CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Michael Funkhouser, an English teacher at East Hardy High School in Hardy County, is West Virginia’s 2013 Teacher of the Year. He will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
State Superintendent Jorea Marple made the announcement Wednesday night during a ceremony in Charleston that recognized county teachers of the year. The event also honored earlier announced award winners, including the 2011 Milken Family Foundation Winner, the 2011 Paul J. Morris Character Educator of the Year, the 2012 West Virginia School Service Personnel Employee of the Year and 10 2012-2013 Schools of Excellence.
“It is my distinct privilege to honor such a fine group of educators in our state’s public school system,” Marple said. “Their dedication to their students and their schools has made them worthy of these awards.”
Hardy County Superintendent Barbara Whitecotton describes Funkhouser as “a caring and committed teacher, who goes beyond the textbook to reach his students.”
“His students reach out to him for the advice they may not be getting from a parent, for the support they need in making decisions about their futures and for the knowledge he gives them about his favorite subject, English,” Whitecotton said. “Mr. Funkhouser is an honest man, who gives all that he has to ensure that his students get what they need.”
Funkhouser, who just began his 32nd year in the classroom, has a master’s degree from Shenandoah University and undergraduate degrees from Marshall University and West Virginia University. He is a past vice president and current member of the West Virginia Education Association.
“I believe that teaching is one of the noblest pursuits available to people in today’s world,” Funkhouser said. “My personal teaching style is one of energy and accountability. … Students in my class and their parents understand that we are working together to achieve a goal.”
As West Virginia’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, Funkhouser will receive an educational technology package valued at nearly $15,000, use of a Toyota car for a year and cash awards from Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Horace Mann Insurance.
He was selected by a committee appointed by the state superintendent of schools to evaluate six finalists who were their county Teacher of the Year winners. Teacher of the Year, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, is the longest-running awards program honoring classroom teachers in the country, granting its first national award in 1952. West Virginia has participated in the program since 1964.
Other finalists were Paul Roomsburg, Hampshire (County) High School; Lissa Dulick, Weir High School, Hancock; Ann Meador Wells, Princeton Senior High School, Mercer; Angela Culicerto, Park Middle School, Raleigh; and Shane Eakle, Tucker County High School.
The Schools of Excellence are selected based on the following criteria: a rigorous and challenging curriculum, a safe and drug-free learning environment, participatory leadership, active teaching and learning, an environment that strengthens teacher skills, documented student achievement and implementing advanced and innovated programs. This year’s winners are Ashford-Rumble Elementary, Boone; Craigsville Elementary, Nicholas; Dingess Elementary, Mingo; Eastbrook Elementary, Putnam; Fayette (County) Institute of Technology; Liberty High, Raleigh; Princeton Primary, Mercer; Shoals Elementary, Kanawha; West Hamlin Elementary, Lincoln; and White Hall Elementary, Marion.
The Milken Award provides public recognition and an unrestricted financial award of $25,000 to teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. This year’s winner is Lissa Dulick, who also was a Teacher of Year finalist, from Weir High School in Hancock County.
The Paul J. Morris Character Educator of the Year Award is named after former West Virginia Board of Education member Paul Morris, who received the first Character Educator of the Year Award in 2003. Morris, who died in 2005, served on the state board for about 25 years. This year’s recipient is Damon Hanshaw, assistant superintendent of Nicholas County Schools.
The 2012 West Virginia Board of Education School Service Personnel Employee of the Year Award honors one person, chosen from aides, bus drivers, cooks, custodians, maintenance workers, office workers and other school service personnel, for his or her contribution to the school and community. This year’s winner is Debra Martin of Buffalo High School, Putnam County.
For more information, contact the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.