Press Release - GSSM Mathematics Instructor Named 2020 Law Related Education Teacher of the Year

July 9, 2020

GSSM Mathematics Instructor Named 2020 Law Related Education Teacher of the Year

Hartsville, SC - Dr. Gary Salazar, mathematics instructor at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM), was named the 2020 Law Related Education (LRE) High School Teacher of the Year by the South Carolina Bar.

Each year, one elementary/middle school teacher and one high school teacher are recognized with the LRE Teacher of the Year Award. The awards are presented to teachers in South Carolina who have fostered a public understanding of the values of our legal and judicial system; stimulated a deeper sense of individual responsibility by helping students recognize their legal duties and rights; encouraged and supported effective LRE programs; and increased communication among students, fellow educators, and those working in the legal system.

Dr. Salazar has been involved with law-related education since 2008 when he began teaching at GSSM. He has served as the mock trial teacher coach for GSSM for 12 years. During this span, his mock trial teams have advanced to the State competition multiple times. In 2018, the team was recognized with a Professionalism and Civility Award, an award that highlights the importance of professionalism among teams participating in mock trial competitions. In March, the team earned the title of First Runner-Up in the State Championship round.

Dr. Salazar has also taught an introductory law class during the January Interim sessions at GSSM since 2013. In this class, Salazar allows students to visit and experience many unique facets of the legal system. Students have had the opportunity to visit the South Carolina Supreme Court to observe live arguments before the court. Students have been able to witness the grand jury selection of a local circuit court as well as visit the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center to learn more about crime scene techniques. 

There is a strong mock trial component to this class as well. “During the last few years, the class has held its mock trial with an open invitation to the school community to come to observe or serve on the jury," said Dr. Gary Salazar. "It is always enjoyable to see the jury box filled with a combination of students, staff, and faculty.”

“The pursuit of understanding the field of law has become an integral part of my contribution to GSSM,” said Dr. Gary Salazar. LRE Teacher of the Year Award winners receive a plaque and a cash award of $1,000 in non-designated funds. These awards recognize teachers who have implemented quality law-related education programs, including participation in activities sponsored by the LRE Division of the South Carolina Bar.

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Founded in 1988, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics is a nationally recognized school serving over four hundred of the state's most accomplished STEM students in the 10th through 12th grades through its residential and virtual programs. GSSM offers college-level courses and experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at its campus in Hartsville. The school also delivers virtual curricula in engineering and STEM disciplines to students in partner school districts throughout the state. GSSM’s dynamic outreach programs, including science summer camps and teacher training, impact over 5,000 K-12 students every year. Learn more by visiting www.scgssm.org.

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