistant at Liberty Elementary School, is the new Support Employee of the Year.  

Debra Harris pictureHarris is the lead STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher at West End Elementary School, and she has been instrumental helping other teachers implement the Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum at West End and other schools in Pickens County.

In a recommendation letter for the award, one of Harris’ colleagues wrote: “Debra pours into each of us with laughter, words of encouragement, and sometimes even classroom support to ensure that we are teaching at our best capacity and our students are gaining access to passionate, creative educators. I can’t imagine someone I’d want to teach next to any more than Debra.”

Last year, Harris was one of only 40 teachers worldwide to earn the prestigious Teacher Excellence Award from the International Technology and Engineering Educator Association.

Barrett Rampey pictureRampey began work at Liberty Elementary after a seven-year career in law enforcement and has also served as the president of the school’s PTO. In a recommendation letter for the award, one of Rampey’s colleagues wrote: “The most important quality I think Mrs. Rampey shows is the ability to have a meaningful relationship with all the students throughout the school day. Whether it is in the computer lab, at lunch, in ISS, at car duty, in the library, on field trips, at afterschool events, or out in the community, she lets them know that she knows their name, cares about them, and wants them to be the best they can be.”

The keynote speaker at the celebration was Daniel High School alumnus Tommy Preston Jr. 

Tommy Preston pictureMr. Preston is Director of National Strategy and Engagement and Government Operations at Boeing South Carolina. Prior to his career at Boeing, Preston practiced law with Nexsen Pruitt, LLC in Columbia. He attended college at the University of South Carolina where he was elected Student Body President and earned the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the highest honor awarded to a USC student. He was recently named one of the community's "20 under 40 Leaders" by The State newspaper. This morning he told teachers that Central Elementary School "was where I learned to dream big!" Mr. Preston has embodied our district motto: Building Success Beyond the Classroom.


Harris and Rampey, as well as each school’s teacher and support employee of the year, were recognized at the SDPC Back-to-School Celebration at Easley High School. The SDPC Support Employee of the Year award comes with a $250 bonus, and the SDPC Teacher of the Year Award comes with a $500 bonus. The SDPC teacher of the year is also eligible to apply for South Carolina Teacher of the Year.