FRENCH CREEK – Upshur County Board of Education meetings always start with recognizing employees, students and community members for helping make Upshur County Schools strong, and Tuesday’s BOE meeting was no exception.
First, BOE members recognized the artists of the year and their instructor from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Virginia Hicks. Student artists recognized include Lorena Diaz, Allie Frye and Wyatt Morris.
Hicks showed a painting created by Allie Frye which was of a pumpkin. She said the piece was created during a still life unit.
“The students learn to create contour lines, cross hatching, values and stippling,” Hicks said. “Then we go into a pastel project where we learned to blend and layer pastels to create different colors. The outline was created with glue, which is difficult to learn, but they did well. They also learned about the contrast between warm and cool colors.”
Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus then recognized Hicks and presented her with an Upshur Star.
“We are so proud of what you do for your students and all that you do,” Stankus said of Hicks. “It’s inspiring to see how you inspire young artists. They come to you as sixth-graders, and it’s great to see how they come to you and they leave as amazing artists.”
Stankus recognized Erin Anderson, fifth-grade teacher from Tennerton Elementary School, who was selected as the West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Anderson will represent Upshur County and West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year Contest.
Anderson thanked those gathered for recognizing her again for being named WV Teacher of the Year.
“Although the past two weeks have been somewhat of a blur, the past six months and this whole process of winning Teacher of the Year at Tennerton to winning WV Teacher of the Year two weeks ago have been a time of appreciation and reflection,” Anderson said. “I am sure in the next 15 months I will have time to dive even deeper into my teaching philosophy.”
Anderson said she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community.
“What I know today is that teachers need their students,” Anderson said. “I call it our teacher identity – it is who we are. When I am in front of a classroom full of kids, or half full of kids or staring at their heads on a Teams Meeting, I am more me in that moment than I am at any other time.”
She said that she is forever grateful for the honor of being named WV Teacher of the Year.
“What I know today is that awards and big checks and a new car does not define me. I am proud to be the 2021 WV Teacher of the Year and as I prepare to lead, I hope you will always see me as you see me today – vulnerable and hard-working, compassionate and authentic, covered in chalk dust with a rubber band bracelet – as real as it gets,” Anderson said. “What I know today is if you are patient and obedient, God will bless your socks off, too.”
Stankus said everyone is proud of Anderson and all she represents not only for Upshur County but for the State of West Virginia.
“We are working now on her national application,” Stankus said. “As she enters into that competition, she has the heart of our teachers and I want to congratulate and thank her again.”
The BOE also recognized the Schoology completers, including Amber Posey, Kimberly Gaunt, Christine Hull, Lauren Machamer, Jessica McQuain, Christine Robelo, Jennifer Sandberg, Amberly Stump and Sharon Walton.
Finally, Upshur County BOE members recognized teachers at French Creek Elementary School who earned their Apple certification. Those included Mandi Neely, Kimberly Gaunt, Amber Posey, Amberly Stump, Beth Johnston, Christine Robelo, Rena Zirkle and Jessica McQuain.