HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Aynor High School teacher Michelle “Renee” Atkinson has been named the Horry County Schools 2023 Teacher of the Year.

Atkinson, an Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate English teacher, began working for Horry County Schools in 2004.

“I am shocked. Honored. Humbled to be standing here tonight,” she said in an acceptance speech posted on the district’s website. “Everyone in this room, and especially in this group, deserves this honor. I know how hard each and every one of you work. And I am no more special than any one of you. We are all here because we are in the business of loving our children and wanting to see them succeed.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Clemson University, a Master of Secondary English degree from Francis Marion University, an Education Specialist degree from Liberty University and is also a National Board Certified teacher.

Atkinson was chosen from a group of five finalists that also included Yaminah Jordan, Conway High School; Jessica Miller, Myrtle Beach Middle School; Amy Howe, North Myrtle Beach High School and Cynthia Lehr, Socastee High School.

The award puts Atkinson in the running for the state Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in 2023.