Congratulations to our Teachers of the Year
Posted: May 16, 2019
The 2019-2020 Newport News Public Schools Teachers of the Year were honored at a banquet on May 3. The evening also brought the announcement of the elementary, middle, high school and divisionwide Teachers of the Year.
Division & Middle School
Teacher of the Year
Crittenden Middle School
Andy Perry is the Divisionwide and Middle School Teacher of the Year. Andy Perry is a 7th grade life science and advanced physical science teacher at Crittenden Middle School with seven years of experience. Mr. Perry serves as the STEM lead teacher. He works to build his students’ confidence so that they learn to take risks. Mr. Perry’s students guide their own learning through problem-based activities, student centered projects, and hands-on labs. Mr. Perry makes learning come alive.
Teacher of the Year
Discovery STEM Academy
Karla Bradley is the Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Karla Bradley is a library media specialist at Discovery STEM Academy with 17 years of experience. Ms. Bradley believes that the school librarian is an instructional partner to teachers and the school leadership team. She meets with the leadership team and grade level lead teachers to review and discuss student data, so that her library lessons align with the curriculum. Ms. Bradley pushes her students to become avid readers and researchers.
Teacher of the Year
Heritage High School
Kimberly Horton is the High School Teacher of the Year. Kimberly Horton teaches Algebra 2 at Heritage High School and has 13 years of experience in education. Ms. Horton encourages students to own their learning through student-lead lessons and peer lead instruction. She takes the time to get to know her students, so that she can equip them with what they need to be successful.
2019-20 Teachers of the Year
Denbigh Early Childhood Center
Heather Krizmencic is a lead teacher with 13 years of experience in education. Ms. Krizmencic believes that the best teaching starts with good student relationships. As she gets to know her students and their interests, she incorporates their interests into her instruction. She strives to ensure that her classroom is a safe place where students can make mistakes and celebrate their accomplishments.
Kristen Ryan is an early childhood special education teacher with 7 years of experience. Ms. Ryan empowers her students. Through differentiated activities using tools ranging from crayons to technology, her students have the joy of seeing their own progress. She believes that a positive learning environment fosters self-confidence in her students. As Ms. Ryan’s students learn to believe in themselves, they surpass their goals.
Lee Hall Early Childhood Center
Erin Harris is a school counselor with 8 years of experience. She strives to provide her students with a strong social-emotional foundation on which they can grow and advance in their educational journey.
Marshall Early Learning Center
Pam Pressley is a pre-school teacher with 18 years of experience in education. Ms. Pressley advances her students by addressing their developmental needs and creating a learning environment where her students are valued. She provides her students with experiences that help them explore, apply and evaluate their work. Her goal is to ignite their creativity and promote critical thinking.
Watkins Early Childhood Center
Beth Kent is a reading specialist with 22 years of experience. Ms. Kent builds excitement about books and reading. Her students write and illustrate their own stories. And her preschool students use props to retell stories that they know and love. Ms. Kent says she considers it a privilege to interact with students in their first school experience.
An Achievable Dream Academy
Charlotte Bordino is a second-grade lead teacher with 9 years of experience. Ms. Bordino uses robotics to engage her students. Her students use beebots and ozobots to sequence stories, solve math problems and answer questions. This year, Ms. Bordino introduced her students to social responsibility with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a fundraiser for childhood cancer warriors. Her students raised over $500 for the cause.
Carver Elementary School
Tammy LeBouton is a preschool special education teacher with 24 years of experience. Ms. LeBouton says her job is to prepare students for all life has to offer them. In addition to teaching her students self-care skills, she teaches they how to play together. This lays a solid foundation for advancing their language and communication skills. She teaches them to express their wants and needs through pictures, sign language and verbalization.
B.C. Charles Elementary School
Nancy Peterson is a school counselor with 11 years of experience. Ms. Peterson says that building relationships is the most important part of her job because students need to know there is always someone willing to listen and help them problem-solve. She teaches her students strategies and coping skills to use when their feelings, school work, and lives get tough. Ms. Peterson says her students will be prepared for the world ahead of them.
