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In The News

Congratulations to the 2015-2016 teachers of the year

(May 19, 2015) -Newport News Public Schools' 2015-2016 Teachers of the Year were honored at a banquet May 12. The evening also brought the announcement of the elementary, middle, high school and NNPS Teacher of the Year.

Kari Egnot
Division and High School Teacher of the Year

Kari EgnotKari Egnot, a calculus teacher at Menchville High School, is named the District and High School Teacher of the Year. Egnot, who has taught for 18 years, is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Egnot, a second generation teacher and a product of NNPS, said that teaching is something she always wanted to do. She strives to ensure that her students connect math concepts to real world applications, "I know each day I enter my classroom, I have the responsibility to not only teach my students how to do math, but to show them why doing math is important, why it is necessary and why it is fun," said Egnot. "I think one thing that makes me a good teacher is the relationships I have with my students... they know I love my job and that I choose to be there with them."

Egnot has taught many levels of math during her career including sixth grade math, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, math analysis, and advanced placement BC calculus. She also currently serves as Menchville's testing coordinator.

Egnot holds a Bachelor's degree in liberal arts and sciences and a Master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech.

Martin Blount
Middle School Teacher of the Year

Martin BlountMartin Blount, band teacher and director at Gildersleeve Middle School, is the Middle School Teacher of the Year. He has nine years of teaching experience, all in Newport News. Blount was inspired to become a music educator by his band directors at Gildersleeve Middle School and Woodside High School. Having only taught in schools that he attended, he says that he takes great care to "keep the traditions of excellence alive."

Blount believes that students can learn everything they need to be successful in band class: they learn that they are responsible for their own success; they learn that working together will help you learn and perform better; and they learn that discipline and dedication are essential to ensuring that a band of 100 students performs with similar tone quality, intonation and rhythm. He is credited with doubling the number of students in Gildersleeve's band program since joining the school faculty in 2009.

Blount is a member of the Virginia Music Educators Association and the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. He has also served as a guest conductor for several area school district all-city middle school bands.

He holds an undergraduate degree in musical performance from Mannes College of Music in New York.

Sheila Diggs Jones
Elementary School Teacher of the Year

Sheila Diggs JonesSheila Jones, a kindergarten teacher at Marshall Early Learning Center, is the Elementary School Teacher of the Year. A 29-year veteran educator, Jones believes that teaching is heart-work. "I love my students. I always have and I always will. It makes my heart smile when I see a former student and they remind me of something that I did for them inside and outside of our classroom walls," said Jones.

Jones says she serves as a facilitator in her kindergarten class; most of her lessons are designed with minimal teacher input so that students discover and lead their own learning together. Teachers, she says, are present to facilitate and guide. "The days of the teacher having all of the answers and lecturing are gone," said Jones.

A strong believer in project-based learning, Jones says that her students' work has been exciting and impressive. She says her kindergarten students feel a sense of pride in being considered an expert; they are able to help themselves and their classmates by brainstorming and questioning one another. As her students delve deeper into their research, she says their experiences leave lasting impressions.

Jones has spent her entire career in Newport News schools having taught pre-school at Magruder Early Childhood Center, and fourth grade at Riverside Elementary School prior to joining the faculty at Marshall. She holds a degree in early childhood education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Teachers of the Year, 2015-2016

Early Childhood Centers
Tracy A. Carroll Denbigh Early Childhood Center
Anne M. Battle Gatewood P.E.E.P.
Katharine S. Giegerich Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Sheila D. Jones Marshall Early Learning Center
April M. Cutkay Watkins Early Childhood Center
Elementary Schools
Sarah S. Greathouse An Achievable Dream Academy
Joyce E. Oberthal Carver Elementary
Shelley D. Haywood Charles Elementary
Vicki K. Sparks   Deer Park Elementary
Lori A. Kandel Dutrow Elementary
Susie Rush Epes Elementary
Katrina I. Cannon General Stanford Elementary
Rhonda J. Harmon Greenwood Elementary
Carrie L. Nichols Hidenwood Elementary
Mina M. Gibbons Hilton Elementary
Cynthia L. DeRouen Jenkins Elementary
Kasey L. Reed Kiln Creek Elementary
Stephanie R. Andrus Lee Hall Elementary
Michelle R. Braxton Magruder Elementary Discover STEM Academy
Tiffany J. Murchison McIntosh Elementary
Joanna E. Burton Nelson Elementary
Jasmine N. Tisdale Newsome Park Elementary
Jessica A. Woodruff Palmer Elementary
Wanda B. Hedgepeth Richneck Elementary
Silver L. Conlon Riverside Elementary
Catherine J. Footer Sanford Elementary
Jennifer L. Edmonds Saunders Elementary
Nathalie Cooper Sedgefield Elementary
Beatrice W. Gray Yates Elementary
Middle Schools
Cheryl C. Smith-Robinson Achievable Dream Middle & High
Eugene Baker Crittenden Middle School
Patricia L. Skaggs Dozier Middle School
Martin Blount Gildersleeve Middle School
Jeannine M. Tucker Hines Middle School
Brandai P. Wills Huntington Middle School
Jessica A. Goff Passage Middle School
Cathy Cross-Stephens Washington Middle School
High Schools
Tanisha R. Davis Denbigh High School
Arcelia L. Simmons Heritage High School
Kari A. Egnot Menchville High School
Michelle L. Cullison Warwick High School
Jerome L. Rhodes Woodside High School