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Scholar named Teacher of the Year
RHHS American literature teacher picked among nine nominees
Teacher of the Year
Richmond Hill High School teacher Chris Scholar, left, receives the District-Wide Teacher of the Year award from Bryan County School Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher on Thursday at Bryan County High School. - photo by Brent Zell

Chris Scholar wasn’t just surprised he won the Bryan County District-wide Teacher of the Year Award. He said he’s “not so sure I deserved to win.”

Others disagreed, obviously, as Scholar, an American-literature teacher at Richmond Hill High School, received the trophy during the Nov. 19 Board of Education meeting at Bryan County High School.

Nine nominees — one from each school in the district (McAllister Elementary didn’t open until this school year) — were up for the district-wide honor.

“It could’ve been anyone in that room, to be honest with you,” he said during a phone interview Monday. “All the teachers from the various schools were worthy.”

That fits with what RHHS Principal Debi McNeal said while presenting her school’s Teacher of the Year Award to Scholar, whom she described as “ever so humble.” She also described Scholar as on “Team Kids First,” further saying he’s “simply awesome, and we’re lucky to have him.”

A self-described Air Force brat, Scholar lived all over the world — born in Detroit, lived in Europe for 12 years total, graduated from high school in Texas — before coming to the Savannah area. He got his degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University and student-taught at RHHS. Fourteen years later, he’s still there. For his first 10 years there, he taught ninth-grade English before focusing on American literature the past four. He cited RHHS for being a good school with great kids and a supportive administration and board.

“It’s an ideal situation for a teacher to be in,” he said.

Scholar described his teaching style as extemporaneous and himself as “not a guy who is married to the podium.” During his classes — he is in charge of three 90-minute classes each day — he employs varying activities to keep the students engaged the entire time. Scholar said he usually opens with an activity and a bit of instruction before turning things over to a student-directed activity. Then, they come together at the end of class to “tie up loose ends and make sure concepts are going over,” he said.

What it comes down to, Scholar said, is a teacher’s connection with the students.

“Have good, strong, easy-going rapport with kids, the rest of it takes care of itself,” he said.

All district-honor candidates were named the Teacher of the Year for their schools. Other candidates were:

- Erin Warren, Lanier Primary;

- Devon Morrison, Bryan County Elementary;

- Gina Campbell, Bryan County Middle;

- Joe Holloway, Bryan County High;

- Renna Dasher, Richmond Hill Primary;

- Stephanie Kerns, Richmond Hill Elementary;

- Kellie Smith, George Washington Carver Elementary; and

- Alisha Bowden, Richmond Hill Middle.

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