CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Andréa Santos, a Spanish teacher at Logan High School in Logan County is the 2016 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano made the announcement Wednesday night during a ceremony in Charleston that recognized each county teacher of the year. The event also honored earlier announced award winners, including the 2014 Milken Family Foundation Winner, the West Virginia School Service Personnel Employee of the Year, the 2015-2016 Schools of Excellence and the 2015-2016 Premier Career and Technical Education Sites.
“It is an honor to be able to recognize such a dedicated group of educators in our state and I commend them for the work they do every day to support our young people,” Martirano said. “Research tells us that teachers are the single most important factor in how much a child learns in school. Their role in the classroom is ever more critical as we work to increase the graduation rate and ensure that every child is in school every day.”
Santos is known for her positivity, inspiration, and ability to reach out to troubled students. Teaching Spanish in grades 9-12, she shows her students how to strive for excellence, respect others, appreciate and explore cultural diversity and language, and break down barriers that attempt to hold them back. She believes that her students are the most important element of her career and that every advancement in her profession is entirely for them.
As West Virginia’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Santos will receive an educational technology package valued at nearly $10,000, use of a Toyota car for a year and cash awards from Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Horace Mann Insurance.
Santos 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: Amy McElroy from Cabell County; Kevin Warfield from Greenbrier County; Shelby Walburn from Hampshire County; Richard Kyer from Monongalia County and Candace Lewis from Wood County.
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, the implementation of advanced and innovated programs. This year’s winners are East Hardy High, Hardy County; Evans Elementary, Jackson County; Pleasant Valley Elementary, Marion County; Suncrest Middle, Monongalia County; Panther Creek Elementary, Nicholas County; Steenrod Elementary, Ohio County; Crescent Elementary, Raleigh County; Hacker Valley Elementary, Webster County and Greenmont Elementary, Wood County.
The Premier Career and Technical Education Sites Award winners that were recognized are John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center, Hancock County; Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center, Logan County and Mingo Central Comprehensive High School, Mingo County.
The Milken Educator Award has been described as "the Oscars of teaching" by Teacher Magazine. It was conceived by the Milken Family Foundation to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession and is the nation's distinguished teacher recognition program. The 2014 Milken Family Foundation Winner is Dr. Ernie Adkins who is a principal at Primary School in Princeton, WV.
The 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 Garland Christian who is a custodian in Wayne County at Ceredo Kenova Middle School.
For additional information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.