For Immediate Release – September 13, 2012
Office of the Governor
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Virginia Department of Education
Contact: Charles B. Pyle
Phone: (804) 371-2420
Eight Teachers in the Running for 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year
RICHMOND – Eight educators learned of their selection today as 2013 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year during surprise classroom visits and announcements made by their division superintendents.
“No one has a greater impact on student learning in the classroom than teachers,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “Virginia is blessed to have so many excellent teachers who recognize that every child can learn and motivate them to achieve. It is important that we recognize those excellent teachers and I commend these eight educators for their incredible devotion to the growth of their students.”
“These teachers challenge and encourage their students to excel,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright. “In doing so, they exemplify what is best in Virginia’s public school teachers and the effect they have on Virginia students’ academic success in the classroom.”
The 2013 Regional Teachers of the Year announced are as follows:
- Paul Frederick Daszkiewicz, an Algebra II, probability/statistics and pre-calculus teacher at Meadowbrook High in Chesterfield County (Region 1)
- Kathryn B. Galford, a sixth-grade English teacher at Greenbrier Middle in Chesapeake (Region 2)
- Suzanne M. Sherman, a second-grade teacher at Cool Spring Primary School in King William County (Region 3)
- Lydia L. Stewart, a special education teacher of students with moderate intellectual disabilities at Osbourn Park High in Prince William County (Region 4)
- David W. Webb Jr., an instrumental music educator teaching band and Advanced Placement music theory at Jefferson Forest High in Bedford County (Region 5)
- Tracey L. Nielsen, a special education teacher of deaf and hard of hearing pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Virginia Heights Elementary in Roanoke (Region 6)
- Steven P. Ahn, a biology, earth and space science teacher at Abingdon High in Washington County (Region 7)
- Cynthia R. Whitaker, a sixth-grade mathematics teacher at Edward W. Wyatt Middle in Greensville County (Region 8)
The teachers were selected from among candidates nominated by school divisions in each of the state’s eight superintendents’ regions. The candidates submitted portfolios highlighting their accomplishments, educational philosophies and community activities. A panel, including classroom teachers, representatives of professional and educational associations, the business community and 2012 Virginia Teacher of the Year Margaret A. "Meg" Smith of Lynchburg reviewed the portfolios – and letters of recommendation from divisions, colleagues and supporters – and selected the eight regional teachers of the year.
The panel will interview each of the eight teachers next month to select the 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year. The decision will be announced during an awards ceremony October 12 in Richmond.
The 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be the commonwealth’s nominee in the National Teacher of the Year Program. The recognition is given by the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with the University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador Programs, and sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target. 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.