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RHS Announces Inspiring Spaces: Classroom Makeover Winners

This year we launched the Inspiring Spaces: Classroom Makeover Program where we are working to give three inspiring educators the classrooms of their dreams.

Thanks to a generous donation from both Nu-Idea and VS America, we will be able to fully renovate three classrooms – floor to ceiling- over the summer.

We had more than 120 nominations from students, parents, alumni, and supporters who shared what makes our teachers amazing. Our three winners were selected based on the heartfelt conversations we had with those who nominated them.

Carly Varnadore, a Kindergarten teacher at Mt. Gallant Elementary, has encouraged some of our youngest students to love learning.

“My daughter comes home every day telling me how much she loves school- this is a big change for us,” one parent said. “She looks forward to going (to school) and is learning in leaps and bounds. I credit all of this to Mrs. Varnadore.”

Susan Hopper, an English Language Arts teacher at Saluda Trail Middle School,

She was nominated for her dedication and efforts to go above and beyond. She was also recognized for meeting students where they are.

“She has shown time and time again that she is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that her students have access to resources and materials they need to succeed,” a former student said. “Despite the challenges she faces in terms of having limited resources, she has managed to create a classroom that is both engaging and interactive.”

Kelly Chavis, a Biology teacher at Northwestern High School, was nominated as one of the most influential teachers a student has ever had.

“I have never liked, nor have I been good at the biology,” the student said. “I could never grasp the concepts. It left me confused and frustrated, not wanting to do the work…However once being in class with Ms. Chavis, not only did I understand and excel in biology, but I learned to love it.”

The three classes will be revealed the week before school starts. Stay tuned!

Thank you to our judging panel:

Dr. Tommy Schmolze, Sharada Abraham, Dr. Katie Barber, Ayanna Brice, Richard Campe, Dr. Kershena Dickey, Matthew English, Leigh Grimsley, Andrew Jones, Dr. Rhonda Kelsey, Kevin Porter, Loretta Reed, Elizabeth Rollins, Mary Roueche, Terrance Wilson

Do you want to join in the effort to support students and staff in our district through donations of time or funds? Email

 Check out their reactions to the surprise news here: