Kirstin Bullington, Next Energy Engineering Instructor from Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2), Named South Carolina’s 2022 STEM Educator of the Year

Columbia, SC – SC Tech, an initiative of the SC Council on Competitiveness, in partnership with S²TEM Centers SC and The Citadel STEM Center, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 SC STEM Educator of the Year Award. The award honors Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) educators who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by providing an excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning, and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future. This year’s awards are sponsored by Comporium, Bojangles, and the SC Council on Competitiveness.

Kirstin Bullington, Next Energy Engineering Instructor from Richland Two Institute of Innovation R2i2 (Richland Two School District) was announced as 2022 SC STEM Educator of the Year today during STEM Education Day at the Capitol, which was live-streamed by SCETV.

“Science, Technology, Engineering and Math educators play a vital role in inspiring and educating our state and nation’s next generation of problem solvers,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “I congratulate Ms. Bullington, the finalists, and all of South Carolina’s educators who continue to go above and beyond in support our students.”

Nominations this year were submitted by principals, administrators, and fellow teachers across the state, and were judged by a committee of STEM-related industry leaders. Five finalists were chosen to go through an interview process by a panel of STEM education and industry leaders. In addition to their accomplishments in the classroom, each applicant submitted a platform, outlining how they would promote STEM in their year as STEM Educator of the Year. Kirstin Bullington’s platform is “Integrating STEM education and industry to increase career opportunities for all.”

“The impact of STEM education on our developing workforce is becoming more and more evident.” Susie Shannon, President and CEO at the SC Council on Competitiveness noted, “These educators are preparing young minds for careers and interests that will benefit our state and industries for years to come.”

The four finalists include:
Annie Johnson, Clean Energy Technology, Honors Marine Science, & AP Environmental Science, Academy for the Arts, Science, & Technology, Horry County Schools
Dr. Marsha Neal, 6th-grade Math and Science Teacher, Deer Park Middle School, Charleston County School District
Dr. Nicole Yemothy, PLTW Gateway Teacher, R. H. Gettys Middle School, Pickens County School District
Ashley Blackwelder, STEAM Coordinator, Spartanburg 6 School District

Matthew Dosch, Chief Operating Officer at Comporium, was at the Capitol this morning to give out the award. “As a home-grown, family-owned broadband company, we feel it’s critical for South Carolina’s businesses to recognize the important role of STEM educators.” Dosch noted, “We thank them for their commitment, and we congratulate all of the nominees, finalists, and Kirstin Bullington on the well-deserved honor.”

“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of STEM educators or honor enough their contributions to our state,” remarked Tom Peters, Executive Director of the SC Coalition for Math & Science and host of the STEM Day at the Capitol event. “From agriculture to aerospace to logistics to life sciences, every South Carolina employer owes a STEM educator somewhere a debt of gratitude.”

Each of the four regional finalists will receive $1,000, with SC STEM Educator of the Year, Kirstin Bullington, receiving $5,000. The 2022-2023 STEM Educator of the Year will also have the opportunity to attend STEM conferences, participate in STEM industry roundtables, and promote his/her platform over the next 12 months.

About The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
The Council is a nonpartisan, business-led non-profit organization committed to advancing the long-term economic competitiveness of our state, industries, and citizens. Our work is accomplished through actionable research on opportunities and threats to South Carolina’s competitiveness; support of industry clusters that provide South Carolina a competitive advantage; and education and workforce development initiatives that ensure all South Carolina’s citizens are equipped to compete in a global economy. We execute our work through partnerships, recognizing that our state’s economic success is secured through sustained collaboration among the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors. For more information, visit

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