MARTINSVILLE, VA – On Wednesday morning, Beverly Keaton was named Martinsville City Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year.
“This is a great honor. Did not expect it. I think everyone fooled me. I love preschool, I love the age, I love the children. They are what I do. It’s all about the children,” Keaton said.
Keaton has been a teacher at Clearview Early Childhood Center for 15 years.
“We’re really excited. You’re going to represent us at the state level, and we can’t think of a better person to represent all of what we desire in terms of being a champion for students, a champion for families,” Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley stated.
Barry Nelson, owner of the Nelson Automotive Family, presented Keaton a 2020 Subaru Legacy, which she gets to drive during the summer.
“We need to acknowledge the teachers. I mean that's the heartbeat of our society here. They're raising our future, and we need to make sure they're acknowledged,” Nelson said.
Talley also visited each school to announce and award the teacher of the year for that school. They are:
Daniel Sechrist English Language Learner teacher at Martinsville High School:
“Mr. Sechrist is a phenomenal teacher, a strong advocate for the families in our community who are new to our country, and more importantly, he is a strong advocate for young people. Students appreciate and respect Mr. Sechrist because he is kind, encouraging, committed to see students do well, and they know he genuinely cares about them. Mr. Sechrist has an uncanny ability to see each child’s unique contributions and talents and he uses those talents to help students find their voice,” MHS Principal Aji Dixon said.
Liz Lynch STEM teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School:
“Liz is a very compassionate, dedicated, and enthusiastic teacher. Student success and growth is at the heart of every decision she makes. Liz is constantly thinking and working to create hands-on lessons that strengthen students' understanding of abstract concepts taught in class as well as tap into their critical thinking,” PHES Principal Cameron Cooper said.
Alysa Stokes eighth grade guidance counselor at Martinsville Middle School:
“Ms. Stokes is a master school counselor who exhibits vision, passion for her students, and a strong drive to empower all students to reach their potential. She is a gentle soul who touches the lives of so many students, whether it is supporting them through traumatic experiences, making sure their basic needs are met, or just checking in with them to make sure they have a good day. Ms. Stokes has a strong work ethic and goes above and beyond to do an outstanding job with all the tasks assigned to her,” MMS Principal Cynthia Tarpley said.
Jacob Mitchell physical education teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School:
“Mr. Mitchell creates a positive environment that is very child-oriented and focuses on building positive self-esteem through high standards and well-designed physical education instruction. He teaches classes in such a manner that they are inviting and fun. Jacob is dedicated and compassionate. His ability to listen responsively to our students and staff has contributed to the respect he has earned by his colleagues,” AHES Principal Renee Brown said.
Beverly Keaton preschool teacher at Clearview Early Childhood Center:
“She recognizes and nurtures the individual qualities that each child possesses and strives to treat all her students with fairness, dignity, and respect. Mrs. Keaton works diligently to develop a positive rapport and establish a personal connection with her students and their families, ensuring students feel safe, comfortable, and cared for. Mrs. Keaton’s dedication and commitment to education is very evident in the genuine care and concern she demonstrates as she works to instill a love for learning in her students,” CECC Principal Sheilah Williams said.