Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) and the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) announced Amber Nichols as the 2023 West Virginia Teacher of the Year during a ceremony Tuesday night. WVBE President L. Paul Hardesty and West Virginia Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach were joined by members of the State Board of Education for the announcement at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston during the Celebration of Excellence in Education: Honoring the 2023 Teacher and School Service Personnel of the Year.

Amber Nichols is a kindergarten teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in Morgantown, West Virginia. She has taught for 21 years and holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Shepherd College and a Master of Arts in Education from West Virginia University. Nichols is an active member of Eastwood Elementary’s leadership, curriculum and behavior intervention teams, and she mentors future educators. She always strives to set rigorous academic and social-emotional goals for each child in her class and prides herself on creating an enriching classroom environment in which all students feel safe, loved and appreciated. Nichols also enjoys writing and spending time with her husband, three children and two dogs.

“Mrs. Nichols is an excellent educator and a true representative of the incredible teachers across the state. She fully embodies the qualities and intent of this prestigious award,” said Superintendent Roach. “She cares deeply for her students and community and I believe she will be an inspiration for many. I appreciate her diligent work in our public schools.”

The 2023 TOY finalists include:

Name School County
Sarah Bailey Buffalo Middle School Wayne County
Lisa Bryant Point Pleasant Primary School Mason County
Charity Marstiller Jefferson High School Jefferson County
David Patrick DuPont Middle School Kanawha County
Angel Reed Fairplain Elementary School Jackson County
Shawna Safreed Bridge Street Middle School Ohio County
Cameron Shannon Crescent Elementary School Raleigh County
Tanya Stewart Gilmer County Elementary School Gilmer County
Shari Tonkery Lumberport Elementary School Harrison County

West Virginia has one of the longest and most consistent Teacher of the Year programs in the nation. The goal is to identify and recognize the importance and impact of teachers in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the Mountain State. By recognizing those who bring honor to the profession, the WVDE pays tribute to the exceptional work occurring daily in schools across the state.

As the 2023 winner, Nichols will receive a vehicle for use throughout the year from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia; $5,000 from both Highmark West Virginia and the Horace Mann Companies; a $1,000 classroom grant from the West Virginia Education Association; a two-night stay at Tygart Lake State Park from West Virginia State Parks; a $250 Amazon gift card from West Virginia Professional Educators; and $500 from the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia. Each finalist receives a $300 Donors Choose classroom grant from the Horace Mann Companies and a $25 gift card from Adams Hallmark. Each county winner receives a $300 classroom grant from the West Virginia Lottery and a piece of art from Blenko Glass Company.

To view the full ceremony, please visit the YouTube livestream from West Virginia Public Broadcasting or WVDE’s Facebook page.

Information about the WVDE Teacher and Service Personnel of the Year programs as well as pictures of year’s winners are listed on the WVDE website.

For more information, contact Christy Day at the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or

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