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South Carolina Connections Academy Teacher Named 2011–12 Teacher of the Year

South Carolina Public Charter School District Honors Virtual School Teacher  Kelly McNally with Distinguished Award

COLUMBIA, SC (May 18, 2011) — Kelly McNally, first grade teacher at South Carolina Connections Academy (SCCA) a leading statewide virtual charter school, was named the 2011–12 Teacher of the Year by the South Carolina Public Charter School District. The award was announced at the charter district’s annual dinner on May 13.  South Carolina Connections Academy is a tuition-free virtual public school that serves students in grades K–12 throughout the state.

“Given the incredible amount of teaching talent in our district, this is both humbling and an honor,” McNally said. “I look forward to proudly representing the students, teachers, and families of this outstanding public school district.”

McNally, of Greenville, was one of 11 teachers nominated for this title from across the South Carolina Public Charter School District, which is comprised of 11 total charter schools including five virtual. McNally was selected by a panel of judges that included educational professionals and former educators. Among the judges was the 2010 South Carolina Public Charter School District Teacher of the Year.

When it comes to educational philosophy, McNally is an advocate of constructivism learning, where students develop knowledge and skills through the interaction of ideas and direct experience. “Interaction in a virtual classroom is more individualized, allowing me to get to know my students and their families better,” McNally said. “My strongest belief is that learning should be meaningful and fun.”  McNally will submit her application in January to represent South Carolina Connections Academy and the public charter school district in the statewide competition to be named the 2012–13 South Carolina Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in next spring.

“South Carolina Connections Academy is extremely proud of Kelly and her accomplishments, and is honored to have her as a teacher,” SCCA Principal Allison Reaves said. “As a virtual educator, Kelly is committed to the academic success of all of her students, and providing them the best education possible. She takes the time to ensure her students are well-rounded and actively seeks strategies and professional development opportunities to better meet the educational and social needs of our students.”

South Carolina Public Charter School District Superintendent Wayne Brazell commended McNally on this great achievement and honor.

“We had absolutely marvelous candidates and the competition was especially tough this year. For Kelly to receive this award, really speaks to the exceptional teacher she is,” he said. “I am just thrilled that we have another virtual school teacher named Teacher of the Year. It means that virtual schools are becoming recognized as an integral part of the education system in South Carolina.”

McNally has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and education from Western New England College, and is working on her Master of Arts in school leadership from Furman University. She has eight years of teaching experience, and is getting ready to finish up her second year with South Carolina Connections Academy.

South Carolina Connections Academy, launched in the fall of 2009, is the state’s first virtual school and serves students in grades K–12 from across the state. As a public charter school, there are no fees to attend. Hallmarks of the program include individualized learning, certified South Carolina teachers,  rigorous implementation of state curriculum, state-of-the art technology, and engaging clubs and activities and other social experiences—both in-person and online.

Information sessions are underway for parents and students interested in learning more about South Carolina Connections Academy. Enrollment is open for those students who would like to attend South Carolina Connections Academy for the 2011–12 school year.

About Connections Academy

Connections Academy is a leading, fully accredited provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual schooling for students in grades K through 12. Through tuition-free public schools, and full-time and part-time private school programs, Connections Academy delivers superior, personalized education for students, with the freedom and flexibility to experience our online learning community from anywhere. The combination of certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. In the 2011–2012 school year, Connections Academy will serve students in 22 states via 23 virtual public schools. It serves students worldwide through the online private school, National Connections Academy. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some public school programs do not offer all grades. Connections Academy is a division of Connections Education LLC. For more information, call 800–382–6010 or visit www.ConnectionsAcademy.com. To speak with someone at South Carolina Connections Academy, call 803–212–4712.