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Pine Grove Elementary Principal Dr. Tracy Pickett Named 2022 S.C. D.A.R.E. & SCASRO Educator of the Year

Dr. Tracy PickettSRO HillDr. Tracy Pickett, principal of Richland One’s Pine Grove Elementary School, received two awards at the 2022 SCASRO/DASC Training Conference on June 13 in Myrtle Beach. She was named the 2022 South Carolina Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Educator of the Year and the 2022 South Carolina Association of School Resource Officers (SCASRO) Educator of the Year by the D.A.R.E. Association of South Carolina (DASC).

“The work that (she) does as principal at Pine Grove Elementary has not gone unnoticed,” said Senior Deputy William Gibson, president of the D.A.R.E. Association of South Carolina.

The D.A.R.E. program provides comprehensive drug prevention curricula to students throughout the state and worldwide. Dr. Pickett, who was nominated for both awards by Pine Grove school resource officer (SRO) Sherrick Hill, was selected from among dozens of educators nominated statewide in each category.

“I am honored to be selected. Having witnessed the D.A.R.E. lessons being taught while I was a fifth grade teacher, I know firsthand how important D.A.R.E. is for our students,” said Dr. Pickett. “Through D.A.R.E., students learn valuable life lessons about making good decisions and avoiding alcohol and drugs. As a principal, I (do) what is needed to assist SRO Hill with preparing our students to be productive, responsible citizens and lifelong learners.” 

The DASC Educator of the Year award goes to a South Carolina teacher that goes above and beyond what is expected in the classroom. This teacher is someone who is supportive of the D.A.R.E. concept by what they do in and out of the classroom, according to the award criteria. 

The SCASRO Educator of the Year award honors outstanding support of the School Resource Officer program, school violence prevention programs and overall performance/dedication as an educator.

SRO Hill said when they met, Dr. Pickett was a fifth grade teacher at Pine Grove. She said Dr. Pickett was supportive of the program as a teacher and, in her role as principal, she’s even more dedicated.

“Her D.A.R.E. class was one of my favorite because she would get involved in the D.A.R.E. lessons with us. She would make sure all her students completed their D.A.R.E. journals and essays,” said SRO Hill. “When she stepped into the principal position, she made sure the students had T-shirts, decorations and (everything they needed) for D.A.R.E. graduation.”

Dr. Pickett graduated from Eau Claire High School and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. and a master’s degree in education, an education specialist degree and a doctorate of education from the University of South Carolina. She began her 20 years of experience in education as a teacher at South Kilbourne Elementary School and, for the past eight years, she’s been at Pine Grove.

DASC surprised SRO Hill with the 2022 Golden Courage Award for her service to Richland One and as an employee of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.