The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) announced Marshall County’s Jennifer Schwertfeger as the 2020 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made as part of the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Gala Wednesday night at the Embassy Suites in Charleston. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine, and WVBE President, Dave Perry, were joined by members of the State Board to honor county teachers of the year from all 55 counties and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and announce the 2020 West Virginia Teacher of the Year.
Schwertfeger teaches traditional and college-level science courses at Cameron High School. A ten-year veteran of education, she has transformed the way science is taught in her classroom with meaningful hands-on and “minds-on” interactive lessons. She is committed to making sure that all students have access to quality science education and has engaged in projects to provide STEM education and career opportunities to students from rural and low-income populations. Additionally, she serves her peers as a Marshall County teacher leader, new teacher mentor and cooperating teacher for future educators. Schwertfeger believes in life-long learning and is currently pursuing her National Board Certification, the country’s top credential for teachers.
“Mrs. Schwertfeger’s dedication to her students and her profession can be seen in everything she does,” said Dr. Paine. “Her classroom is where passion and learning combine to ignite an understanding and love for science within her students. She is a vital resource to our state as an effective STEM educator who is committed to be the best teacher possible and getting the best out of her students.”
Other 2020 finalists include: Alexandria Amorim, Wayne High School, Wayne County; Kara Bowles, Mountaineer Middle School, Harrison County; Clara “T.C.” Tucker-Clemons, Highlawn Elementary School, Cabell County; Aaron Fedorke, Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County; and Lucas Woods, PikeView High School, Mercer County.
The West Virginia Teacher of the Year program identifies, recognizes and promotes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. As West Virginia’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, Schwertfeger will receive a car for use for Teacher of the Year engagements throughout the year from Toyota; $5,000 from both Highmark West Virginia and The Horace Mann Insurance Company; and a $1,000 gift card from Coca-Cola Consolidated. Schwertfeger, along with each county winner receives a $300 grant for their classrooms from the West Virginia Lottery; a classroom technology package from SMART Technologies; and a West Virginia-themed piece of art glass from Blenko Glass. Coca-Cola Consolidated also provided each county winner with a care package including a $500 gift card.
West Virginia’s teacher of the year program is one of the oldest and most consistent Teacher of the Year programs in the nation. Schwertfeger will go on to be considered for Teacher of the Year at the national level, and will travel all over the country with her 2020 cohort of state Teachers of the Year to participate in professional development and speaking engagements.