CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced Katlin Thorsell, an Agriculture Education teacher at Washington High School in Jefferson County, as the 2018 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine, announced Thorsell as the state’s representative at a ceremony Monday night that recognized the Teacher of the Year nominees from 53 counties.
“I am very proud to have Katlin serve as West Virginia’s representative as teacher of the year,” Paine said. “She is passionate about helping each of her students reach their full potential and continually looks for innovative ways to keep students engaged through hands-on learning.”
Thorsell makes sure her students understand the importance of community involvement. As an Agriculture Education teacher and FFA advisor, Thorsell ensures that her agriculture students have the ability to complete Supervised Agriculture Experiences (SAE) allowing real-world training in a supervised environment. A volunteer firefighter and EMT, Thorsell also allows graduating seniors to receive hands-on CPR and First Aid training.
Thorsell was selected by a committee of educators and WVDE staff that evaluated six finalists from the 53 county Teacher of the Year representatives. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Teacher of the Year program is the longest running awards program honoring classroom teachers in the country. The first national awards were granted in 1952; West Virginia has participated in the program since 1964.
Other finalists for the 2018 Teacher of the Year include: Teresa Thorne, Slanesville Elementary School, Hampshire County; Tammy Ann Spangler, Ripley Middle School, Jackson County; Tammy J. Bittorf, Berkeley Springs High School, Morgan County; Adriane L. Manning, Wheeling Middle School, Ohio County and Leslie Lively, Short Line School, Wetzel County.
The West Virginia Teacher of the Year program identifies, recognizes and promotes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. As the 2018 winner, Thorsell will receive a car for use for Teacher of the Year engagements throughout the year from Toyota, a classroom technology package from SMART Technologies and $5,000 from both Highmark West Virginia and The Horace Mann Companies. The Horace Mann Companies also provide $300 to each of the five other state finalists. This year, the West Virginia Lottery is also providing a $300 grant to each of the county Teacher of the Year winners to use in their classrooms.
Thorsell will go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year Award. The national winner will be announced in April.