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IW names top teacher

A first-grade teacher at Hardy Elementary School has been named the teacher of the year from the Isle of Wight County school system.

Heather Stafford, who has taught at Hardy for the last three years and is in her 11th year as an educator in Isle of Wight, was nominated in November and went through an evaluation process that included submitting an extensive written portfolio, submitting to a classroom observation and an interview by the Teacher of the Year committee, which is composed of former Teacher of the Year honorees.

Three finalists each for elementary, middle and high schools were chosen as this year’s nominees.

The finalists were chosen from among Teacher of the Year winners at each school, including: Joanne King of Carrollton Elementary, Stella Bradshaw of Carrsville Elementary, Stafford of Hardy Elementary, Bonita Bertero of Windsor Elementary, Kristan Formella of Smithfield Middle, Jenny Carrow of Windsor Middle, Joyce Kennedy of Smithfield High and Matthew Burgess of Windsor High.

Stafford was named the system’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Formella was named the Middle School Teacher of the Year and Kennedy was named High School Teacher of the Year.

“Mrs. Stafford is an excellent representative of the outstanding teachers that we have in Isle of Wight County,” Superintendent Michael McPherson said of the system’s top teacher. He delivered a bouquet of roses to Stafford during a surprise visit to her classroom to make the announcement this week.

“I love teaching, because I get to be a part of helping children be successful and letting them know they can be anything their heart desires,” Stafford said, noting that she hopes to help instill in her students a love of books and learning.

A dinner ceremony honoring all nine candidates will be held at the Smithfield Station prior to presentation of the awards during the Isle of Wight School Board meeting May 13. The awards program this year is sponsored by Farmer’s Bank.