The 2018 Williamsburg-James City County grade-level Teachers of the Year were announced Tuesday morning with a surprise visit from school administrators to teachers’ classrooms.
Suzanne Sylvester was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Jessica Napier was named Middle School Teacher of the Year and Stephen Legawiec was named High School Teacher of the Year.
Betsy Overkamp-Smith, W-JCC spokeswoman, said there is a formal process for deciding the three winners and then the Division Teacher of the Year. The process includes a division committee, written application, interviews and class visits. These teachers are chosen from the pool of teachers selected from each individual W-JCC school.
Suzanne Sylvester, Laurel Lane Elementary School
Sylvester is a special education inclusion teacher at Laurel Lane Elementary School. Sylvester attended Gordon College and earned a B.A. in communications. After college, she moved to Honduras and taught at an International School where she said she fell in love with teaching. Upon returning to the states, she attended the College of William and Mary and earned a master’s degree in education. Sylvester said she is passionate about meeting the social and emotional needs of students and working with families.
Jessica Napier, Lois S. Hornsby Middle School
Napier is a sixth-grade math teacher and is in her eighth year at Hornsby Middle School. She said her goal for each year is to build positive relationships with her students and their families, provide a safe and comfortable learning environment and for her students to learn that math makes sense.
Stephen Legawiec, Lafayette High School
Legawiec is a U.S. history teacher at Lafayette High School. Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Legawiec said the Erie Canal, George Eastman House and Iroquois ancestral sites developed his passion for America’s past at an early age. Legawiec said he loves using history to instill in students an appreciation of who they are and all that they can become. He lives in Toano with his wife and baby.
W hat’s next?
The Division Teacher of the Year award winner will be named later this month. On April 25 there will be an award ceremony for the Teacher of the Year winners from each W-JCC school.
Amelia Heymann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter @HeymannAmelia.