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Halifax County Public Schools honors Teacher of the Year

Halifax County Public Schools honored Diana S. Watts of the South Boston/Halifax and Cluster Springs Early Learning Centers as 2012 Division Teacher of the Year Thursday evening during the annual Teacher of the Year banquet held at The Prizery.

Educating students for 10 years, she is described as being a professional, caring and team player who willingly devotes time and energy to activities that result in improved instruction for the children.

“I am honored, surprised and shocked…I just don’t know what to say I’m so shocked,” said Watts after receiving the award.

Watts received an engraved plaque and monetary incentive; her name also will be placed on a permanent plaque located at the school board office in Halifax.

Watts was among nine other teachers recognized Thursday as the Teacher of the Year at their individual schools. They each received a plaque and monetary incentive as well.

Recognitions included Diane M. Baisch of Clays Mill Elementary School, Stephanie L. Watts of Cluster Springs Elementary School, Sarah K. Reaves of Halifax County High School, Kimberly F. Bosiger of Halifax County Middle School, Laura C. Larkins of Meadville Elementary School, Kay F. Duffer of Scottsburg Elementary School, Cynthia F. Cassada of Sinai Elementary School, Virginia B. Aherron of South Boston Elementary School and Sandra M. Cash of Sydnor Jennings Elementary School.

Executive Director of Instruction Dr. Melanie Stanley gave welcoming remarks and recognized those school board members who were present.

Along with Stanley, Executive Director for Administration Valdivia Marshall “recognized the outstanding educators and former recipients.”

Former 2002 Teacher of the Year recipient Denise Ferrell took the podium and addressed the educators about how “teaching is a gift.”

“I was the first Teacher of the Year, and I was one out of eight teachers in the state of Virginia to be named 2003 Region VIII Teacher of the Year…what an honor that was,” said Ferrell.

“A lot has changed in 10 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the role of teaching…teaching is a gift,” she added.

School board members who were present also took a few minutes to congratulate the recipients.

“Thank each and every one of you for all that you do. Congratulations to all of you,” said Chairman Karen Hopkins.

ED-1 trustee Phyllis Smith said, “Thank all of you as a fellow educator…thank you and congratulations. Thank you, you’re just awesome.”

“Fifty-three years ago I walked into my first classroom, I’m not old school, I’m old-old school. The only thing constant is change…this year all the Teachers of the Year are women, and there are five women on the school board. There are going to be some changes...and at this point, ladies rule. Congratulations to all of you. Your job is what makes a difference in Halifax County,” said ED-5 trustee Roger Long.

ED-4 trustee Cheryl Terry said, “Congratulations to each of you and thank you. You all do all the hard work.”
Superintendent Paul Stapleton pointed out this would be his last banquet after serving eight years as superintendent here in Halifax County.

“You all are the best of the best,” said Stapleton.

“It is an honor to have such remarkable educators in Halifax County Public Schools. We are so appreciative of the time and talent these teachers have put forth to ensure each student’s success,” he concluded.