HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — Beaufort County Schools spent the day celebrating education, and the educators who make a difference in the classroom every day.

“The teacher of the year is Dr. Laverne Stewart from Hilton Head Middle School.”

Big cheers from her school and the rest of the local teachers in attendance as Stewart was named County Teacher of the Year. Stewart beat out four other finalists for the title.

Dozens of principals and teachers gathered at Honey Horn to celebrate their accomplishments with the 22,000 students at local schools.

Stewart is a 22-year veteran English teacher who says her love for the job is the key to her winning.

“I think it’s the passion that I have,” Stewart said. “I love my kids. I love what I do. I enjoy going to work and making a difference not just for the years they are in my class, but also beyond and seeing my students become great members of our community and our society.”

Stewart also credits her upbringing for this title.

Her mom was a longtime educator herself, teaching English at Robert Smalls Middle school for decades, and taught her everything she knows.