Harrison County Teacher Named Teacher of the Year
Title I Teacher Awarded Top Teaching Honor
Posted: September 19, 2002
Mary K. Devono, a Title I Reading Specialist at West Milford Elementary School, was named West Virginia’s 2003 Teacher of the Year during an awards ceremony earlier this evening at the Charleston Marriott. She will represent West Virginia for the National Teacher of the Year.
State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart made the announcement during a ceremony that recognized Devono and her fellow county teachers of the year.
Devono began her teaching career in 1972 as a middle school music teacher. Beginning in 1977, she served as a substitute teacher for 10 years and in 1984, she began teaching music, art and physical education at the elementary level. Devono has served as a Title I Reading/Math teacher at the elementary level since 1989.
“It is my distinct privilege to honor such a fine educator in our state’s public school system. Mrs. Devono exemplifies the meaning of master teacher not only by her leadership skills, but also by displaying an extraordinary dedication to both her students and her community,” Dr. Stewart said. “Mrs. Devono’s dedication to children by helping them with their reading skills and her contributions of music to her students have shown that she is truly worthy of this recognition.”
Professional development has played a key role in Devono’s successful career as a teacher. Not only is she a member of the Benedum Collaborative on Education Reform, but also she has received the highest national credential as a teacher – certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
“When I went through the national certification process, I had to reflect upon and examine my reasons for staying in this profession for 24 years,” Devono said. “I realized I could revitalize my students and myself everyday when I come into the classroom and I could make a difference in the life of a child.”
The classroom is not the only place where Devono serves children. With her gift of music, she served her community by working with the Harrison County Children’s Chorus as its organ accompanist and director. Currently, she serves her community by connecting the children in her classroom to daycare centers. By encouraging young students to write and design books for daycare centers, the students are, at the same time, providing a warm transition for daycare students who will soon move up to the classroom.
“Children who attend daycare will eventually be students in our school,” Devono said. “Connecting the pre-schoolers and my students is a special way we project our school as a friendly, caring learning place.”
Devono was selected from five finalists who came from a field of 46 Teacher of the Year nominees. A committee appointed by the state superintendent of schools to evaluate the county nominees selects the state Teacher of the Year. Sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc., the Teacher of the Year is the longest, ongoing awards program honoring classroom teachers in the country.