BARRACKVILLE, W.Va. (WBOY) — Nikki Kettler, the 5th and 6th-grade math teacher at Barrackville Middle School, was awarded a $2,000 grant as part of Voya Financials’ Unsung Heroes awards competition.

For 27 years, the Voya Unsung Heroes program has awarded grants to K-12 educators in the United States to recognize and support their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and their ability to positively influence the children they teach. Kettler’s innovative idea “Interactive Whiteboard/Technology Integration” was designed to help fill the technology gap in the schools.

I’ve already noticed an increased engagement in my classroom. Always before when we were going over problems or doing examples, I have like maybe a handful of kids with their hands in the air that want to answer, but now that I have the board, everybody almost has their hand in the air because they want a chance to come up and write on it. So, even if their coming up to the board and writing an incorrect answer, they’re still learning from it because their engaged and they’re learning from their mistakes because I know they’re actually paying attention to me because they want to come up to the board and interact with it.

Nikki Kettler

Kettler was one of 50 winners chosen from schools nationwide to receive the $2,000 grant. She will now compete with other finalist for and additional $5,000, $10,000, or $25,000 from Voya Financial. To learn more about this year’s winning projects you can visit