CHARLESTON, W.Va. – MaryLu Hutchins is cruising forward with her responsibilities as the 2009 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Gov. Joe Manchin on Thursday joined Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, the West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education to present Hutchins with a car and cash.
“Teachers like MaryLu Hutchins are at the core to our state’s success because economic development and education are so closely tied,” Manchin said. “We acknowledge MaryLu’s dedication to the classroom and also truly thank Toyota, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Smarter Kids Foundation for supporting this prestigious recognition every year.”
Although representing very different sectors of the economy in West Virginia, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield and Toyota share one significant goal – improving the overall education system in West Virginia to ensure that students are prepared both mentally and physically to enter the workforce. Both organizations have programs to help accomplish this goal, but the common ingredient for the success of these programs is West Virginia’s teachers and educators.
MaryLu Hutchins, the 2009 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, receives a
$5,000 check from Mountain State Blue Cross/Blue Shield and a new Toyota
Prius. Hutchins will spend the next year traveling West Virginia to talk to
colleagues and others about education in West Virginia in the 21st century.
“Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders and the lifestyle lessons we teach them today carry into the future. Recognizing the efforts of those individuals who shape our leaders of tomorrow is just one small way we can ensure a prosperous and healthy outlook for our state, said Gregory K. Smith, president and CEO for Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield. “We are fully committed to offering and supporting programs that will have a positive impact on the daily lives of our customers and the citizens of West Virginia.”
Mike Lutz, general manager of administration, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, said Toyota could not be a success without great teachers.
“It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of our 1,100 Toyota team members currently working in the Buffalo facility, to recognize West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year for 2009,” Lutz said. “Great teachers inspire great students, and great students are the sort of people we want to hire. We truly believe there is a direct link between great teachers and our company’s ultimate success. We congratulate Ms. Hutchins on her achievements and appreciate her dedication to West Virginia’s children and ultimately our state’s positive future.”
The Teacher of the Year is the longest, ongoing awards program honoring classroom teachers in the country, granting its first award in 1964.
“It is my distinct privilege to honor such a fine educator in our state’s public school system,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “MaryLu’s enthusiasm for teaching is evident every day. Innovative and dynamic in the classroom, she infuses students with tremendous motivation and instills in them a love for learning.”
Hutchins is a first grade teacher at Steenrod Elementary School in Ohio County. She began her teaching career in 1979 as a kindergarten teacher, and in 1985, she moved to Kruger Elementary School where she taught first grade until 1990. She has been teaching first grade at Steenrod Elementary since then. Hutchins also was named Teacher in Residence at West Liberty State College in 2006.
Hutchins, who earned her National Board Certification in 2004, also holds a bachelor’s degree from West Liberty State College and a master’s degree from West Virginia University, where she is currently working on a doctorate. She is the 2006 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the 2005 West Virginia Science Teacher of the Year and a 2000 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award winner. Hutchins is a program facilitator and mentor for the National Board for Professional Teaching Certification and serves on several local, regional and state education-related committees.
She will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education's Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.