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As someone born and raised in Greenville County, I’m a product of the public school system here.

I was fortunate to have some great educators supporting me as I navigated the murky waters of childhood, puberty and heart-wrenching loss growing up. I doubt I would have had the confidence to pursue a career in writing if not for the encouragement of teachers like Karen Kennedy — who is now an educator at Greenville Technical Charter High School — or Linda Kelly, who went on to retire and help create Mice on Main. Both pushed the shy, quiet girl I used to be to see that I might have a talent for the written word, and more than 20 years later, here I am.

Hopefully, you also have one or two teachers in your background who profoundly impacted your success as a student, and so will your children.

Each January, Upstate Parent honors 10 local educators nominated by our readers. We read every nomination — and this year, there were more than we’ve received in the five years since we started this feature. Then, we made the tough decisions of which great teachers to recognize.

We look for the educators who are great at teaching children the skills they need to be a success but who also go above and beyond that duty. These are the teachers who make it obvious they also care about the students they teach.

This year’s group of educators range from elementary, middle and high school levels, and each has a compelling story to share.

Thank you to all of the readers who took the time to nominate their child’s teacher, and we especially want to thank all of the wonderful teachers working hard to inspire our students in today’s world. Congratulations to these 10 honorees! You'll find their profiles linked below.

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Read or Share this story: http://www.upstateparent.com/story/life/family/2017/01/02/educators-make-difference/96077746/