“Mrs. Webster!!! Mrs. Webster!!! Mrs. Webster!!!”
Students at the Burton Center for Arts and Technology cheered Tuesday morning for Theatre Arts teacher Carol Webster, who was named the Region VI 2012 Virginia Regional Teacher of the Year during a surprise ceremony at the school.
Webster now is in the running for the Mary V. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced at an awards ceremony in Richmond on Oct. 14.
“I understand the importance for each of us to explore, examine, and apply resourceful and innovative ways to help ensure that all students, regardless of their backgrounds and circumstances, receive a high-quality education that will lead to opportunities for them to become responsible and productive citizens. Your contributions to this effort have been recognized through your demonstrated performance as an exemplary classroom teacher,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell in a letter to Webster.
Webster first started teaching English and drama in Roanoke County in 1991 at William Byrd High School. Throughout her many years at WBHS, Webster and her students won several national theatrical competitions. Webster also led the school’s Service Learning Academy, helping students understand the importance of service to the community. In 2009, Webster became the Director of the Center for Performing Arts at the Burton Center for Arts and Technology in addition to her teaching duties at WBHS.
“We are extremely proud of Carol and her incredible work at the Center for Performing Arts and at WBHS,” said Roanoke County Public School Superintendent Dr. Lorraine Lange. “Carol is the first Roanoke County teacher to be named the regional teacher of the year and we think she would be an outstanding choice for the Virginia Teacher of the Year,” Lange added.
The eight regional teachers of the year were selected from among candidates nominated by school divisions in each of the state’s eight administrative regions. The candidates submitted portfolios highlighting their accomplishments, educational philosophies and community activities. A panel, including classroom teachers, representatives of professional and educational associations, the business community and 2011 Virginia Teacher of the Year LaTonya E. Waller of Richmond reviewed the portfolios — and letters of recommendation from divisions, colleagues and supporters — and selected the eight regional teachers of the year.
The panel will interview each of the eight teachers next month to select the 2012 Virginia Teacher of the Year. The decision will be announced during an awards ceremony October 14 in Richmond.
The 2012 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, in partnership with the University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador Programs, and sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target. 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 as a National Teacher of the Year.