Morgan County Teacher Named Teacher of the Year

September 12, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Sarah Morris, an English teacher at Berkeley Springs High School in Morgan County, has been named West Virginia’s 2007 Teacher of the Year. She will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year competition. Teacher of the Year State Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine made the announcement during a ceremony Tuesday evening at the Charleston Marriott that recognized county teachers of the year.  

Morris began her teaching career in 2000 as a substitute in Preston County. She began teaching full time in 2001 at Berkeley Springs, where her classes include English, speech, composition, AP language and AP composition. She also has been an online instructor for English as a Second Language.  

“It is my distinct privilege to honor such a fine educator in our state’s public school system,” Paine said. “Sarah’s dedication to her students by preparing them for college or the workplace has made her worthy of this award.”  

Morris has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Virginia University.  

“The quality I have admired most about Sarah over the last five years is her perseverance,” said Berkeley Springs Principal George Ward Jr. “When most teachers profess failure, Sarah looks for a new approach. … She has the magic that we all talk about and the humility to downplay it.”  

Morris received the Mary Linn Fox First Year Teacher Award in 2002 and was a 2006 participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program, which strives to increase understanding between the people of Japan and the United States. She also is the author of, “My Father Teaches Me to Fish,” which was accepted for publication in Gray’s Sporting Journal in 2005, and “Burying Opal,” which was published by Nantahala Review in 2002.  

“Real education provides the learner with new ways of making meaning in all the world,” Morris said, “and the world -- not just the learner -- is made richer for having that knowledge.” As West Virginia’s 2007 Teacher of the Year, Morris will receive an educational technology package from the Smarter Kids Foundation valued at approximately $14,300.  

Morris was selected by a committee appointed by the state Superintendent of Schools to evaluate 11 finalists who came from the county Teacher of the Year winners. The Teacher of the Year is the longest, ongoing awards program honoring classroom teachers in the country, granting its first award in 1964.

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