The McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence 2011 Winners

Montgomery, Washington County teachers win McGlothlin Awards
Two top educators each receive $25,000

Watch videos of the finalists and winners

2011 WinnersThe 2011 McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence winners are Lisa Taylor from Belview Elementary School in Montgomery County, Va., and Liz Phillips from Wallace Middle School in Washington County, Va. These top teachers accepted their awards and $25,000 checks during an awards ceremony at Radford University. The annual event is sponsored by Blue Ridge PBS, the McGlothlin Foundation and the university's College of Education and Human Development.

Homer Hickam, best-selling author of "Rocket Boys," delivered the keynote address titled "October Sky: Turning Dreams into Realities." He shared recollections about how he benefited from inspiring educators while growing up in nearby Coalwood, W. Va.


"Children and teachers are among our most important audiences here at Blue Ridge PBS," said James Baum, station president and CEO. "With the McGlothlin Awards, we honor the best educators teachers in our community and, at the same time, help kids by publicly celebrating their teachers who work so hard in our region's schools. Congratulations to Lisa and Liz."

Lisa TaylorLisa Taylor, described as a "natural teacher" by her peers, is often praised by her students and their parents, like Jennifer Smith.

"I have been fortunate enough to have had Lisa Taylor teach two of my children for three years," wrote Smith. "I say that I have been fortunate, but my kids are the real winners here...my kids and all the Belview community are better off having her there. The amount of learning going on in her room amazes me. We see her excellence every day in the classroom."

"She welcomes the challenge of a struggling student, and it does not even occur to her that a child might not make as much progress as her stronger students during the year," added Jonni Newcomb a reading specialist at Belview Elementary." She focuses on interventions and strategies for struggling students utilizing specialists, aides, volunteers and older students in our school to help that student progress beyond all others' expectations."

Liz PhillipsLiz Phillips, a master teacher, is valued by coworkers as someone who cares deeply about her students and fellow teachers, always willing to share her teaching methods.

"Mrs. Phillips creates her own curriculum in order to better meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population," said Valerie Leonard, a physical science teacher at Wallace Middle School. "The booklets she creates not only meet all standards of learning, they often incorporate other disciplines standards as well, and also promote student engagement. Her knowledge of how students learn and her natural creative nature have given her the unique ability to create curriculum that promotes a higher level of student learning than any other curriculum I have utilized."

Both Taylor and Phillips must use $10,000 of their award for international travel. Thomas D. McGlothlin, president of the Bristol, Va.-based McGlothlin Foundation, said he made this a requirement because long after the cash award is spent, travel experiences will remain and provide something special for both the teacher and students.

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

Four McGlothlin finalists were each presented with a trophy and a check for $1,000. Finalists were: Lisa James, Narrows Elementary/Middle School, Giles County Public Schools, Va.; Lisa Walden, High Point Elementary School, Washington County Public Schools, Va.; Teresa Brown, Haynesfield Elementary School (6th grade), Bristol City Public Schools, Tenn.; and Susan Stanbery, Heritage High School, Lynchburg City Public Schools, Va.

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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