District Five teacher assistant receives statewide award

Kayla Garrett, a kindergarten assistant at Piney Woods Elementary School in Lexington-Richland School District Five, has been honored with the 2023-2024 Alternative Pathways for Educator Certification (APEC) Professional Commitment Award.

This prestigious award recognizes Garrett’s exceptional commitment to learning and professional growth within the APEC program. As the recipient of this award, she has demonstrated dedication and outstanding performance in her field experience and coursework.

Expressing her gratitude, Garrett said, “I am so grateful and overjoyed to be the recipient of the APEC Professional Commitment Award. This recognition means the world to me! Winning this award has only fueled my enthusiasm and determination to continue making meaningful contributions in teaching! I am eager to build upon this achievement and contribute even more positively in the future.”

Garrett holds an undergraduate degree in English from the University of South Carolina and is currently pursuing a master’s degree from Columbia College in Divergent Learning and Innovative Instruction, set to be completed in December 2024. She plans to apply for certification in Early Childhood Education by the end of May.

The APEC program offers an alternative pathway to teacher certification, ideal for career changers and school district employees seeking certification while balancing work commitments. Participants can pursue degrees in various education areas, including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle-Level Education, Secondary Math, Secondary English, and Multicategorical Special Education.

Dr. Reggie Wicker, Director of Human Resources at School District Five, emphasized the district’s commitment to supporting the professional growth of individuals aspiring to become certified teachers through programs like APEC. He stated, “The APEC program allows School District Five to support the professional growth of talented, committed individuals who are employed in support roles and aspire to gain teacher certification.”

School District Five will host an event on April 25, 2024, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies, providing information on alternative pathways to teacher certification. Colleges and alternative certification resources will be available to assist attendees interested in pursuing a career in teaching. Registration for the event is encouraged and can be done at www.tinyurl.com/d5certified.

To learn more about the APEC program or to apply, individuals can visit Columbia College’s APEC website.