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Greenville Middle School teacher Nicole Shartzer was honored as an outstanding educator in a presentation at the school today by the South Carolina Education Association.

Shartzer, a special education teacher, was surprised by the honor during a noon luncheon at the school, according to Beth Brotherton, director of communications for Greenville County Schools. 

Shartzer has been working with the school's food and nutrition services staff to teach her special education students life skills, including food preparation. She and her students, with help from staff, worked this morning to prepare a special Thanksgiving buffet for her students' parents and the school's faculty and staff. During the luncheon, representatives from the South Carolina Education Association presented Shartzer with the award.

Greenville Middle principal Nicky Andrews, who nominated Shartzer for the award, said she did so because of the excellent example Shartzer sets for other educators.

"She creates an inviting and supportive environment where all kids can succeed," Andrews said. "She’s knowledgeable and collaborative, and currently serves as a mentor to a new teacher. Today, our special needs students, through collaboration with our Food and Nutrition Services department, worked alongside the students in the three special education classrooms at Greenville Middle Academy to prepare and serve their annual Thanksgiving meal to their families."  

Shartzer often mentors first-year teachers and has helped foster a positive relationship between special education students and other students at the school, Brotherton added.

She has taught a self-contained special education class at Greenville Middle for three years and has taught special education for 10 years, according to her teacher's website. 

Jackie Hicks, a past president of The SCEA, presented Shartzer with her certificate of recognition, a bouquet of flowers, a $100 gift card, and a cake to share with her fellow educators as well as another cake to take home for her friends and family.

“The South Carolina Education Association is grateful for educators like Ms. Shartzer and principals like Mrs. Nicky Andrews, as well as everyone on the staff here at Greenville Middle Academy, who make sure every single student have the resources they need to grow and learn,” Hicks said.

The SCEA honored Shartzer as part of the National Education Association's 96th annual American Education Week celebration, Nov. 13-17.

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