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Aiken County names Teacher of the Year

Educator brings sense of magic to classroom

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AIKEN --- Bringing traditional reading to life with funny voices and hand gestures to engage pupils made Hammond Hill Elementary fifth-grade teacher Nikki Mock stand out from her peers and earn the title of Aiken County Teacher of the Year.

Nikki Mock, who works at Hammond Hill Elementary School, was named Aiken County Teacher of the Year Monday night.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Nikki Mock, who works at Hammond Hill Elementary School, was named Aiken County Teacher of the Year Monday night.

Mock was awarded the honor Monday at Newberry Hall by the Aiken County School District.

"I have found a magic kingdom ... where if we can dream it, we can do it," Mock said of her classroom in her application.

Mock, who is in her fifth year of teaching, is known as the one who doesn't shy away from being goofy and embracing her inner nerd if it means sharing her love of reading.

Her class was even the inspiration for New York Times best-selling author Michael Buckley's N.E.R.D.S. series, which he dedicated to Mock and her students.

"I am truly blessed," Mock said during a speech to fellow teachers after receiving her award.

Mock said she's rewarded more in one day in the classroom than a year in a traditional job.

Each section of her application began with inspirational quotes from Walt Disney, which she uses in the classroom to share the idea that learning really can be magic.

Mock credits her parents and Principal Janet Vaughan for never saying no, even when she changed careers to become a teacher.

Mock earned a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of South Carolina Aiken and worked as a reporter before earning her master's degree in education from Southern Wesleyan University.

Beth Eberhard, an Aiken Elementary fifth-grade science and social studies teacher, was also awarded the Public Education Partners Champion Award for innovation.

She will receive $1,000 to be put toward classroom supplies.

Mock is the third Area 2 teacher in four years to win Teacher of the Year. She will spend the next year representing Aiken County throughout the state and will compete for South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

The following teachers were named as members of the honor court: Linda Harmon, of Aiken High; Elizabeth Eberhard, of Aiken Elementary; Esther Blake, of Chukker Creek Elementary; and Suman Marks-Johnson, of North Augusta High.

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KSL 09/14/10 - 02:23 am
Congratulations to the

Congratulations to the recipient of this award. One of my best friends won it the first year of her teaching in the Aiken County school system years ago.

I will withhold my comments on the attire for this event chosen by this award winning teacher.

aggrevatedparent 09/14/10 - 11:01 am
Congratulations Ms. Mock!! my

Congratulations Ms. Mock!! my child had struggled every year in school and failed the 5th grade. Her second time around, she was blessed to be in Ms. Mock's class! What a difference!! Suddenly school was exciting and wasn't an absolute nightmare doing homework! Even now that my daughter is in high school - she still makes a point to stop by HHE to see Ms. Mock - SC schools could use a lot more teachers like her!!! We love you for the inspiration you gave our child!

Nichols 09/14/10 - 05:44 pm
Many well wishes as you enjoy

Many well wishes as you enjoy this year of gratitude from Aiken County. You must be an amazing teacher to receive straight out of college, Student Teacher of the Year, an authors dedication and personal congratulations on this award, as you accept Teacher of the Year for Aiken County. God has directed your life, and you show that through the daily gift you give to these blessed children of Hammond Hills Elementary. Changing lives a day at a time. Loved the beautiful gown you wore for the ceremony! You are a touch of class all around, and this community is proud to call you its own!

tigerstripes 09/14/10 - 10:29 pm
Congratulations Nikki!!! You

Congratulations Nikki!!! You most definately deserve this award for all of your hard work, your dedication and the love for children that you display on a daily basis. Your selfless attitude and caring heart reflects in the eyes of each of your students. It's such an honor for your peers to nominate you and for them to recognize that you are truly an extraordinary individual in and out of the class room. You are a blessing to us all!!!

Perhaps ones attire is not the issue here, it is the accomplishments of a young woman that looks past petty issues such as wardrobe!

necoler1 11/25/11 - 04:25 pm
Congrats Ms. Mock! My son

Congrats Ms. Mock! My son J.R. was in your English class in fifth grade and although we moved back to Evans, Georgia, and he is now going into the 9th grade, he still talks fondly about you and how you shared his love of reading. As a parent, I enjoyed the time that I was allowed to read to your class and interact with you! An honor well deserved!

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