Upshur County teacher named a finalist for 2021 West Virginia Teacher of the Year

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An Upshur County teacher has been named as a finalist for the 2021 West Virginia Teacher of the Year Award.

On Monday, the West Virginia Department of Education announced the five finalists for the state’s prestigious Teacher of the Year award. The release stated that all of the finalists serve their counties as the 2020 County Teacher of the Year and include elementary, middle, high school and career technical education educators from across the state.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Erin Anderson, Tennerton Elementary School, Upshur County
  • Michael, Knepper, Mussleman High School, Berkeley County
  • Jessica Markwood, Moorefield High School, Hardy County
  • Meghan Salter, Martha Elementary School, Cabell County
  • Lisa Smith, Blennerhassett Elementary School, Wood County

The announcement was made during the July meeting of the West Virginia Board of Education.

“These five finalists represent the absolute highest standards of educator,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Each one of them strives for excellence in themselves and their students and are shining examples of the one caring adult that makes a real difference for a child. It is an honor to recognize them as a part of one of the WVDE’s most esteemed programs.”

Anderson being surprised when she was chosen as the Upshur County Teacher of the Year

According to the release, Anderson recieved her B.A. in Elementary Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College and an M.A. in Reading from West Virginia University. She has started initiatives at Tennerton Elementary School such as, “Move It Mondays,” which is a mileage club that invites all students to run together after school.

Upshur County Superintendent Sara Stankus said the work teachers like Anderson do in her classroom has become even more important during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve realized the importance of teachers and the relationship that they have with their students, and that no computer screen can replicate that relationship that happens in the classroom,” said Stankus.

The 2021 State Teacher of the Year will be announced this fall during a virtual program. Department of Education officials explained that the winner will also go on to represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year Program.

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