Governor names 2024 Virginia Teacher of the Year. Here’s who won

Published 7:42 pm Monday, May 6, 2024

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They all gathered for the presentation Monday night. Eight teachers from across the Commonwealth, including Cumberland’s own Emily Overstreet, were finalists for the 2024 Virginia Teacher of the Year Award. 

“The eight teachers here today represent the best of their profession, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate Virginia teachers across the Commonwealth who work tirelessly to educate, prepare, and grow our students,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said. 

His comments were echoed by Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons, who highlighted achievements for each of the eight finalists. For Mrs. Overstreet, she praised the impact her classes have not just in the school building itself, but around the community. 

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“You can find her students’ work all over town, from the Buddy Benches her students made for other district elementary schools to the artwork created for retirement communities,” Coons said of Overstreet’s classes. “She has also created a social media channel, Mrs. O’s Art Studio, to highlight and promote Cumberland County student artwork. A leader inside and outside of the classroom, Mrs. Overstreet has been a teacher and a mentor for 15 years and without a doubt shines a positive light on the teaching profession through her actions every single day.” 

Choosing the Virginia Teacher of the Year

So this became a bit of an all-day event for the finalists, who had interviews Monday morning with a selection committee made up of school staff, business owners and representatives of educational institutions. 

Out of the eight finalists, it was Avanti Yamamoto chosen as the 2024 Teacher of the Year. Yamamoto, a mathematics teacher at Hanover County Public Schools’ Atlee High School, is now Virginia’s nominee for 2025 National Teacher of the Year. 

“We are proud to have Avanti represent all of Virginia as our Teacher of the Year, but we’re also blessed to have seven other exceptional teachers serving as representatives of their communities and fellow educators,” Coons said.  

Regional teachers honored

The seven other 2025 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year — who were also honored during Monday evening’s ceremony — are: 

  • Chanda L. Woods, an integrated language arts teacher at Newport News Public Schools’ Crittenden Middle School (Region 2). 
  • Beth Marshall, a French teacher at Spotsylvania County Public Schools’ Riverbend High School (Region 3). 
  • Darnell Greene, a mathematics teacher at Manassas Park City Schools’ Manassas Park Middle School (Region 4). 
  • Genevieve Weaver, an adapted special education teacher at Bedford County Public Schools’ Jefferson Forest High School (Region 5). 
  • Candace Nichole Carrier, a career and technical education – agricultural education teacher at Montgomery County Public Schools’ Blacksburg High School (Region 6). 
  • Andy Holmes, a band director at Smyth County Public Schools’ Marion Senior High School and Marion Middle School (Region 7). 
  • Emily Wilson Overstreet, a visual arts teacher at Cumberland County Public Schools’ Cumberland Elementary School (Region 8). 

“I am thankful to have our Regional Teachers of the Year begin serving as members of our Teacher Advisory Council, helping elevate the voices and perspectives of teachers across the Commonwealth,” said Coons. 

Following the ceremony, Mrs. Yamamoto and the other teachers were honored at a reception hosted by the Governor and First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin. 

The 2025 National Teacher of the Year will be announced next spring at a White House ceremony.