Isle of Wight County Schools announces 2019-2020 teachers of the year

Published 1:49 pm Monday, December 30, 2019

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Isle of Wight County Schools recently announced its 2019-2020 teachers of the year for each school in the division.

Windsor Elementary’s teacher of the year is Christine Byrum, who teaches first grade. Byrum is in her 25th year of teaching, having spent all of those  years at Windsor Elementary. Byrum is a product of the Isle of Wight County school system, and earned her teaching certificate and undergraduate degree in early childhood psychology from Christopher Newport University.

At the division level, Byrum has served as chairwoman for her grade level, as a member of a steering committee for response to intervention, and as her school’s representative for the county’s Teacher Advisory Committee. Byrum lives in Suffolk with her husband and three children.

Carrsville Elementary’s teacher of the year is Karen Reeder, a reading specialist. This is her fourth year at Carrsville, having previously served as a reading specialist at Windsor Elementary for 13 years. Prior to teaching in Isle of Wight, she taught for three years in the Shenandoah Valley.

Originally from Sandston, Reeder attended Bridgewater College, where she earned her undergraduate degree with an elementary education certification. She later earned her master’s degree in reading education from James Madison University. As a reading specialist, Reeder serves as an administrative aid who actively works with parents and teachers to provide academic resources for Carrsville students. She and her husband also live in Suffolk.

Georgie Tyler Middle School’s teacher of the year is Jeff Hampton, a health and physical education teacher. He is in his 18th year of teaching, all of which were spent either at GTMS or the former Windsor Middle School. He is originally from Ocala, Florida, and graduated from Liberty University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in health.

At GTMS, Hampton has served as the School Leadership Team chairman for four years, and as a mentor for first-year teachers. He has also led a basketball club for the past 15 years, and sponsors a handball club at the school. He previously serve as sponsor of the spikeball and handball clubs, taught beginner’s tennis and coached basketball at Windsor High School for six years. He resides in Suffolk, married and has two sons.

Windsor High School’s teacher of the year is Jessica Brannan, who teaches Spanish and English as a second language. Brannan is in her sixth year of teaching and her second year with Isle of Wight County Schools, having previously taught Spanish and ESL at Franklin City Public Schools for four years. She grew up in Rochester, New York, where she received her undergraduate degree in Spanish and education from the College at Brockport. She completed her master’s degree in English as a second language with a bilingual extension from Canisius College.

In addition to teaching, Brannan is also WHS’s girls varsity soccer coach and the student government sponsor. She lives in Suffolk with her husband and two dogs.

The teachers of the year have been asked to develop a portfolio based on Virginia Teacher of the Year guidelines from the Virginia Department of Education, which the division’s Teacher of the Year Selection Committee — composed of previous teachers of the year — will review and use to make their selections for this year’s division-wide elementary school teacher of the year, middle school teacher of the year and high school teacher of the year. The portfolios are to contain a section for teachers to list their educational history and professional development activities, along with five narrative essays, which address areas such as philosophy of teaching, student impact, student engagement, and educational issues and trends. After additional evaluation, the committee will select one of these division-level finalists as the IWCS teacher of the year. The division’s nominee will then be submitted to the VDOE for further honors, such as regional and state-wide teacher of the year.