CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Toni Poling, a high-school English teacher at Fairmont Senior High School in Marion County, is the 2017 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 teacher of the year nominees from 47 West Virginia counties. The event also honored the School Service Personnel Employee of the Year, the Premier Career Technical Education Site and the 2016-2017 Schools of Excellence. “I am truly in awe of the level of excellence in this year’s honorees,” Martirano said. “The dedication of each and every one of these educators is inspiring. Their impact in West Virginia classrooms is evidenced by the accolades and respect their students, fellow teachers and administrators have for them. Ms. Poling is a superior example of what it means to be Teacher of the Year.”
Poling’s passion for teaching first began early in life. Her classroom embraces diversity and promotes mutual respect. She openly welcomes technology and innovation as tools to bring literature alive while encouraging out-of-the box thinking. But Poling’s teaching instinct does not stop with students. She is a dedicated mentor to pre-service teachers, and has served in several leadership roles, including Faculty Senate President, Coordinator of ‘High School that Works’, and the Benedum Collaborative Professional Development School Leader.
As West Virginia’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Poling will receive a $1,000 grant for her school, use of a Toyota car for a year and a cash award from Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Poling was selected by a committee appointed by Martirano to evaluate six finalists among the 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 included: Trista Dalton from Barbour County; John Paul Lynch, Jr. from Jefferson County; Frederick Albert from Kanawha County; Erica Alexander from Ohio County and Kathy Blevins from Summers County.
The Schools of Excellence were selected solely on 2015-2016 proficiency scores during a year of transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act. This year’s winners are Slanesville Elementary School, Hampshire County; Evans Elementary School, Jackson County; George Washington High School, Kanawha County; Holz Elementary School, Kanawha County; Kenna Elementary School, Kanawha County; Suncrest Elementary School, Monongalia County; Steenrod Elementary School, Ohio County; Crescent Elementary School, Raleigh County; Flemington Elementary School, Taylor County and Hacker Valley Elementary/Middle School, Webster County.
The Premier Career and Technical Education Sites Award winner, the James Rumsey Technical Institute, Berkeley County, was also recognized.
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 Kimberly Speir who is a custodian in Mineral County at Fountain Primary School.
For additional information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.