Ten students from the Teacher Education Program at Bluefield College were recognized as Teachers of Promise during the Eighth Annual Teachers of Promise Institute, March 25-26, at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Hosted annually by James Madison for outstanding teacher education students from all across the state, the Institute is designed to offer quality professional development opportunities for pre-service teachers from the Commonwealth’s accrediting institutions.
“The Teachers of Promise Institute is a wonderful opportunity for our student teachers to meet top student teachers from other colleges and universities in Virginia,” said Dr. Donna Watson, chair of the BC Division of Education and director of the Teacher Education Program, “and to gain valuable knowledge and strategies from award-winning Virginia teachers who present an outstanding variety of helpful workshops.”
Sponsored by the Virginia Milken Educators Network, Virginia Professional Educators, the James Madison Center, the JMU College of Education, and the Virginia Lottery, the Institute accepts only participants who “represent the Commonwealth’s most promising and gifted pre-service educators.” Teachers of Promise also must exhibit “a strong commitment to the teaching profession” and exemplify “the traits necessary for a truly exemplary career in public education.”
“To choose our 10 student teachers for the Institute, we considered all students who are student teaching in the current spring semester or will be in the upcoming fall semester,” Dr. Watson said. “Each student had to meet all requirements for full admission to the Teacher Education Program and had to have completed coursework for Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience II. From that group, we added overall GPA, GPA in their major, and GPA in professional education courses to get the top ten.”
Representing Bluefield College as Teachers of Promise at the Institute were Lyndsey Barton or Vinton, VA; Ashley Clampitt of Chilhowie, VA; Erica Coleman of Vansant, VA; Allison Deel of North Tazewell, VA; Keri Joyce of Cedar Bluff, VA; Yvonne Sigman of Bastian, VA; Samantha Sturgill of Chilhowie, VA; Stefany Turner of Bland, VA; Marianne Williams of Evington, VA; Derek Wright of North Tazewell, VA.
In addition to being recognized during the conference as the state’s 2011 Teachers of Promise, the BC group took part in interactive workshops on classroom management, autism, creating cultural connections, technology and social media in the classroom, teaching the digital learner, keeping students engaged, math instruction, and building relationships, among other teacher education topics.
“Our students attended quality workshops and had opportunities to meet with award-winning educators and hear outstanding speakers,” Dr. Watson said. “They gained valuable insight and were reaffirmed in their decision to teach and to make a positive impact on the world through working with children and adolescents.”
Based on the theme, “The Magic of Education,” the conference featured speakers and instructors with distinguished honors, including Virginia teachers of the year, Milken national award winners, nationally board certified teachers, and national teachers of the year. All participants, including the BC students, were assigned a mentor who worked with them throughout the weekend and who will continue to serve as a source of advice, assistance and guidance as they make the transition to the classroom.
“We firmly believe that quality teachers make a difference in our nation’s schools,” said Philip Bigler, a 1998 National Teacher of the Year, 1999 Milken Educator and former director of the JMU Center for Liberty and Learning, “and we are committed to helping prepare our country’s next generation of educators.”
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), Bluefield College’s Teacher Education Program is aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) and is approved by the Virginia State Board of Education.
Offering programs that lead to teacher licensure in a variety of endorsement areas for elementary and secondary education, the Teacher Education Program has graduated highly qualified teachers for more than 30 years who serve in distinctive careers as teachers and administrators in public and private schools throughout Virginia and the United States.