Top teachers named

Published 8:51 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

Michele Waggoner, a librarian at Oakland Elementary School, is Suffolk Public Schools’  City-Wide Teacher of the Year.

Michele Waggoner, a librarian at Oakland Elementary School, is Suffolk Public Schools’ City-Wide Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney presented her with a gift upon making the announcement this week.

The librarian at Oakland Elementary School is the city’s top educator this year.

School Superintendent Dr. Deran R. Whitney on Thursday named Michele Waggoner, Oakland’s library media specialist and a former first- and second-grade teacher, as Suffolk Public Schools’ 2016 City-Wide Teacher of the Year.

Whitney also tapped Tracy Halvorson, a social studies teacher at John Yeates Middle School, as the division’s 2016 Middle School Teacher of the Year; Ariane Williams, an English teacher at Lakeland High School, as High School Teacher of the Year; and Cierra French, a fourth-grade teacher at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, as Rookie Teacher of the Year.

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Waggoner uses the school’s library to help students develop hands-on projects and regularly uses drama, music and art in weekly resource lessons, according to a school press release.

Waggoner has also been successful in securing grant funding to supplement the school’s library book collection and serves as coordinator of the school’s partners-in-education program, volunteer program, career days and book fairs.

Waggoner has a bachelor’s degree from Christopher Newport University and two master’s degrees from Old Dominion University.

  • Halvorson, a teacher for 12 years, is teaching both sixth-grade history and seventh-grade civics and economics this year. Outside the classroom, she serves as organizer for the school’s United Way student campaign, and she supports the school’s teams to raise money for the March of Dimes and Relay for Life. Halvorson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Longwood University, and a master’s degree from Old Dominion University.
  • Ariane Williams, an educator for 14 years, also serves as the senior class sponsor. Away from school, Williams is active in her church’s mission work, drama team, and praise dance and is author of the book “Images of Destiny.” She is a graduate of Old Dominion University and has her master’s degree from Norfolk State University.
  • Cierra French, the rookie teacher of the year, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Meredith College.