P.O. BOX 2120



November 12, 2004



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



2005 Virginia Teacher of the Year and Regional Teachers of the Year


Joseph Hills, who teaches world studies at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Fairfax County, has been named Virginias 2005 Teacher of the Year. He was chosen from eight state regional finalists at a special banquet and recognition ceremony held in Richmond on Friday, October 29, sponsored by the Department of Education.


Mr. Hills has been teaching for forty-three years, and has also served as a cooperating teacher for student teachers and a mentor teacher for new teachers. He received the Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Lock Haven University with a major in history and social studies, and the Master of Arts Degree in Education from the College of St. Thomas. He is the recipient of the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award, the University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Bucknell University Coe Foundation Scholarship. Mr. 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.


Mr. Hills will participate in the national teacher of the year program that is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Scholastic, Inc. Candidates for the Virginia Teacher of the Year award were first nominated by their school divisions. Regional finalists were selected by a panel composed of representatives from various state education professional organizations representing teachers, superintendents, school boards, parents, institutions of higher education, principals, and the 2004 Teacher of the Year Laurie J. Sullivan, a science and mathematics teacher at Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School in Arlington County.


In addition to Mr. Hills, who represents Region 4, the seven other Regional Teachers of the Year include Pamela K. Edwards, a high school chemistry teacher representing Region 1, Elizabeth M. OBrien, a high school mathematics teacher representing Region 2, Rita K. Truelove, a middle school physical science teacher representing Region 3, Christy M. Davis, a fourth-grade teacher representing Region 5, Joseph L. Salmon, a third-grade science teacher representing Region 6, Gail A. Gilland, a middle school librarian representing Region 7, and Andrea W. Verschaeve, a middle school English teacher representing Region 8.


The Virginia Teacher of the Year and the seven Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year serve as ambassadors for public education during the school year. Their individual messages and actions establish a standard of excellence in student learning and academic achievement in our classrooms. I encourage you to assist these teachers in their effort to become spokespersons for education throughout the Commonwealth.


More information about the 2005 Virginia Teacher of the Year and the Regional Teachers of the Year, including photographs and video clips, can be found on the Department of Education website at For additional information about the Teacher of the Year Program, please contact Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, or(804)317-2522; or Ruth S. Grillo, specialist, Virginia Department of Education, at or (804) 786-7633.