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Choosing a winner

Each spring, the state's public school system recognizes excellence within its ranks by naming a South Carolina Teacher of the Year.

All state school districts and the Department of Juvenile Justice can nominate an educator to compete for the honor.

Next month, the state Department of Education is expected to announce the five finalists for the award. Finalists are interviewed by judges, and a winner will be announced at an April 28 banquet.

The winner gets a $25,000 bonus, use of a BMW sport utility vehicle for a year and a yearlong leave from the classroom to serve as a roving ambassador for the state's public school educators. The four other finalists receive $10,000 each.

The current teacher of the year is Bryan Coburn of Northwestern High in York District 3.

The state winner becomes a nominee for National Teacher of the Year.