Oak Grove Elementary’s Bartolotti named Lexington One Teacher of the Year

By Natalie Szrajer
Posted 4/4/24

Lexington County School District One has named their district Teacher of the Year, Oak Grove Elementary’s Cheryl Bartolotti.

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Oak Grove Elementary’s Bartolotti named Lexington One Teacher of the Year


Lexington County School District One has named their district Teacher of the Year, Oak Grove Elementary’s Cheryl Bartolotti.

This announcement and celebration was held March 27 at White Knoll High’s Performing Arts Center. Bartolotti was chosen among the 31 school-level teachers of the year from each district’s school and will go on to compete in next year’s state level Teacher of the Year program.

The New Jersey native is in her third year teaching first grade at Oak Grove Elementary. This is also her third year teaching in the state at a school where she says they’ve welcomed her “with open arms.”

Bartolotti stumbled into teaching but once she fell into it, she realized she had a passion for teaching. 

“I took the less traveled road. I was in minor league baseball and always had a love for teaching and coaching,” Bartolotti said. “That led me to the early childhood field and I had a heart for working with younger kids.”

She says working with younger kids allows her to teach not only academic skills but life skills which is “rewarding.” 

Teaching first grade has rejuvenated Bartolotti, she said, adding, “I’ve fell in love with first grade.”

When asked what sets her classroom apart, she said, “For me it starts with building a positive start. It’s so important and valuable. From starting with morning meetings and having them share and embrace each other. We’re big on eye contact and greeting each other and building a classroom community. Without that, we can’t experience other successes.”

Those other successes Bartolotti recounts are the everyday moments students achieve whether it’s academically or socially. For Bartolotti, what makes teaching special are “the special moments for me with growth from the beginning to the end of year.”

With first grade being such a foundational year, Bartolotti explains, “The moment of seeing the students’ progress is my biggest reward. I have much pride in what I do. Individual achievements are great... but connecting with others, helping others. That’s why I do it.”

Bartolotti is also a math model teacher and gets a chance to connect with teachers all over the district. “To help others help students grow and teachers grow beats any individual recognition. I couldn’t get recognized if not for the team I’m surrounded by,” she said.

This is Bartolotti’s second year being a math model. Every grade level has one or needs one and it’s a chance for teachers to collaborate and strategize about ways to bring math problems to life. There is also an English/language arts model as well. 

“If we want to be effective, we have to keep the door open and embrace chance. Seeing is believing I say,” she said.

Lexington One’s Teacher of the Year judging goes through two rounds. The first round is where the 31 school-level teachers of the year submit a written application to specific questions, according to Lexington One’s press release. 

Next, another team of judges observes each school’s Teacher of the Year in the classroom where there is a rubric for scoring applications. 

The 10 finalists who were narrowed down from the school level honorees are: Carolina Springs Middle’s Sonora Williams; Centerville Elementary’s Pam Glover; Lake Murray Elementary’s Ashely Kendall; Lakeside Middle’s Erin Smith; Lexington Technology Center’s Melissa Boehler; Meadow Glen Middle’s Jenny Farmer, Oak Grove Elementary’s Cheryl Bartolotti; Pleasant Hill Elementary’s Catherine Hood; Pelion Elementary’s Evan Thompson; and Rocky Creek Elementary’s Brittany Talwin.

Each of the school level teachers of the year are: Beechwood Middle’s Angela Kruger, Carolina Springs Elementary’s Alison Young, Deerfield Elementary’s Nicole Barker, Forts Pond Elementary’s Bethany Bastedo, Gilbert Elementary’s Morgan F. Humphries, Gilbert High’s Mihaela Gutu, Gilbert Middle’s Jessica V. Handy, Lexington Elementary’s Alysa B. Smith, Lexington High’s Ashley J. Miller, Meadow Glen Elementary’s Michael R. Frank, Midway Elementary’s Kelly K. Parker, New Providence Elementary’s Jessica Allen, Pelion High’s Jesse Zeaser, Pelion Middle’s Angela N. Arthur, Pleasant Hill Middle’s Mallory L. Huffstetler, Red Bank Elementary’s Yenobis Co Amundaray De Galan, River Bluff High’s Benjamin R. Lee, Saxe Gotha Elementary’s Jane Eliza A. Chisholm, White Knoll Elementary’s Caroline Wallace, White Knoll High’s Dr. Craig D. Wheatley and White Knoll Middle’s Dr. Christen T. Legette.

Lexington County School District One, Teacher of the Year, Oak Grove Elementary, Cheryl Bartolotti


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