Lynn Shelton was nominated by Jenny Mitchell, the parent of a student.
"Shelton's Super Heroes." That's what Ms. Shelton has always called the students in her class. Year after year, for 45 years, her students have lived up to that title because she made sure they achieved goals that made them feel like real-life super heroes. The attention to detail in her classroom might escape you, but the desks are arranged so that every sensory need is addressed, and the noise level is attended to in every activity. Key words are spoken with kindness, and Ms. Shelton is somehow everywhere. Sometimes with a light touch, sometimes a stern look, sometimes deep eye contact, but always with love.
"Lynn knows she has made an impact on her students' successes through the years, not just because she hears it so often while they are in her charge, but because she regularly has contact with students and families from every class in every school where she has taught," said Mitchell. "We will be one of those families. I will be the Mom who keeps her updated on my son's progress over the years, and he will be a student who will report his achievements to Mrs. Shelton because she genuinely wants to know. She was instrumental in ensuring he had a real launching pad and the tools he needed to soar. She'll want to hear that he's carrying out her rallying cry, 'Be the best you can be!'"
Throughout her years at York Road Elementary, Ms. Shelton has been an ambassador for the school and the teaching profession by serving as a mentor for over 40 student interns from 3 separate colleges. In addition, she hosted high school seniors in her classroom for years for the Rock Hill School District Teacher Cadet Program. She has always been proud to be a special needs teacher. She has taken great pride in sharing her expertise and love for her school with students who would soon choose a college major. What better way to recruit talented teachers with a heart for exceptional children than by modeling outstanding teaching skills, a strong moral compass, and sharing amazing results?
"As young educators entered the work force following graduation, Lynn served in mentor and evaluator roles for first and second year teachers once again," said Mitchell. "I can only imagine her pride in knowing that she positively impacted so many young lives and advanced the teaching profession in the process. It's a small wonder that she was selected Teacher of the Year for York Road."
Ms. Shelton has carried her leadership ability and commitment to her students deep into the Rock Hill community, as well. Since 1973, she has participated in the Special Olympics every single year.
"I have been privileged to see first hand the joy this participation has brought to her students. It was heartwarming to witness her with just as much excitement on her face as there was on the faces of her student athletes," said Mitchell. "Even after 47 years, her enthusiasm has never changed."
Ms. Shelton further served the Rock Hill special needs community as an officer of the local branch of the Council for Exceptional Children. Her advocacy and leadership certainly were not limited to her home town. At the state level, she was an active member of the South Carolina Education Association. She also served as a member of the South Carolina Department of Education committees for the development of SC Alternative Assessment and extended state standards. Further, as a National Board-certified teacher for 20 years, she served as a National board Evaluator. Her commitment to the teaching profession runs deep. The extent of the impact she has made in the areas of recruitment, training, development and advocacy cannot be measured.
"On a purely personal note, Lynn has been a mentor to me as the mother of a spirited, smart special needs child," said Mitchell. "She has respectfully guided me along my own path as an advocate for my son; sometimes with redirection, sometimes with a pat on the back, but always with a reminder that I was doing well. It has been life-changing to have had a teacher with decades of proven success with exceptional children take me and my son by the hand. I count myself among her students."