10-9-13 State’s top teacher to be named tonight

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CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s teacher of the year will be announced during a special ceremony this evening and all county teachers of the year will be recognized.
Tonight’s winner will represent the state at the national level.
The 5 finalists are Erin Sponaugle, a 5th-grade teacher in Berkeley County; Jonna Kuskey, a high school English teacher in Marshall County; Meagan Cahill, a Title I reading teacher in Mercer County; and Kimberly Cook, an elementary math teacher in Nicholas County.
Crystal Atkinson, a 4th-grade teacher at Augusta Elementary, was named Hampshire County’s teacher of the year in June.
Tonight’s event also honors Schools of Excellence, the 2012 Milken Family Foundation Winner, the Paul J. Morris Character Educator of the Year, and the 2013 West Virginia Board of Education School Service Personnel Employee of the Year.
Schools of Excellence are selected based on the following criteria: a rigorous and challenging curriculum, a safe and drug-free learning environment, participatory leadership, active teaching and learning, an environment that strengthens teacher skills, documented student achievement and implementing advanced and innovated programs.
Ten schools were chosen including a pair of elementaries from the Eastern Panhandle, Hedgesville in Berkeley County and Maysville in Grant County.
The Milken Award provides public recognition and an unrestricted financial award of $25,000 to teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. This year’s winner is Whitney Stead of Barboursville Elementary School in Cabell County.
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.
The 2013 recipient is Diana Sutherland of the alternative school in Mineral County.
The 2013 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 Mary Lou Hyre of Rock Cave Elementary in Upshur County

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