Carroll County Teacher Of the Year honors represent a gift that keeps on giving because nominees and educators winning the top honor “make it happen” in the classroom and their communities. The Carroll County Public School District has named Shelia Hommema of Oakland Elementary as the 2016 Teacher of the Year. The honor marks the first such for an Oakland educator.
“I consider it an honor to be selected as representative of the many highly-qualified teachers in Carroll County Public Schools,” said Hommema to the School Board at its Dec. 10 meeting. “It is a joy and blessing to be able to do each day what I enjoy.”
Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship had earlier added the Teacher of the Year (TOY) process is very rigorous and requires nominated teachers to put a lot of work into their portfolios. He said the system recognizes really good teachers in Carroll County and he agreed with Board Chairman Brian Spencer, who served on the committee, and said the decision this year for the selection committee was very difficult.
According to Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Motley, the selection process begins in March or April of each school year. It is open to all teachers in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Principals and staff from each school nominate teachers from their buildings, vote and each school submits the name of their teacher of the year.
The nominees for the honor this year included Leona Brown of Hillsville Elementary, Pam Nester of Carroll County Middle, Maggie Jarrell of Gladesboro Elementary, Edwin Tompkins of Fancy Gap Elementary, Kevin Bennett of the Regional Alternative Education, Rachelle Rascoe of Carroll County High, Shelia Hommema of Oakland Elementary, Amy Hash of Laurel Elementary, Sheryl Patton of St. Paul and Amy Jo Ward of Gladeville Elementary
Each nominee typically is introduced at the Friendship Festival, which is held in the Spring. The Friendship Festival is a dinner and recognition ceremony which recognizes retired teachers and teachers of the year. It is sponsored by the Carroll County Retired Teachers Association, the Carroll Education Association and the Carroll County Public School Central Office.
Motley indicated each representative is asked to complete a portfolio which includes an application, three letters of support, their educational history and professional, development activities, professional, community involvement, philosophy of teaching and educational issues and trends.
These packets are shared with the selection committee comprised of approximately 10 representatives, including teachers, retired employees, Carroll Education Association representatives, community members, and school board members. Each Selection Committee Member shares their ratings with the group. The committee discusses each nominee and then a Teacher of the Year is selected.
Brian Spencer hosted a Teacher of the Year Dinner at Shoney’s Restaurant and has done so for the past several years. This is a celebration of all of the nominees prior to the winner being announced. Motley said the Teacher of the Year selection is kept confidential until representatives from central office and the school board arrive at the school to present the winner with an award and bouquet.
Each nominee receives $250 to spend in their classrooms and the winner receives $500. Winner’s portfolios are submitted to the Department of Education for consideration for the Mary V. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year Program.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.