Raleigh Co. Counselor Named 2009 Character Educator of the Year

September 09, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Debi Lewis, a counselor at Stratton Elementary School in Raleigh County, is the 2009 recipient of the Paul J. Morris Character Educator of the Year Award. The announcement was made Wednesday during the West Virginia Board of Education monthly meeting in Charleston.

At Stratton, where about 82 percent of the school’s 305 students are from lower income families, Lewis has worked to improve school climate and student behavior. She also helped develop the West Virginia Model for Positive School Climate system, and trains others statewide how to adopt the system at their schools.
Character education emphasizes trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, citizenship, justice and fairness, traits that play important roles as children learn how to be global citizens and view the world through a moral lens. 
“Character education is an integral part of education in the 21st century,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Responsibility, respect and ethical behavior are as important in today’s global economy as math and science skills. Debi Lewis instills these life lessons in her students.”
Lewis has been a counselor in Fayette and Raleigh counties for 18 years. She also has taught in Raleigh and Monongalia counties, and has been an adjunct professor for West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, which is now part of Marshall University. Lewis has a bachelor’s degree in special education and English from West Virginia University and a master’s in school counseling from Marshall.
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.  
For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699. 

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