Deer Park Elementary School
Kara Latuch is a 4th grade teacher with 21 years of teaching experience. Ms. Latuch’s classroom provides a safe atmosphere where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and taking risks. She believes that teaching is a process of learning from her students, families and the community. She uses this knowledge to create new instructional strategies and ideas to support student learning.
Discovery STEM Academy
• Karla Bradley is a library media specialist with 17 years of experience. Ms. Bradley believes that the school librarian is an instructional partner to teachers and the school leadership team. She meets with the leadership team and grade level lead teachers to review and discuss student data, so that her library lessons align with the curriculum. Ms. Bradley pushes her students to become avid readers and researchers.
Dutrow Elementary School
Elizabeth August is a kindergarten teacher with 10 years of experience. Ms. August incorporates a variety of tools in her classroom including literature, music, technology and games to give her students many opportunities to practice skills and concepts. She also uses teachable moments throughout the day to connect student learning to the real world. Ms. August is most proud of the relationships that she has built with her students and their families.
Margie Dun Moodie
Epes Elementary School
Margie Dun Moodie is a primary special education teacher with 24 years of experience. Ms. Dun Moodie works with autistic students to develop and increase their academic, communication and social skills. She says communication is the critical factor for student achievement. Ms. Dun Moodie uses touch screen computers, I Pads and visual supports to engage her students in their learning.
Gen. Stanford Elementary School
Jasmine Tisdale is a reading and math interventionist with 7 years of experience. Ms. Tisdale also serves as her school’s youth development leader. She expands her students’ knowledge with hands-on activities and critical thinking applications. Through small group instruction and one-on-one support, Ms. Tisdale grows her students’ phonological awareness and comprehension skills.
Greenwood Elementary School
Erica Harris is a second grade teacher with 4 years of teaching experience. She is passionate about sharing her love of literacy to expand her students’ horizons. Her classroom is purposefully student-led. Ms. Harris believes her job is to be a muse, not a ruler, so that students feel empowered to take ownership of their own learning and achievement. Ms. Harris’ goal is to create future leaders.
Hidenwood Elementary School
Morgan Lafferty is a second grade teacher with five years of experience in education. Ms. Lafferty motivates her students by tailoring her lessons to their specific interests.
Hilton Elementary School
Rebecca Shaffer is a physical education teacher with 20 years of experience. Ms. Shaffer strives to a create positive, productive learning environment in the gym. She shares intentions, and sets expectations and learning targets, so that students can focus on their goals. Ms. Shaffer has also created a mediation area and a calming corner in the gym to support and empower social responsibility in her students.
Jenkins Elementary School
Ebony Cornitcher is a 5th grade teacher with 6 years of experience. Ms. Cornitcher sets high expectations for her students. She connects with them and learns with them. Ms. Cornitcher wants her students to see her as a learner too, one who makes mistakes, accepts responsibility and grows, just like they do. In her classroom, every student’s ideas are welcome, and mistakes are celebrated as part of the growth process.
Kiln Creek Elementary School
Morgan Shepard is a special educator who teaches students with autism spectrum disorders. She has 5 years of experience. Ms. Shepard strives to help her students find their voice and bloom. She uses each student’s unique strengths to advance them academically and socially. She believes that building their confidence is key to helping every student reach their potential.
Lee Hall Elementary School
Tyrone Hodge is a music teacher with 5 years of experience. Mr. Hodge’s music instruction supports the curriculum that students are learning in their core classes. He has devised a system that keeps students engaged by using music to reinforce their learning objectives. Mr. Hodge also launched the Crimson Thunder Drumline and Mentoring Program, the first elementary drumline in Hampton Roads.
McIntosh Elementary School
Alison Reilly is a third grade teacher with 3 years of experience. Ms. Reilly provides hands-on activities that connect her students to their learning. Her classroom is student-centered with students taking an active role in creating their best learning environment. Her students choose their own alternative seating, so that they can determine their best manner of learning. Perseverance is her classroom theme; her students learn that there are many ways to learn and solve a problem.
