The Carroll County Board of Education praised the work of its Teacher of the Year (TOY) finalists in and out of the classroom. The board’s Nov. 12 meeting was preceded by an informal reception honoring the 10 finalists and their family members in attendance.
Chairman Brian Spencer told the attendees the recent judging was the most difficult in recent memory and praised the high calibre of credentials and community service represented in the educator’s applications.
“When you see everything our teachers are doing in addition to teaching it is totally amazing,” said Spencer. “What a blessed community we have. I think every teacher should have an award.”
The nominees recognized at the meeting were Rachelle N. Rasco, Pamela G. Nester, Edwin L. Tompkins, Maggie A. Jarrell, Amy J. Ward, Leona K. Brown, Amy S. Hash, Sheila M. Hommema, Sheryl H. Patton and Kevin R. Bennett. The county-wide winner will be announced at the board’s December meeting.
The board also recognized Janice Largen Bourne for her contributions to the Junior Olympics of Carroll County Public Schools. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mark Burnette told the group since Bourne reitred in 2009, she has assisted in coordinating and organizing Junior Olympics for local fourth and fifth grade students.
The board approved of a proclamation honoring State Senator Ralph K. Smith. Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship read from the document which noted Smith’s eight years of service as senator to Virginia’s 19th District. Blankenship said Smith support of public education is crucial to the future of the Commonwealth.
Reading for Life (Lift Up AmeriCorps Tutoring Program) AmeriCorps member Teresa Thompson was honored as winner of the 2015 Robert Wone Award for Exemplary Service. According to AmeriCorps Coordinator Tonyia Gibson, the award was announced at the Virginia Volunteerism and Service Conference.
Thompson has tutored at-risk students through the Reading for Life program in the school district and at the Regional Alternative Education (RAE) Center. Previously, she worked with at-risk teens as a support person through Mt. Roger’s District Counseling Services.
“Teresa, however, was not content to serve solely as a tutor. She saw numerous opportunities to encourage students to rise above their behavior and attitude issues,” said Gibson. “Teresa recruited a variety of speakers, including military recruiters, to talk to the students about employment and other post-school opportunities.”
Gibson told the board Thompson had introduced RAE Center staff and students to various community service projects. This is the 13th year for AmeriCorps in Carroll, which has 32 members and 12 in Floyd County. Carroll members tutor about 550 students four days weekly. AmeriCorps at the RAE Center used Jobs For Virginia graduates to assemble utensil packs which went in kits for disaster victims, collected 500 pounds of food for the local food pantry, and conducted four food drives locally with two in Floyd County for “Make A Difference Day,” collecting 1,200 pounds of food which was divided among four different food pantries serving Carroll County families.
The award was established in memory of the late Robert E. Wone and recognizes a National Service member who exhibits outstanding community service. Candidates must have served as a Virginia AmeriCorps member during the previous progam year and be returning to the subsequent program year and exemplify dedication and leadership.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.