Four Beaufort County school administrators can go on to compete for a statewide award after they were named 2022 Principal or Assistant Principal of the Year for the district, according to a press release.
The winners, who come from the county’s elementary and middle schools, were named at the district’s Summer Institute, an annual three-day professional development conference. The statewide award will consider finalists from participating school districts in South Carolina and choose three principals, from elementary all the way up to high school, who will be honored.
The announcement comes just days after the district announced its five finalists for Teacher of the Year for the 2022-23 school year. The district’s teacher of the year award will be announced in the fall.
The winners are:
Michelle Sackman, principal at Beaufort Elementary School
Cynthia Laizer, assistant principal at Red Cedar Elementary School
Brian Ryman, principal at River Ridge Academy
Kyctrell Swinton-Atkins, assistant principal at Whale Branch Middle School
Sackman has spent two of her three decades as an educator in Beaufort County. She previously worked as an elementary school literacy coach and classroom teacher for gifted students before becoming an assistant principal within the district. She began her stint as principal of Beaufort Elementary in 2017.
Laizer has been with the district since 1997, when she first moved to South Carolina. In 2009, the same year Red Cedar opened, she started working at the school as an instructional coach. She took her position as assistant principal at the school in 2018.
During his time as principal At River Ridge Academy, a Bluffton middle school, Ryman has developed an environment that focuses on students as a “whole” by supporting growth both socially and emotionally as well as academically, he said in his introduction profile on the school’s website.
Swinton-Atkins can be described as a “fierce leader” who cares for both students and parents as well as her staff, according Whale Branch Elementary School Principal Jamie Allen, and isn’t afraid to jump in and lend a helping hand where needed. Being named a winner for the district “felt amazing,” Swinton-Atkins said via her Twitter page.