Nelson Elementary School
Shanel King is a special educator who guides students with emotional disabilities. She has 3 years of experience. Ms. King develops creative lessons and implements innovative strategies, while focusing on the social-emotional needs of her students. She connects with her students and families to ensure that students have the support they need at school and at home. Ms. King’s goal is to shape student behavior so that they can grow and blossom.
Newsome Park Elementary School
Shanice Porter is a 2nd grade lead teacher with 7 years of experience. Ms. Porter takes a holistic approach to teaching her students, adjusting to their individual needs and learning styles. She gives her students voice and choice so that they can take ownership of their learning, and she adjusts her classroom each year to fit the needs of her students. Ms. Porter ensures that her students feel a sense of purpose and belonging.
Palmer Elementary School
Amanda Causey is a third-grade teacher with 20 years of experience in education. Ms. Causey encourages a love for reading, and introduces students to different genres and authors. She uses real-life connections to further student understanding. Students buy and sell at a store, and make goods to learn about the economy; and use checkbooks for adding and subtracting. To encourage and support their writing, she also hosts writing parties – students enjoy treats while reading each other’s work and sharing compliments.
Richneck Elementary School
Michael Nunes is the 4th grade lead teacher; he has 13 years of experience. Mr. Nunes believes in collaborative learning. His students spend a great deal of time solving story problems by working in groups. This method gives students the opportunity to explain their thinking to each other, and learn from each other. Mr. Nunes says his greatest reward is when parents thank him for helping their child learn and become a better person.
Riverside Elementary School
Jessica Booth is a 1st grade lead teacher with 8 years of experience. Ms. Booth teaches problem-solving skills that help her students work together and become independent thinkers. This problem-solving gives students the tools they need to support their learning. Ms. Booth is also a STEM champion. She uses technology to connect her students with sights and wonders around the world.
Sanford Elementary School
Kristie McCray is the 5th grade lead teacher. She has 22 years of experience. Ms. McCray says her job is to help students understand how their learning is meaningful in the real world. To support their reading, she shares books, and functional texts including recipes, assembly instructions and menus. Her math instruction is also connected to real-life concepts including budgeting with grocery store ads.
Saunders Elementary School
Pilar Moran is a 5th grade teacher with 23 years of experience. Ms. Moran engages her students to learn by using songs, raps and chants to tunes that they are familiar with. She builds relationships and strong bonds with her students and families. By discovering their interests, she can make learning come alive.
Sedgefield Elementary School
Carlisa Ward-Vissoh teaches 5th grade talented and gifted students. She has 14 years of experience. Ms. Ward-Vissoh empowers students to become leaders, achievers and role models. These goals are woven into her daily instruction. She also connects classroom learning with real-world skills through take home projects and classroom jobs.
Yates Elementary School
Jamie Fiegl is a 3rd grade teacher with 5 years of experience. Ms. Fiegl uses project-based learning experiences to develop and hone her students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Her students are able to conduct research, overcome obstacles and present their findings to their peers. Ms. Fiegl’s goal is for her students to see how their classroom experiences prepare them for the future.
Crittenden Middle School
Andy Perry is a 7th grade life science and advanced physical science teacher with 7 years of experience. Mr. Perry serves as the STEM lead teacher. He works to build his students’ confidence so that they learn to take risks. Mr. Perry’s students guide their own learning through problem-based activities, student centered projects, and hands-on labs. Mr. Perry makes learning come alive.
Dozier Middle School
Adria Merritt is an 8th grade English teacher with 21 years of experience. Ms. Merritt says the hallmarks of her instruction are collaboration, reflection, meaningful dialogue and project based learning. This year, her students transformed a narrative’s plot into a reader’s theater script. Ms. Merritt’s students are able to demonstrate their understanding of the writing process by taking ownership of their own learning process.
