Skip To Main Content

School District Five teacher assistant receives statewide award

School District Five teacher assistant receives statewide award

For Immediate Release – March 27, 2024

School District Five teacher assistant receives statewide award

IRMO –Lexington-Richland School District Five kindergarten assistant Kayla Garrett has received the 2023-2024 Alternative Pathways for Educator Certification (APEC) Professional Commitment Award.

This award is presented to the APEC Fellow that most exhibits commitment to learning and professional growth. This Fellow is recognized for their dedication and willingness to go above and beyond in their field experience and course work.

“I am so grateful and overjoyed to be the recipient of the APEC Professional Commitment Award,” Kayla Garrett said. “This recognition means the world to me! Winning this award has only fueled my enthusiasm and determination to continue making meaningful contributions in teaching! I am eager to build upon this achievement and contribute even more positively in the future.”

Garrett has been a kindergarten assistant at Piney Woods Elementary School for the last two years. Her undergraduate degree is in English from the University of South Carolina. She will complete her master's degree from Columbia College in Divergent Learning and Innovative Instruction in December 2024. Garrett will apply for certification in Early Childhood Education at the end of May.

The Alternative Pathways for Educator Certification (APEC) program is ideal for career changers and employees of school districts who are interested in teacher certification but need a program that supports working adults. The program allows participants to complete coursework leading to a degree in several areas including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle-Level Education (all four content areas), Secondary Math, Secondary English, and Multicategorical Special Education.

School District Five Director of Human Resources Dr. Reggie Wicker said, “The APEC program allows School District Five to support the professional growth of talented, committed individuals who are employed in support roles and aspire to gain teacher certification. It is a program that highlights the district’s unwavering efforts to attract, recruit, and retain individuals devoted to the teaching profession.” 

School District Five will host an event on Thursday, April 25, 2024 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies for those interested in an alternative pathway to obtain certification to begin a career in the classroom. Colleges and alternative certification resources and organizations will be on-site to provide individualized information to those interested in teaching, regardless of their current educational level. Open to the public, attendees are encouraged to register before the event by visiting

To learn more about this alternative certification program or to apply, please visit Columbia College’s APEC website.