Augusta County Schools announces Teachers of the Year for 2022-2023
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Augusta County Schools announces Teachers of the Year for 2022-2023

Augusta County Public Schools has chosen the 2022-2023 Teachers of the Year.

The teachers will be announced at special school celebrations on Wednesday, April 26 and recognized at the school division’s annual brunch on Friday, April 28.

Nominated by her peers at Buffalo Gap High School, Elizabeth Ashby holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Education Comprehensive from Fairmont State College. She has taught business in Augusta County Schools since 1993, and coached volleyball for 15 years. She is co-sponsor of the National Honor Society.

Riverheads High School teachers nominated James Nicely, who teaches social studies. His teaching career began in Lexington in 2007. He joined Riverheads High in 2018, where he teaches Virginia and U.S. Government, Virginia and U.S. History and World Geography.

Stuarts Draft High School’s 2023 Teacher of the Year is Jessica Bergan, who came to the school in 2018. The Mathematics teacher became head of the Math Department in 2021, and will graduate in December with a master of education in mathematics from James Madison University.

Michelle Hutchens is Wilson Memorial High School’s Teacher of the Year. A 2002 graduate of Wilson Memorial, Hutchens teaches mathematics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from James Madison University with a minor in Secondary Education. After college, she joined Wilson Memorial’s faculty. She holds a master’s in Educational Leadership.

Elizabeth Trainum is Shenandoah Valley Center for Advanced Learning’s Teacher of the Year. Although she did not initially plan to become a teacher, Trainum’s mother taught elementary school and her father taught high school. She majored in International Studies and minored in French at Miami University in Ohio. After moving to Virginia to work for a local business, she found she was good at teaching others. She earned a master’s in education from JMU. She came to SVC in 2021 and teaches Precalculus and DE Calculus to high school juniors and seniors.

Sarah Foster is Beverley Manor Middle School’s Teacher of the Year for 2023, and has 30 years of experience in education. Her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Curriculum & Instruction was earned from JMU, and a master’s in Education from George Mason University. In training to become a Virginia Master Naturalist, Foster teaches Family & Consumer Sciences at BMMS.

Coralie Roberts, an 8th-grade math teacher, is Stewart Middle School’s Teacher of the Year. She earned her master of arts in Education in 2012 from Blue Ridge Community College, and began her career with Augusta County Schools.

Edythe Shirley is Stuarts Draft Middle School’s Teacher of the Year. An educator for 24 years, she started in elementary education. She is credited with starting and implementing the Rise reading intervention program at SDMS this school year.

Wilson Middle School’s Teacher of the Year is Timothy DeSimone, who is the school’s Band Director. Enrollment in the school’s band program has nearly tripled with DeSimone’s direction. A 2021 graduate of JMU with a bachelor’s of music in Music Education and a minor in Jazz Studies, he is the representative of the Virginia Band and Orchestra Association’s District V.

Augusta County native Holly Lotts, an Art teacher, is Hugh K. Cassell Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. She graduated from Stuarts Draft High with a desire to give back to her community. She joined Augusta County Schools in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s in Art Education from JMU in 2014.

Churchville Elementary School Grade 5 teacher Chynna Kison is Teacher of the Year. She earned her bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and a master’s in Elementary Education from JMU. She is a 5th Grade Team Lead and Spelling Bee Coordinator.

Christina Mozingo is Clymore Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year for 2023. A kindergarten teacher, Mozingo has 17 years of experience teaching kindergarten to 4th grade. She earned her bachelor’s from George Mason University in 1992, and a Collegiate Professional License in Elementary Education from Mary Baldwin College in 2002. She is a member of the School Leadership Team.

Craigsville Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year is 4th-grade teacher Crystal Hostetter. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in Early Education from Mary Baldwin College.

Rebecca Campbell, a 4th-grade Reading and Social Studies teacher, is North River Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. When she graduated from Bridgewater College in 2008 she was certified to teach pre-kindergarten through 6h grade.

Riverheads Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year is Linda Brake, who teaches 2nd grade. She came to the school in 1996 as a special education instructional aide. Later, she taught third grade at Stuarts Draft Elementary but returned to Riverheads in 2008.

Elizabeth Benbow, a Reading Specialist for grades K to 4, is Stuarts Draft Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. As an English major in Pennsylvania, Benbow decided to pursue a teaching license. She later earned a master’s in Special Education.

Stump Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year is Erin Leitch, who teaches kindergarten. She earned a bachelor’s in Psychology with PK-6 Teacher License at Mary Balwin College, and has taught at Stump Elementary for four years. She previously taught at Wilson and Ladd elementary schools.

Wilson Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year is Mallory Claytor, who teaches 5th-grade math. Born and raised in Augusta County, she is a graduate of Wilson Memorial High. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Longwood College in 2018, with a concentration in Elementary Education. She began her teaching career at William Perry Elementary School in Waynesboro, and joined Augusta County Schools the next year. She came to Wilson Elementary in 2019.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.