The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) today announced ten finalists for the 2022 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Finalists were selected among 2021 County Teachers of the Year from each school district. This year’s finalists represent elementary, middle, and high school educators from all regions of the state and include Brian Casto, Milton Middle School, Cabell County; Samantha Coble, Keyser Primary School, Mineral County; Beth Nunley, Eastbrook Elementary School, Putnam County; Kennedy Moore, Midland Trail High School, Fayette County; Christine Lambert, Brandywine Elementary School, Pendleton County; Lindsey Stell, Elkins Middle School, Randolph County; Claire Jones, Aurora School and Rowlesburg School, Preston County; Kelly Bryant, Logan Elementary School, Logan County; Kim Tenney, Webster County High School, Webster County; and Craig Mason, Magnolia High School, Wetzel County.
“These ten educators have a passion to teach the next generation of leaders, even under extreme circumstances, and have shown incredible resolve, ingenuity, and heart,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “I am so proud of each and every one of them. We are honored to have them serving our students in West Virginia.”
Kelly Bryant is a third-grade teacher at Logan Elementary School in Logan County. She is a 13-year veteran teacher who has taught third grade for the past eight years. Bryant holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from West Virginia State University, a M.Ed. in Reading Education and a Certificate in Leadership Studies from Marshall University. She believes all students can succeed and works hard to provide authentic and collaborative learning experiences to engage and motivate students. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Bryant frequently leads professional development opportunities for elementary teachers in Logan County and remains current in educational research and technology.
Brian Casto is an eighth grade West Virginia Studies teacher at Milton Middle School in Cabell County. Casto has been in the education field for 13 years and holds a B.A. in Social Studies, grades 5-12, from Marshall University. He prides himself on creating lessons and two-minute animated videos that preserve the history and culture of the state. In addition to his classroom duties, he serves his school as a member of Milton Middle School’s leadership team, a team leader, and a West Virginia Quiz Bowl coach. Outside of school, Casto coaches T-Ball, works with teens in his church’s youth group, and enjoys exploring the state with his wife and three children.
Samantha Coble is a pre-K special education teacher at Keyser Primary School in Mineral County. She holds a B.S. in Elementary and Middle Education and a M.Ed. in Special Education from Frostburg State University. She is an active member of the Mineral County Early Childhood Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports team, her school’s attendance committee and her school’s leadership team. Coble is known for her effort and ability to ensure her students are successful and loved. She completed her Exceptional Needs Specialist National Board Certification in 2020 and continues to seek out professional development opportunities to help her grow and develop as a special education teacher.
Claire Jones teaches visual arts to kindergarten through eighth grade students in Preston County. A National Board Certified Teacher, she currently serves students at Aurora School and Rowlesburg School. Jones has been in the field for 12 years and holds a B.A. in Art Education and a M.A. in English as Second Language from Marshall University. To encourage independence and ownership, Jones works diligently to find ways to expose her students to as many art methods and media as possible. Outside of her classrooms, she is a member of the National Art Education Association and a member of the Board of Directors for the West Virginia Art Education Association.
Christine Lambert is a fourth-grade teacher at Brandywine Elementary School in Pendleton County. She earned her B.S. in Education from Slippery Rock University and a M.Ed. as a Reading Specialist from Clarion University. She is passionate about instilling her students with the skills needed to be successful at 21st century learning, tackling adversity and developing a love of reading. She is known as a natural leader that serves her school community in multiple ways, such as the Faculty Senate treasurer, a new teacher mentor and as her school’s technology coach.
Craig Mason is a high school mathematics teacher at Magnolia High School in Wetzel County. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering, a M.S. in Civil Engineering, and a M.A. in Secondary Education from West Virginia University. Mason’s background as a civil engineer enables him to apply his lessons to real-life situations and potential occupations for his students. He believes a real-world approach to mathematics, encourages students to collaborate and take their abilities to the next level. Throughout his school community, Mason is known for working beyond the classroom and taking several additional responsibilities in the school to help his community serve all students.
Kennedy Moore serves students in sixth through eighth grade as a science and STEM teacher at Midland Trail High School in Fayette County. She has taught for four years and holds a B.A. in Education from Glenville State College and a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governor’s University. Moore’s advocacy for experiential learning is modeled through her classroom partnerships with outside organizations, such as WVU Tech, NASA, WOAY News, New River Gorge National Park Service, West Virginia Department of Transportation and WVU Science Adventure School. She is respected by her students and colleagues and hopes to build more community connections to provide the best learning opportunities for her students as possible.
Beth Nunley serves kindergarten through fifth grade students as a music teacher at Eastbrook Elementary School in Putnam County. Of her 30 years teaching music, Nunley has held her current position for the last 17. She earned a B.S. in Music Education from West Virginia State University and a M.Ed. in School Counseling from Marshall University. She prides herself on being an energetic, enthusiastic and passionate teacher that instills an appreciation of music in her students. Nunley continues to research and collaborate with her co-workers to use music education as an influence on Eastbrook Elementary’s school culture.
Lindsey Stell serves students in sixth through eighth grade in the gifted education programs at Elkins Middle School in Randolph County. She holds a B.A. in Secondary Education and a M.A. in Education in Digital Media, New Literacies and Learning from Fairmont State University. Always striving to give her students real-world skills and experiences through technology, Stell teaches many STEM units such as Python programming, robot building, engineering in Minecraft and building with 3D pens. She loves to find ways to integrate students’ backgrounds, abilities and interests into her lessons. She wears many different hats outside of the classroom such as a community liaison, Project ISAAC afterschool site coordinator and Elkins Middle School’s resident technology expert.
Kimberly Tenney serves students in seventh grade through post-graduation as a special education teacher at Webster County High School. She received a Regents B.A. degree from WVU Tech. Upon earning of her degree, she entered the Alternative Certification Program through Marshall University to gain certification in special education. Tenney is passionate about teaching her students how to stand bravely in the community and to develop a love of lifelong learning. She is known for being a champion for her students and their families.
West Virginia’s 2022 State Teacher of the Year will be announced on September 7, 2021 at a ceremony at Embassy Suites in Charleston. The winner will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year Program.
For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us.