The McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence 2010 Winners

Teachers from Roanoke, Washington County win McGlothlin Awards

Two top educators each won $25,000

Watch video of the finalists and winners

Top prizes in the 2010 McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence, including $25,000 checks, were presented April 13, 2010 to Allyson Willis from Watauga Elementary School in Washington County, Va., and Steven Sizemore from William Byrd Middle School in Roanoke County, Va. The McGlothlin Foundation, Blue Ridge PBS and Radford University's College of Education and Human Development partnered, through this annual awards program, to honor the best teachers in the region.

"All McGlothlin Winners, including each of this year's six finalists, make a world of difference in educating the children in our region," said Thomas D. McGlothlin, during the awards ceremony at Radford University. McGlothlin, president of the Bristol, Va.-based McGlothlin Foundation, added, "Our foundation created an award for teaching excellence because we know how much the future of our region depends on education. We want to keep the best teachers in the profession and to positively influence all teachers by demonstrating how much their community values what they do for us all."

Blue Ridge PBS directs the awards process, part of the station's varied education services. "We have been working with the McGlothlin Foundation since 1999 to recognize these unsung heroes," said James Baum, Blue Ridge PBS president and CEO. "We are so proud of this year's winners and all the other teachers who participated in the 2010 McGlothlin awards. They deserve our thanks for what they do every day for the students in our region."

McGlothlin Award winners must use $10,000 of their award for international travel. McGlothlin said long after the cash is spent this experience will remain and provide something special for both the teacher and the student.

"The international travel part was added as a way to broaden the teacher's mind and bring the world back to the students," he continued. "We think traveling the world is the best teacher there is."

Willis is a veteran educator with 15 years of experience, including a recent third grade teaching experience where her class achieved 100 percent pass rates for reading, science, math and social studies. Now a second grade teacher, she is again motivating her students with high expectations supported by strong classroom relationships. Volunteer McGlothlin judges observed that all of Willis' students think they are the teacher's pet. She believes that teaching and learning is all about relationships, where classrooms and colleagues are communities of learners.

Ann Cunningham, Willis' former principal at High Point Elementary school in Washington County said, "Not only is she amazing with her students, but she is also an inspiration to her coworkers as she leads them to rise to new heights."

"Mrs. Willis represents all that is positive about education," wrote Ann Abel, principal at Watauga Elementary.

Sizemore, a sixth grade history teacher, embraces technology tools in his classroom. He has developed an extensive class website, and frequently uses computer learning games and an interactive whiteboard to engage his students. Sizemore has also used Skype and an Internet communications tool to connect live with classrooms in Richmond and Charlottesville, where students were studying the same history content.

"He strives to make a personal connection with his students. He posses a unique skill of providing a relaxed and motivating learning environment based on mutual respect" said Beth Umbarger, principal of Greenfield Elementary School in Botetourt County, Va.

"I know when we have children with special needs that Mr. Sizemore will take the student into his class and develop a rapport that makes the student feel safe," said Todd Kageals, assistant principal at William Bird Middle School. "Mr. Sizemore invites the student to be part of the learning environment."

Four McGlothlin finalists were each presented with a trophy and a check for $1,000. Finalists were: Larry Elkins, Prices Fork Elementary, Montgomery County Public Schools, Va.; Jennifer Barger, Glenvar Elementary, Roanoke County Public Schools, Va.; Sharon Hill, Glenvar Middle School, Roanoke County Public Schools, Va.; and Susan Hampton, Virginia Middle School, Bristol Virginia Public Schools.

Special thanks go to Tom McGlothlin and the McGlothlin Foundation for making this important recognition of teaching excellence possible. The McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence are administered by Blue Ridge PBS.

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