CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) today announced six finalists for the West Virginia Teacher of the Year award. Finalists represent the best of the best in education and were selected from among the county teacher of the year winners. This year’s six finalists are: Teresa Thorne, Slanesville Elementary School, Hampshire County, Tammy Ann Spangler, Ripley Middle School, Jackson County, Katlin Thorsell, Washington High School, Jefferson 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.
“I congratulate this group of finalists who have confirmed that we have some of the most compassionate teachers in West Virginia influencing our students,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “Each of these teachers embrace high expectations, strive for excellence and put students at the center of all they do.”
This years’ nominees include elementary, middle and high school educators from a variety of disciplines, and span the Mountain State.
Teresa Thorne is a first-grade teacher at Slanesville Elementary, and has been teaching for 14 years. She is active on a variety of leadership teams and advisory councils and is passionate about fostering character growth as a Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) sponsor, a program that allows dads, uncles and grandfathers to volunteer at schools.
Tammy Ann Spangler is a mathematics teacher at Ripley Middle School. She focuses on working together with her students to share ideas and strategies to complete project-based math lessons. Spangler works to develop Jackson County's sixth grade mathematics curriculum and share her vision for "all students to be mathematical thinkers and persevere in solving problems."
Katlin 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.
Tammy Bittorf began teaching English after her honorable discharge from the United States Airforce. That experience inspired her to launch the "Broadening Horizon's in Morgan County Program" a non-profit, dedicated to providing students the opportunity to visit other countries. Bittorf focuses on teaching students respect and tolerance for other cultures while building their self-confidence to prepare them for college and the workforce.
Adriane Manning likes to combine literature, history, art and performance together as a middle school Reading and English Language Arts teacher. Manning brings her experience as a seasoned reporter for The Washington Post to teach life skills like discipline, teamwork and self-confidence in her classroom. Manning is also involved with the school’s spring musical and the student-led news broadcast, Wildcat 411.
Leslie Lively has been an educator for more than 20 years with a focus on STEM education. Lively has built the Engineer Energy Program in Wetzel County, which engages nearly 100 students in hands-on exploration of STEM subjects. The program allows students to coordinate with their local Board of Education, businesses and community at large to present their STEM based projects throughout the school year.
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. West Virginia’s program is recognized as one of the oldest and consistent state Teacher of the Year programs in the nation.
West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year will be announced during a ceremony on September 18th at the Clay Center in Charleston. The winner of the state recognition will go on to represent West Virginia at the national level.
Photos of each finalist can be accessed below:
Adriane Manning, Ohio County
Katlin Thorsell, Jefferson County
Leslie Lively, Wetzel County
Tammy Bittorf, Morgan County
Tammy Spangler, Jackson County
Teresa Thorne, Hampshire County