Staunton teacher honored as regional teacher of the year

Staunton City SchoolsLisa Cooper, a first grade teacher at Bessie Weller Elementary in Staunton, has been selected as the 2021 Region V Teacher of the Year.

Cooper has been a teacher for the past 11 years. During that time, she has been recognized with distinguished awards for teaching excellence, including 2009 Teacher of Promise, 2014 Buena Vista Teacher of the Year, and 2020 Staunton City Teacher of the Year.

“I had the privilege of visiting Mrs. Cooper’s first grade class several times last year. If I had to sum up the experiences in one word, it would
be ‘magical.’ Students were always eager not only to demonstrate what they’d learned, but to recognize and celebrate their classmates’ accomplishments as well,” Staunton Superintendent Dr. Garrett Smith said.

Cooper has been a contributor on literacy committees and authored and shared the grade 5 literacy curriculum for the division. She has worked with such groups as Girls on the Run and Community Garden Service Project.

She was originally selected by her peers and colleagues as Bessie Weller Teacher of the Year, and she was then selected by a Staunton City Schools panel as Staunton City Teacher of the Year.

An application was submitted to the Virginia Department of Education in the spring, which included essays highlighting accomplishments, educational philosophies, and community activities, as part of the selection process.

Cooper will participate in an interview for the 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year on Oct. 1, and a final decision about the Virginia Teacher of the Year will be announced in early to mid-October.


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