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Teacher Of The Year

CUMBERLAND – Tracey Marie Armwood, Cumberland County Public Schools division Teacher of the Year, comes from a family of educators and she's carrying on that family tradition by sharing and instilling life-lessons in the students who walk through her classroom doors at the Middle School in Cumberland.

After thanking everyone for the award, Ms. Armwood said, “I think the biggest thing we need to get straight here is that I'm part of a wonderful team-an awesome team. We get together. We solve problems. We are absolutely all about the students and when you are part of a team like that you can't lose.”

Ms. Armwood's grandmother, who retired from teaching at Cumberland County Public Schools, taught her to love her students and the lessons just kept coming from the rest of Ms. Armwood's teaching family.

“From my mother…I learned to put your everything into what you do in your classroom and that it just doesn't stop when you go home that day,” said Ms. Armwood. “And from my father, also a retired teacher, I learned to be tough and expect the absolute best from your students. And let's not forget my aunt…I learned to have fun and laugh with my students. I'm truly grateful for this honor…”

A teacher from the three schools is selected each year from their peers and then a division Teacher of the Year is selected to represent the entire school system as the division's Teacher of the Year.

“To be selected Teacher of the Year is very impressive,” said Elizabeth Jamerson, supervisor of human resources. “After each school selects their Teacher of the Year and then we have three-then one of those lucky teachers will become the division Teacher of the Year.”

Each year Cumberland participates in the Mary V. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year Program to honor teachers who represent the best in teaching in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Teachers are nominated and must meet certain criteria: inspires the love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities; has concern for individual students; displays the ability and willingness to work cooperatively with fellow professionals; works effectively with the community; is willing and able to make contributions to the field of education; and has demonstrated innovative practices initiated by the candidate.

Cumberland Elementary School's Teacher of the Year is Sandra “Sandy” Lynn East.

Ms. East has worked within the Elementary School for eight years.

“She has very high expectations for her students,” said Bernice Ford, Elementary School principal. “…She's really an inspiring role model for her students and her team members.”

She has also served in leadership roles throughout the school and is a valued employee for Cumberland County Elementary School, Ms. Ford said.

The Teacher of the Year award for the Middle School was presented to Ms. Armwood.

She's taught at the school for 11 years and has served as a lead teacher and a chair of the department and master teacher throughout her time in Cumberland.

She currently teaches eighth grade English.

“We're very pleased and proud of the job that she does,” said Middle School Principal Mark Mabey. “Tracey has been a true asset to the Middle School and this is a well-deserved recognition from her peers…”

The High School's Teacher of the Year is Kate Thomas Chavez.

Ms. Chavez has been in Cumberland for the last two years and teaches English and drama.

This year she was the department's chair and coordinated the Gear Up program, according to High School Principal Jeff Dingeldein, and also took the students to the High School's first drama competition in many years.