For Immediate Release – September 19, 2013
Office of the Governor
Contact: Taylor Thornley Keeney
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Virginia Department of Education
Contact: Charles B. Pyle
Phone: (804) 371-2420
Eight Teachers in the Running for 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year
RICHMOND – Eight educators learned of their selection today as 2014 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year during surprise classroom visits and announcements made by their division superintendents.
“These teachers, from schools in every corner of the Commonwealth, are committed to excellence and the success of their students,” Governor Bob McDonnell said. “I congratulate them for their selection as regional teachers of the year and thank them for what they do every day to prepare young Virginians for the future.”
“The eight being recognized today exemplify what is best in Virginia’s public school teachers,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright. “Each encourages, motivates and challenges his or her students to meet higher expectations in the classroom in order to achieve academic success and to be prepared for the future.”
The 2014 Regional Teachers of the Year announced are as follows:
- Tracey Zaval, an eighth-grade civics and economics teacher at Midlothian Middle in Chesterfield County (Region 1)
- Carrie E. Gantt, an 11th- and 12th-grade English teacher and Teachers for Tomorrow instructor at Princess Anne High in Virginia Beach (Region 2)
- Tara J. Hefner, a second-grade teacher at Courtland Elementary in Spotsylvania County (Region 3)
- Melissa A. Porfirio, a first-grade teacher at Crestwood Elementary in Fairfax County (Region 4)
- Jennifer B. Lovett, a reading specialist at Linkhorne Elementary in Lynchburg (Region 5)
- Byard W. “Trey” Harris III, a music teacher and band director at Bassett High in Henry County (Region 6)
- Tina H. Cook, a computer technology teacher at Chilhowie Middle in Smyth County (Region 7)
- Shawnta L. Posey-James, an Earth science teacher at Greensville County High 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 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year Kathryn B. Galford of Chesapeake reviewed the portfolios and selected the eight regional teachers of the year.
The panel will interview each of the eight teachers next month to select the 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year. The decision will be announced during an awards ceremony to be held October 11 in Richmond.
The 2014 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.
More about Virginia's Teacher of the Year program