Gildersleeve Middle School
Joy Tyson teaches students with intellectual disabilities and serves as the special education lead teacher. She has 14 years of experience. Ms. Tyson says it is important for students to take advantage of every opportunity for success. She uses strategies to help her students access the general curriculum, while growing their confidence in their ability to learn.
Hines Middle School
Carleen Holmes has 17 years of experience. As a special educator, Ms. Holmes teaches personal life skills to 6th through 8th grade students. She encourages students to own their learning. Her teaching takes on a work based setting; students even use timesheets for teachers, or supervisors, to sign, and they approach their classes as if they were job sites where they grow and learn. Her students are becoming independent thinkers and achievers.
Huntington Middle School
Priscilla Skinner is the special education lead teacher; she teaches English and math to 7th and 8th grade students. She has 24 years of teaching experience. Ms. Skinner provides her students with a safe environment where students are invited to share their ideas and take risks. She makes learning meaningful for her students, and ensures that her students connect their learning to the world outside of her classroom.
Passage Middle School
Laura Fiedler is a 6th grade science and advanced math teacher with 5 years of experience. Ms. Fiedler says that integrating science and math gives students real-world connections. During science and math lessons, her students experience the Virginia watershed and learn more about NASA’s influence. Ms. Fiedler’s science labs and interactive math lessons have increased student engagement.
B. T. Washington Middle School
Laura Harrison is a 7th grade language arts teacher with 7 years of experience. Ms. Harrison believes that education is as much about character as it is about content. She says in order to teach students, you have to know them, and respect them. In addition to encouraging a love of reading and writing, Ms. Harrison teaches research skills and media literacy through website evaluation and messaging.
An Achievable Dream Middle and High School
Linescia Potts teaches 7th grade instructional enrichment, honors and AP biology, and ecology. She serves as the science lead teacher and has 11 years of experience. Ms. Potts strives to make learning fun and relatable. She has been known to teach a dance about Mitosis, a song about the water cycle, and use virtual reality viewers to discuss part of a cell.
Denbigh High School
Wendy Stuck teaches Spanish I and 2. She has 19 years of teaching experience. Ms. Stuck introduces her students to a world of possibilities through language and culture. Her students gain global awareness as they compare and contrast their lives with others. Ms. Stuck also uses a variety of software and online resources to reinforce learning.
Heritage High School
Kimberly Horton teaches Algebra 2. She has 13 years of experience in education. Ms. Horton encourages students to own their learning through student-lead lessons and peer lead instruction. She takes the time to get to know her students, so that she can equip them with what they need to be successful.
Nicole Kuykendall Sullivan
Menchville High School
Nicole Kuykendall Sullivan is a math teacher with 10 years of experience in education. She also serves as her school’s testing coordinator. Ms. Sullivan uses numerous brain-based techniques to engage students and increase their learning. Through student-led review sessions, she ensures students are accountable for their leaning and supporting others.
Warwick High School
Emily Blackburn teaches Algebra II, Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry, and Calculus. She has 6 years of teaching experience. Ms. Blackburn takes her lessons beyond the classroom. She frequently associates numbers with recipes, money and time. Using a recipe, her students can practice conversions, ratios and cost-benefit analyses, seeing the real-world connection.
Woodside High School
Ayanna Fonseca teaches honors and collaborative biology, and marine biology. She has 11 years of experience in education. Through hands-on lessons and experiments, her students are embracing scientific concepts…From collecting and analyzing water samples from the Chesapeake Bay to visiting the Wallops Island Flight Facility.
Sean Slaughter teaches business information technology to 6th through 8th grade students. He has 3 years of teaching experience. Mr. Slaughter says that students must have teachers who care, teachers that coach, and teachers who won’t quit. To ensure that his students are successful, he builds on their strengths and weaknesses, and adjusts his coaching to match their learning process.
Buffey Anderson teaches business management, computer information systems, and economics and personal finance. She has 16 years of education experience. As a career switcher, Ms. Anderson brings a wealth of real world experiences to her classroom and school. She launched a Future Business Leaders of America club and she organized the school’s first career fair.