Teachers of the Year named

Published 4:04 pm Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Cumberland School Board recognized the School Level Teachers of the Year at the April meeting. The School Board also announced the Division Teacher of the Year.

Lauren Bryant was recognized for being the Cumberland County Elementary School (CCES) Teacher of the Year. She has been a teacher for 18 years and is currently a first grade teacher in an inclusion classroom. During her time at CCES, she has been a team leader, a member of the PBIS committee, served on the VTSS committee, and has attended countless child study meetings. To improve her teaching skills, she continues to engage in professional learning. Most recently she has completed LETRS training, which is a yearlong research proven reading approach. She teaches in the after-school program and attends many after-school events, including t-ballgames, softball games, birthday parties and dance recitals. Bryant works with special educators and behavioral specialists within the school building and from outside services, such as professionals from Evidence Based Classroom Solutions, to find strategies for students who are having behavioral challenges. She believes that young children learn best through play and exploration; therefore, she has incorporated dramatic play, a sensory table, a light table, many games, and lots of cooperative learning into her classroom. She has written numerous Donors Choose grants to get books in her classroom, books in student’s houses, math manipulatives for home and school, and flexible seating options. Bryant said, “Teaching is not just a job, but my passion.”

Karyn Hill was recognized for being named the Teacher of the Year for Cumberland Middle School (CMS). Currently Hill is the sixth grade science teacher and she is also the coordinator for the Talented and Gifted Program for CMS. In addition, she is a member of the VALIN team and, as a member, has helped develop rubrics and lessons for the 5 C’s of Virginia Learning. As a community member, she is involved in the Helping Hands Community Garden at St. John Neumann Church in Powhatan and served as the camp coordinator for the church’s Autism Summer Camp which served students from Cumberland, Powhatan and Midlothian. Hill stated that she believes learning should be fun and that she strives to create a safe, caring community where students are free to explore their communication, creative thinking, critical thinking and community skills while becoming a global citizen.

Rachel Taylor was recognized for being named the Teacher of the Year for Cumberland High School (CHS). Taylor is a self-contained special education teacher. She places a major focus on literacy and connections with learning so that her students will be successful after they graduate from school. She tries to make learning relevant by explaining to her students how the information and skills that she is teaching them will actually be used by them in their life after high school. She gets her students involved in the everyday operations of the school by providing them with varied opportunities to be of service and to learn the soft skills that they will need in the workforce — her students retrieve and deliver interoffice mail, they assist with morale by baking delicious treats that they serve to faculty and students on club days and for special events, and they take part in community service projects and in other school initiatives. Taylor coordinates student participation in the Medford League basketball games against students from visiting schools. She describes herself as a life-long learner and tries to encourage her students to be the same.

Karyn Hill was named the Division Teacher of the Year. She will now compete for the title of Region 8 Teacher of the Year.