BHS’s Will Epps finalist for SC Teacher of the Year

Gathered for the presentation of the $10,000 check are, from left, BHS principal Matt Sherman, R2 Superintendent Kim Moore, Will’s wife Lauren Epps, Will Epps, his brother Brenen Epps, his mother Cathy Epps, SC Superintendent Ellen Weaver, and Will’s father Tim Epps. | Contributed

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood High School’s Will Epps was surprised during a gathering in the Blythewood High School stadium on Thursday, March 15, to learn that he had been selected as one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year award.

Under the guise of a fire alarm drill, the students, including the school band, gathered on the BHS football field. There State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver made the surprise announcement. Epps’ family was already on the field, along with several area news media. After the announcement, Weaver presented Epps with a $10,000 check.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Will and all he is doing to unlock the potential of tomorrow’s science innovators,” said Weaver who made the trip to Blythewood to help the BHS teachers, staff, and students surprise Epps. “His personal initiative in launching the Bengal Biodiesel program is an excellent model of connecting classroom learning with real world relevance for his students. We are so grateful for his committed work to instill a love of all things science as he prepares his high schoolers for the careers of the future.”

 Epps is a Chemistry teacher at Blythewood High School. He is also an alumnus of Blythewood High where, he said, his teachers had a transformative impact on his future. Epps attended The Citadel as a Chemistry major with education specialization. He also holds a Master’s in Interdisciplinary STEM Education from The Citadel.

 “Will Epps epitomizes the essence of an educator: a visionary, a catalyst for life-long impact on students, and a trailblazer for education and industry partnerships,” said Dr. Kim Moore, Richland School District Two Superintendent. “As a finalist for SC Teacher of the Year, his commitment to thinking outside the box sets a new standard for excellence, inspiring both his students and peers alike. We are so proud of Will, and are excited to watch him help shape the future of education.”

 In addition to teaching, Epps has held various positions as a seasonal employee in industrial chemistry labs and he brings his experience and expertise into the classroom. He designed the Bengal Biodiesel program, an industrial experience in which students recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel, a renewable alternative to diesel fuel. In the course, each student earns over 100 hours of experience operating production equipment and performing analytical tests. To date, the program has logged over 6,000 hours of laboratory experience and several students have completed internships at local partner companies.

By bringing opportunities for industrial experiences to his classroom, Epps allows students of all backgrounds to find their purpose and gain the skills to fuel their future.

 Epps will now go on to the next stage of the competition which involves an interview with a team of judges. The winner will be announced at the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Celebration on April 25 in Columbia.

 The state winner receives a total of $25,000 and is provided with a brand-new BMW to use while serving for one year as a roving ambassador providing mentoring, attending speaking engagements, working with Teacher Cadets and Teaching Fellows, leading the State Teacher Forum, and serving as the state spokesperson for over 64,000 educators.

Epps is the third Blythewood High School teacher to be named as a finalist.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]