Photo Caption (from left to right): Alan Larrick, WV Lottery; Mike Hall, Governor’s Chief of Staff; Dr. Steven Paine, WV Superintendent of Schools; Katlin Thorsell, 2018 WV Teacher of the Year; Paul Espinosa, Education Chairman; WVBE: Board Financial Officer Frank Vitale, Board Vice President Dave Perry, Jeffry Flannigan, Deborah Sullivan, Board Parliamentarian Miller Hall, Jim Wilson, and F. Scott Rotruck..
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Today, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Chief of Staff, Mike Hall, joined West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine, West Virginia Board of Education and representatives from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Horace Mann Insurance Solutions and the West Virginia Lottery to present the 2018 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, Katlin Thorsell, with awards totaling more than $10,000 and the use of a new Toyota car.
“Katlin Thorsell is an outstanding example of the amazing educators we have throughout our great state,” said Governor Jim Justice. “We must do everything in our power to support our teachers and recognize the critical role they play in shaping the lives of our students and the future of our state.”
Thorsell, an agriculture education teacher and FFA Advisor at Washington High School in Jefferson County understands the importance of providing students with real-world workforce training and community service opportunities. As a volunteer firefighter and EMT, Thorsell encourages her students to give back to their community by offering graduating seniors hands-on CPR and First Aid training.
“As a teacher, I not only get to teach the future generation, but I get to learn from them,” said Thorsell. “I can’t wait to share my experiences with other educators from across the country and represent the amazing educators we have here in West Virginia.”
Toyota donated a new car to Thorsell to use for one year as she travels across the Mountain State, to fulfill her duties as Teacher of the Year.
“Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia is honored to be a part of the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Award, as the award recognizes exceptional teachers who display enthusiasm and dedication to their students every day,” said Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia President, Leah Curry. “Educators are deserving of our utmost respect, and Katlin goes above and beyond for her students and community. On behalf of all our team members at Toyota, congratulations, Katlin Thorsell!”
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia also honored Thorsell, presenting her with a $5,000 check.
“In recognition of dedicated educators in our state who are making a difference in the lives of many individuals, we are honored to recognize Katlin Thorsell as the 2018 West Virginia Teacher of the Year,” said Jim Fawcett, president, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia. “Her ability to inspire excellence both in and out of the classroom makes her a great role model and inspiration for her students and peers throughout West Virginia.”
Horace Mann Insurance Solutions presented Thorsell with a check for $5,000. Additionally, Horace Mann supplied a total of $1500 to 5 Teacher of the Year ambassadors to help promote the program.
“As a company dedicated to helping educators plan for a better tomorrow, we see how dedicated they are to their students’ futures. They are innovative and place their students’ best interests at the center of everything they do,” said Horace Mann President and CEO Marita Zuraitis. “We are proud to highlight the accomplishments of educators throughout the nation, and today, to recognize Katlin Thorsell, the West Virginia Teacher of the Year.”
The West Virginia Lottery sponsored the Teacher of the Year program, providing a $300 grant to each of the county Teacher of the Year winners to use in their classrooms.
“We are proud to have the opportunity to recognize excellence in the classroom through our sponsorship of the West Virginia Teacher of the Year program,” said Alan Larrick, West Virginia Lottery Director. “Our young people are the future, and the impact that is made by a teacher lasts a lifetime.”
In addition to her statewide duties, Thorsell will go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year Award. The national winner will be announced in April.
For additional information, contact Jessica Hall at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Jessica.Hall@k12.wv.us.
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