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Elizabeth Bliss was destined to have a career working with kids.

“I was the youngest of seven children,” she said. “Being around children was always a part of my life.”

Bliss has been a teacher for 15 years, with 12 of those years at Bells Crossing Elementary in Simpsonville, where she teaches first grade. She is married and has three young children.

“It means even more to me now because I have a first grader,” she said. “I can relate even more to the children in my classroom and their parents because I’m going through the same thing. I take pride in building a strong rapport with my students and building that classroom community. I treat them like my own children.”

Bliss said first grade is a transition year for students. She feels honored to be a part of it.

“During the school year, I get more awake time with them than their parents do,” she said. “I try to think about what I would want for my own children. A lot of times, children are coming to public school for the first time. Having the children feel comfortable in class and trying to integrate those social skills, too – we have a lot of different folks in class and we make it work.”

Bliss said her joy is fed by seeing students learn.

“They are enthusiastic about learning and I try to build on that,” she said.

Nomination excerpt:

“Our daughter, who is in first grade, has difficulty with speech and has been taking speech classes from school. Last year she was made fun of by her peers due to her speech. It absolutely broke my heart and we went to great lengths to keep it from happening, but it continued throughout her year. She was embarrassed to read, and she was embarrassed to speak. However, first grade came and we immediately fell in love with Mrs. Bliss. I spoke to her about our child's difficulties. Mrs. Bliss ensured me that bullying would not be tolerated. The first week of school, she read her class age appropriate books about kindness, books about speech difficulties, and books about being a good friend. Our daughter has thrived in her class. Our daughter is now a reader, and she loves to read!”

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