Coastal Virginia’s Top Teachers
Third annual competition recognizes outstanding educators throughout our region
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Inspiration is what poured off the pages of nominations we received this year for our third annual Top Teachers recognition program. More than 100 submissions and thousands of votes from students, their parents and staff members of inspirational teachers all across Coastal Virginia flooded our inboxes and filled our hearts with hope for the ambitious minds of the future. Read on to learn about the winning teachers who go above and beyond each day to enrich the lives of our region’s youth.
Pembroke Meadows Elementary School,
Years as an educator:
Grades and subjects taught:
Special education, pre-Kindergarten–fifth grade; general education, third grade
This is the first teaching award I have received. (I feel so honored to have been nominated and chosen!)
Why did you choose teaching as a career?
I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a teacher. Working with children and helping them learn new things has always been something I’ve wanted to do.
Your favorite part about being a teacher? I love to see the smile on a child’s face when he realizes he’s finally learned and understood a concept that he had been struggling with.
The most important thing you have learned during your teaching career? In my years of teaching, I’ve come to understand that every child learns differently. A teacher needs to be ready to teach the same concept in several different ways at the same time in order to meet the needs of the entire class.
At the end of the school year, what do you most want your students to leave your classroom knowing? I want all of my students to remember that they are important, unique, smart and beautiful individuals.
What is one lesson/project/initiative you started in your classroom or at your school that you are most proud of? Several years ago, my grade level and I jumped on board with the Daily Five, a small group reading program developed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser that helps students develop daily habits of reading and writing independently. Several other teachers began using the program the following year based on the success we had.
From her nomination: “Ms. Treat is lots of fun and has lots of patience with the class. She is my favorite teacher ever.” —Kaleigh Dean
Ocean View Elementary School, Norfolk
Years as an educator:
Grades and subjects taught:
First and second grade
School- and district-wide presenter to other educators on the subject of differentiation in the classroom; Published in The Mailbox magazine; Ocean View Elementary Staff of the Month Club 2012 member; First grade and second grade team leader and grade chair
Why did you choose teaching as a career? I was raised in a family of educators. I have always wanted to have an impact on a child’s life. I feel that an education is one of the most important things a person can have. I teach because it is my passion; I want to share the joys and the dreams of the future generation. I want to make the world a better place, one student and one smile at a time.
Your favorite part about being a teacher? I am the consistency in these children’s lives that many of them may not have outside of school. Seeing their smile and excitement for learning makes it one of the most rewarding jobs.
The most important thing you have learned during your teaching career? It is essential to make connections with each and every student, to build relationships and create a warm, inviting and conducive classroom environment.
At the end of the school year, what do you most want your students to leave your classroom knowing? That they are academically proficient for third grade and that they believe themselves to be capable, lifelong learners. I want my students to know they are respectful and responsible citizens in our community.
What is one lesson/project/initiative you started in your classroom or at your school that you are most proud of? I started a school-wide initiative to get staff and students excited for a day full of teaching and learning. In our daily math lessons, we count each day of school and use the number to drive calendar instruction. For instance, on the 80th day of school, staff and students celebrate by dressing up in 1980s attire [and using the number] 80 in math, writing and music. Likewise, in March, staff and students celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. I greet the students at the door dressed as Thing 1 (blue wig and all). We transform the entire day into a “Seussville,” incorporating Dr. Seuss activities into all of our instructional lessons.
From her nomination: “My daughter’s favorite part of being in her class is the sense of community that Ms. Jones creates in her classroom. She feels like she is part of something special and is proud to be in Ms. Jones’ class where she is supported, challenged and continues to thrive both socially and academically.” —Shannon Walsh