| For Immediate Release
Contact: Charles Pyle
Public Information Specialist
Surprise Announcements Reveal Regional Teachers of the Year
to Be Named Virginia Teacher of the Year on October 29
The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) today informed eight
teachers of their selection as the Virginia 2005 Regional Teachers of
the Year. DOE representatives made the announcements during surprise
classroom visits this morning and the eighth learned of her selection
during a school division function this evening.
The love of learning and enthusiasm for teaching of these
educators fills their classrooms and touches all areas of their lives,
said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary. All
of these teachers are recognized by peers and students as educators
who care about children and achievement.
The regional teachers of the year announced today are:
Pamela K. Edwards, a chemistry teacher at Matoaca High
School in Chesterfield County (Region One). Believing that every
child can be successful, Edwards takes pride in doubling the size
of the chemistry program at her school and adding Advanced
Placement and forensic chemistry to the course offerings. With the
philosophy, I dont teach chemistry, I teach kids,
Edwards crafted tactile graphs, diagrams, and other manipulatives,
and learned Braille for a blind student. As evidence of her
teaching abilities, her students recently won the American
Chemical Societys Chemistry Olympiad in the large-school
Elizabeth M. OBrien, a mathematics teacher at
Grafton High School in York County (Region Two). A veteran
teacher, OBrien has taught in schools in North Carolina,
Pennsylvania, and Virginia. She enjoys interacting with students
and mentoring prospective teachers. Her many professional
accomplishments include earning National Board Certification in
Rita K. Truelove, a physical science teacher at John J.
Wright Middle School in Spotsylvania County (Region Three).
Truelove turns her students on to science with engaging labs in
her interactive classroom. She incorporates social skills within
her science curriculum to not only show students how the world
works but how to work in the world.
Joseph Hills, a world studies teacher at Lake Braddock
Secondary School in Fairfax County (Region Four). An educator for
more than four decades, Hills takes pleasure in finding ways to boggle
minds with exciting ideas. He challenges students into thinking
deeply and thinking differently through his use of the
Socratic method and inspires his students to ponder the larger
truths that history reveals.
Christy M. Davis, a fourth-grade teacher at Thomas C.
McSwain Elementary in Staunton (Region Five). Incorporating her
love of the arts with technology, Davis encourages creativity in
her students. Several of her favorite annual projects include
making gingerbread houses for raffling to support an independent
reading program and producing video portfolios of students to
foster public speaking skills and self-evaluation, while improving
communication between the classroom and home.
Joseph L. Salmon, a third-grade science teacher at
Roanoke Academy for Mathematics and Science in Roanoke (Region
Six). As the son of parents who didnt finish high school and
after a career in retail sales, Salmon enrolled in college and
decided to become a teacher. An educator for 14 years, Salmon
earned National Board Certification in 2001. He enjoys
implementing partnerships promoting science and technology for
elementary students, and is credited with helping to increase
science Standards of Learning test scores by 48 percent over three
Gail A. Gilland, a librarian at Damascus Middle School
in Washington County (Region Seven). In her 16 years as the schools
library media specialist and technology coordinator, Gilland has
worked to create an inviting environment and a source of unlimited
information for students. She extends her love of learning outside
the media center as a teachers assistant once a month at the
nearby elementary school and through efforts to provide additional
student services in the community.
Andrea W. Verschaeve, an eighth-grade English teacher at
Prince Edward County Middle School in Prince Edward County (Region
Eight). From bringing in a childhood doll to explain the
difference between dependent and independent clauses to dressing
as a princess to teach formal and informal tone, Verschaeve seeks
to create a classroom of excited learners. Voted by
students as the teacher with the highest expectations, she
continually challenges her students to succeed.
The eight teachers were selected from among candidates chosen by
their school divisions. The candidates prepared and submitted
portfolios highlighting their professional accomplishments,
educational philosophies, and community activities. A panel of
representatives of professional and educational associations, the
business community, and 2004 Virginia Teacher of the Year Laurie
Sullivan of Arlington County reviewed the portfolios.
The panel will interview each of the eight Regional Teachers of the
Year on October 29 to determine the 2005 Virginia Teacher of the Year.
The decision will be announced that evening during a celebration in
The 2005 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be the commonwealths
nominee in the National Teacher of the Year program, which is
sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic
Inc. Two previous Virginia teachers have gone on to become National
Teacher of the Year: B. Philip Bigler, the 1998 Virginia Teacher of
the Year, and Mary Bicouvaris, the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year.