Montoursville grad named new teacher of the year

The Rotary Club of Lowcountry, S.C., has named Emily (Tokarz) Keener new teacher of the year for her hard work and dedication during the 2012-13 school year.

Keener graduated from Montoursville Area High School in 2007 and recieved a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in Spanish from Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C., in 2011.

She has been employed by Beaufort Middle School, Beaufourt, S.C. as a Spanish teacher since Aug. 2012.

Keener was recognized by the Rotary Club during their meeting on Oct. 4, 2013. Her nomination to the Rotary Club from Beaufort Middle School administrators said:

“Mrs. Keener is in her second year of teaching and began the profession last school year at BMS as the foreign language teacher. After only a few minutes in her class, any visitor will note that she is a ‘natural’ teacher. She builds rapport with students immediately, has a tremendously calm demeanor and plans engaging lessons that get middle school students excited about foreign language every day. It’s not uncommon to hear the sound of students actually cheering as they are engaged in learning in her classroom. Mrs. Keener remains a continuous learner herself and demonstrates that regularly. Any observation and post conference in her classroom results in her immediate reflection and application of that reflection with her students. She is well liked among her peers and parents. She has also emerged as a teacher leader by taking on tasks and responsibilities for all exploratory teachers at BMS and by guiding professional learning as well.”

“Persistence and a learning spirit blended with an engaging personality and a love of learning and students make Emily Keener an excellent choice, worthy of recognition as Rotary’s new teacher of the year.”

The Beaufort County School District educates nearly 20,000 students, the second-fastest growing county in South Carolina. the district manages five early childhood centers, 17 elementary schools, seven middle schools and five high schools.

Keener lives in Beaufort with her husband, Joshua. She is the daughter of Donna and Gerard Tokarz, of Montoursville.