Spotsy School News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at

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Spotsy recognizes 2014 teachers of the year

At its Monday night meeting, the Spotsylvania School Board recognized the 2014 teachers of the year.

During the awards ceremony, during which teachers received a gift and yellow rose, a teacher from each school was congratulated for being at the top of their profession.

A teacher of the year for the division will be announced May 2. That teacher will then go on to compete for regional and state teacher of the year.

Last year’s winner, Tara Hefner of Courtland Elementary School, advanced to the final round of the state competition.

The board also recognized the mentor teachers of the year and new teachers of the year at each level at its Monday meeting.

Chairman of the School Board James Meyer, said he was happy so many Latin teachers were represented in the awards. He said that the usefulness of the dead language has become more evident as time goes on, when learning new languages and to understanding how language works.

Member Amanda Blalock thanked the teachers, saying everyone has a teacher that stands out on their mind as a formative person. Her’s was her first grade teacher.

Member Baron Braswell also thanked the teachers, especially for everything they did for his son who is now in college.

Teachers at the top of their profession at each school were also recognized. Here is a list of teachers of the year in Spotsylvania:

  • Battlefield ES – Cortyne Sumter, 1st grade teacher
  • Berkeley ES – Amy Umberger, Reading Specialist
  • Brock Road ES – Elizabeth O’Dell, Special Education teacher
  • Cedar Forest ES – Kristen Steis, Reading Specialist
  • Chancellor ES – Melanie Bolas, Music teacher
  • Courthouse Road ES – Susan Dickens, HPE teacher
  • Courtland ES – Tonia Bond, 4th grade teacher
  • Harrison Road ES – Dawn Ruckle, 5th grade teacher
  • Lee Hill ES – Jennifer McMichael, Special Education teacher
  • Livingston ES – Cynthia Wheeler, 3rd grade teacher
  • Parkside ES – Courtney Mascher, ESOL teacher
  • Riverview ES – Meadow Davis, 3rd grade teacher
  • Robert E Lee ES – Lori Clark, 3rd grade teacher
  • Salem ES – Tricia Pavlik, 5th grade teacher
  • Smith Station ES – Gretchen Viacara, 4th grade teacher
  • Spotswood ES – Rhonda Fischer, 4th grade teacher
  • Wilderness ES – Stephanie Desio, 2nd grade teacher
  • Battlefield MS – Henry Thode, Special Education teacher
  • Chancellor MS – John Florip, 7th grade teacher
  • Freedom MS – Sarah Downing, Librarian
  • Ni River MS – Melissa Buckley, 7th grade teacher
  • Post Oak MS – Michele Stewart, 8th grade teacher
  • Spotsylvania MS – Kevin Perry, Latin teacher
  • Thornburg MS – Jordan Patterson, Band teacher
  • Chancellor HS – Richard Saltz, Latin teacher
  • Courtland HS – Olivia Fetch, Earth Science teacher
  • Massaponax HS – Michael Quear, Social Studies teacher
  • Riverbend HS – Jacqueline Keith, Librarian
  • Spotsylvania HS – Lindsay Herndon, Latin teacher
  • Spotsylvania CTC – Gregory Pins, Metal Trades instructor
  • John J Wright ECC – Stephen Friske, Special Education teacher
  • Rappahannock JC – Keith Shaw, Math teacher

New teacher finalists

  • Heather Jones – Salem ES
  • Michael Phillips – Chancellor MS
  • Megan Marshall – Massaponax HS
Mentor Finalists
  • Diane Smart – Riverview ES
  • Diane Wishard – Spotsylvania MS
  • Pam Sumner – Riverbend HS