MARTINSVILLE, VA – Teresa Bragg, a K-5 special education teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School, was named Martinsville City Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year.
She received the district’s top honor after being selected by her colleagues at Albert Harris as Teacher of the Year.
She was named the school’s Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year.
Bragg has been teaching special education for 37 years, with 32 of those spent with Martinsville schools.
She currently teaches a self-contained special education classroom for students with intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism, and multiple disabilities.
Bragg traces her decision to become a special education teacher back to her own time in school, when a book report for her English 12 class altered the course of her life.
The book she chose was the story of a nonverbal autistic boy who, through the diligence and determination of his mother, ultimately was able to speak and interact with the world around him.
The book, she said, helped her realize the impact one person could have on the life of a child.
Bragg enrolled at Ferrum College as an education major and eventually transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University’s special education program.
“They touch my heart,” Bragg said of her students. “I love my kids. I love creating activities so that I can see their smiles when they do what I’ve asked them to do. They’re so proud when they accomplish something.”
She designed and created a sensory room to help students develop their senses and learn through play.
Barry Nelson, of Autos by Nelson, presented Bragg with the keys to a brand new Ford EcoSport for her to drive for part of the year.
The Teacher of the Year for the other schools were:
Melissa McNeill, an early childhood special education teacher at Clearview Early Learning Center
Kim Ramirez, a 3rd through 5th grade special education teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School
Jessica Clervoi, a math teacher at Martinsville Middle School
Keona Walton, a special education teacher and English and math co-teacher at Martinsville High School
The district winner was selected by an anonymous, impartial review team, according to district officials.
“The MCPS family is very proud of our outstanding teaching professionals,” said Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley. “We celebrate our educators and their great contributions to our community and nation. Our students are receiving a world-class education.”