CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Education named the Teacher of the Year and School Service Personnel of the Year on Tuesday during a ceremony at the State Culture Center.
Amber Nichols, a kindergarten teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in Morgantown, has taught for 21 years. Nichols plays an active role in the school’s leadership, curriculum and behavior intervention teams, and she additionally mentors future educators.
“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,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools David Roach said in a statement.
Nichols thanked Principal DeAnn Hartshorn and her other colleagues for supporting educators.
“I work in the best county in the best school in the best state,” Nichols said. “I truly believe that.”
Nicholas will receive a vehicle to use for one year from Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia; $5,000 from 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; a $250 Amazon gift card from West Virginia Professional Educators; and $500 from the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia. Other finalists received a $300 Donors Choose classroom grant from the Horace Mann Companies and a $25 gift card from Adams Hallmark. Each county winner got a $300 classroom grant from the West Virginia Lottery and an art piece from Blenko Glass Company.
Jessica Grose was named the West Virginia School Service Personnel of the Year. Grose is a special education aide at Hodgesville Elementary School in Buckhannon; she has 11 years of experience in education.
“Ms. Grose has served the students and her school community in many ways for more than a decade,” Roach said. “She is someone who is committed, principled and enthusiastic about supporting students and teachers. I am proud that she will represent the best of our school service personnel next year, and I am truly grateful for her years of service inside and outside of the classroom.”
Grose said she cannot wait to celebrate the honor with her students.
“The kids asked me the other day if we were going to have a party if I won,” she said. “Guess what kids? If you’re watching live — ’cause I know you are — be ready for a party.”
Grose received $2,500 from the Horace Mann Companies; $2,500 from Highmark West Virginia; $500, a tumbler and a glass ornament from the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association; a two-night stay at Twin Falls Resort State Park; and a piece of art from Blenko Glass Company. All finalists received a $25 gift card from Adams Hallmark, and all county winners got a tumbler from the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association and a certificate from the state Department of Education.