Eight educators learned of their selection yesterday as 2011 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year during surprise classroom visits made by their division superintendents.
"Each of these teachers has demonstrated their ability to inspire, encourage and challenge their students every day," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright. "In doing so, they embody what is best in Virginia’s public school teachers."
The 2011 Regional Teachers of the Year announced are as follows:
- Latonya E. Waller, a sixth- and eighth-grade science teacher at Lucille M. Brown Middle School in Richmond (Region 1)
- Karen J. Drosinos, a kindergarten teacher at Pembroke Elementary School in Virginia Beach (Region 2)
- Gregory A. Feducia, an 11th-grade International Baccalaureate English and gifted resource teacher at Mountain View High School in Stafford County (Region 3)
- Colette Fraley, an 11th-grade social studies teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington (Region 4)
- Janice C. Wiley, an early childhood special education teacher at Hutcherson Early Learning Center in Lynchburg (Region 5)
- Lisa R. Taylor, a second-grade teacher at Belview Elementary School in Montgomery County (Region 6)
- Diana D. Blanton, a biology teacher at Giles High School in Giles County (Region 7)
- Valarie W. Harris, a 7th-grade pre-algebra teacher at Amelia County Middle School (Region 8)
The eight teachers were selected from among candidates nominated by their school divisions. The candidates prepared and submitted portfolios highlighting their professional accomplishments, educational philosophies and community activities. A panel, including representatives of professional and educational associations, the business community and 2010 Virginia Teacher of the Year Catherine S. Webb of Giles County reviewed the portfolios and selected the eight regional teachers of the year.
The panel will interview each of the eight Regional Teachers of the Year next month to select the 2011 Virginia Teacher of the Year. The decision will be announced during an awards ceremony in Richmond.
The 2011 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be the commonwealth’s nominee in the National Teacher of the Year Program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and sponsored by ING Foundation. Two previous Virginia teachers – B. Philip Bigler, the 1998 Virginia Teacher of the Year, and Mary V. Bicouvaris, the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year – went on to be named as a National Teacher of the Year.