Back-to-School. Photo by Susan Larson.

Eight in the Running for 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year

by | Sep 7, 2018 | Schools & Education

From the Virginia Department of Education

RICHMOND, Va. — Over the past two days eight teachers learned of their selection as 2019 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year during surprise classroom visits, school assemblies and announcements. On Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam was present for the Region 3 announcement in Stafford County and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni made the Region 4 announcement in Arlington County.

Today, First Lady Pamela Northam was on hand in Richmond for the Region 1 announcement, while Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane was in Williamsburg-James City County for the Region 2 announcement. Leadership from the Virginia Department of Education attended the other regional announcements.

“Each of these teachers goes the extra mile to prepare students for success in any path they choose to take after high school,” Governor Northam said. ”They are a tremendous example of the best of Virginia’s educational system, and I’m proud they are teachers in this commonwealth.”

“We celebrate these incredible teachers for their dedication and commitment to their students,” Secretary of Education Atif Qarni said. “But it is often their colleagues who nominate them for such an award because of their exceptional character and work ethic.”

“I commend each and every one of these teachers for the excellent work they do every day to empower students and engage them in excellent learning experiences,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “While we are currently recognizing these eight teachers, they represent the thousands of amazing teachers in classrooms across the state.”

The eight 2019 Regional Teachers of the Year announced are as follows:

  • Rodney A. Robinson, a history teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center in Richmond (Region 1)
  • Stephen J. Legawiec, a Virginia and U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher at Lafayette High in Williamsburg-James City County (Region 2)
  • Daniel N. Reichard, a fifth-grade teacher at Kate Waller Barrett Elementary in Stafford County (Region 3)
  • Timothy W. Cotman Jr., an English and minority achievement teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle in Arlington County (Region 4)
  • Christine M. Grim, a first-grade language arts and mathematics teacher at Fulks Run Elementary in Rockingham County (Region 5)
  • Jamie F. Nichols, a sixth-grade science teacher at Lucy Addison Middle in Roanoke (Region 6)
  • Charlcia D. Burke Jones, a library media specialist at Jonesville Middle in Lee County (Region 7)
  • Ashley N. Blackwell, a kindergarten teacher at Cumberland Elementary in Cumberland 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, and the business community reviewed the portfolios and selected the eight regional teachers of the year. Next week, the panel will interview each of the eight regional teachers to select the 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year. The decision will be announced on September 14 during a ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

The 2019 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 and program partners. 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 National Teachers of the Year.

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