The Charleston County School District (CCSD) recently announced five teachers as their finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year. The fact that three of the five are College of Charleston alumni doesn’t surprise Frances Welch. As dean of the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, Welch has seen many promising students graduate from the College on their way to a career in education.
“Our graduates are well-prepared as educators because we have outstanding faculty members who work well in partnership with schools and school districts,” she says. “I am very proud of our CCSD Teacher of the Year finalists and the important work they do every day.”
The three College of Charleston finalists, detailed below, are Natasha Akery ’09, Chakadasovavan Or ’19 and Kory Roberts ’19. The three teachers each received flowers and a certificate from CCSD Interim Superintendent Donald R. Kennedy shortly after receiving word of being finalists. The school district will announce the winner of the 2022 Teacher of the Year in May.
Natasha Akery ’09
Teaching is a second career for Akery. She joined the profession in 2017 through an alternative certification process. She has filled the roles of English instructor and diversity coach at Academic Magnet High School since 2020. She previously worked at Military Magnet Academy.
Akery is a 2009 College of Charleston graduate with a degree in religious studies. She is pursuing her master of science at the International Institute for Restorative Practices.
Akery is a member of multiple professional organizations including Teacher2Teacher (national social media network for educators) and #HipHopEd (virtual professional learning community).
In her role at Academic Magnet, Akery designs and facilitates professional development for administrators, faculty and staff pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. Akery also facilitates professional development for CCSD English language arts and social studies teachers inspired by culturally responsive teaching and restorative practices.
Chakadasovavan Or ’19
Or is a third grade teacher at Julian Mitchell Elementary School. He received his degree in elementary education and a minor in political science from the College of Charleston. This is his third year teaching at Mitchell.
Or’s area of interest in education is addressing poverty and environmental factors that disrupt a child’s full potential to receive a quality education, and he is currently pursuing his M.Ed. in Teaching, Learning and Advocacy (MTLA) at the College of Charleston. Through this program, Or hopes to be able to find ways to support the scholars at Mitchell and advocate for their needs.
Or is trained in restorative circles and is a member of the South Carolina Education Association and a leader of a math professional learning community. He was recognized as the 2021 Avery Research Center Teacher of the Year and a 2020 CCSD Rookie Teacher of the Year, and received the 2020 Guiding Light Excellence Award.
Kory Roberts ’19
Roberts teaches fifth grade at Memminger Elementary School. Roberts, a third-year teacher, graduated from College of Charleston in 2019 with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. Additionally, Roberts was part of the Call Me MISTER program and is a Boys With a Purpose advocate.
Roberts participated in CCSD’s summer residency program before joining Memminger’s staff. Roberts has been involved with several organizations, like Boys With a Purpose, that lift up students of poverty in high-risk situations. He is frequently asked to serve on committees and has been helpful in teacher recruitment efforts.
Roberts held a position on the CCSD Teacher Cabinet and has served as a teacher-leader in summer enrichment camps. He is currently on the 2022 Planning Committee for CCSD’s Summer Enrichment Program.