Gov. Justice, State Education Leaders Honor 2020 WV Teacher of the Year

On Thursday Gov. Jim Justice joined State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine for a ceremony to recognize the 2020 West Virginia Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Schwertfeger.

The Governor was also joined by representatives from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Horace Mann Insurance Company and the West Virginia Lottery to present Schwertfeger with the use of a new car from Toyota and monetary awards totaling more than $10,000.

“I've said for a long time that education needs to be our centerpiece in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “Since I walked in the door, I've made it a point to celebrate our great teachers and Jennifer Schwertfeger is among the very best of the best. She is a shining example of teaching excellence and Cathy and I are thrilled to congratulate Jennifer on this accomplishment.”

Schwertfeger is a 10-year veteran science teacher from Cameron High School in Marshall County where she currently teaches grades 10 through 12. Her courses include biology, human anatomy, AP Biology and physics. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from West Liberty University and a Master of Arts degree in Science Education from West Virginia University. She serves as chairperson of the science department, member of the school’s Green Team, and past president of Faculty Senate. She also serves her peers as a Marshall County teacher leader, new teacher mentor and a cooperating teacher for future educators.

“I am looking forward to an exciting year of getting to meet amazing educational professionals as we work together to uplift our West Virginia teachers, giving them the respect they deserve and to make a positive, lasting impact on our youth, who we are blessed to have in our care every day,” Schwertfeger said. “I view education as themost important issue of current times. Our society must place a high value on the education of our youth because the future of our communities, state and nation depend on uplifting our students.”

Schwertfeger believes all students, regardless of academic ability level, background knowledge or learning challenges, deserve equal access to educational experiences. She also believes science is a verb – something to do and experience. In her classroom, she has transformed content delivery from traditional “cookbook” lab experiences and worksheets to a “hands-on, minds-on” interactive approach. She reminds her
students, “Science is you and all around you.” She is currently working toward her National Board Certification.

Toyota donated a new car to Schwertfeger for use as she travels across the Mountain State to fulfill her duties as Teacher of the Year.

“Toyota West Virginia is proud to continue our long-standing support of the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Program,” Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia President Srini Matam said. “We are honored to help celebrate dynamic educators throughout our state
who inspire West Virginia’s students to discover their potential.”

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia also honored Schwertfeger, presenting her with a $5,000 check.