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West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year receives new car and $5,000

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, Erin Sponaugle, has been awarded $5,000 and a new Toyota.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Phares, General Manager of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia Doug Shields, and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia President Fred Earley, presenting Erin Sponaugle with the awards.

“It is no secret our state’s future lies in the hands of our children and it is my honor to recognize Erin for her continued commitment to inspire, guide and encourage students in her classroom-helping them to be their best,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I’m proud of our Teacher of the Year for her continued dedication to her students and her passion for creating and inspiring a lifetime of learning.”

Sponaugle has been a teacher for more than ten years and currently works at Tomahawk Intermediate School in Berkeley County.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to represent the students and teachers of the Mountain State as the 2014 West Virginia Teacher of the Year,” said Sponaugle. “Teaching is a profession that not only prepares students intellectually but breaks barriers, overcomes obstacles, and ultimately transforms the futures of children inside our classrooms and beyond. I am proud to be just one of the thousands of educators in our state that strive daily to give our students the love and learning they require to succeed as a member of a global community. This is not only my year but theirs to show the nation how we are the difference each day.”

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia presented Sponaugle with a $5,000 check.

“We are always pleased to be able to assist in rewarding our state’s teachers who exemplify the outstanding qualifications and dedication to students that Ms. Sponaugle possesses,” said Highmark West Virginia President Fred Early. “She is truly a role model for our children.”

Each year Toyota donates a new car to the state teacher of the year for use as he or she travels the state this year.

“Through the West Virginia Teacher of the Year program, Toyota West Virginia is able to recognize teachers who show enthusiasm, dedication and go above and beyond their job requirements to instill excellence into education,” said Doug Shields, Toyota West Virginia general manager. “Teaching is a profession worthy of our utmost respect. This award honors teachers who exemplify innovation and knowledge and show genuine interest in the lives and success of their students. As a corporation, Toyota West Virginia is striving to honor and reward our leading educators who are preparing our next generation of leaders. Teachers change lives every day, and make the world a better place – one student at a time and one day at a time. It is with great pleasure we recognize the 2014 Teacher of the Year – Erin Sponaugle from Berkeley County.”

Sponaugle received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Shepherd University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University. As a fifth grade teacher, she earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification for Middle Childhood Generalist and continues to serve as a Candidate Support Provider for colleagues pursuing NBPTS certification. Sponaugle was awarded the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award in 2013 and serves as a master mentor for new educators. She received the Honeywell Scholarship for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Teacher Academy in 2011 and was a Transatlantic Outreach Program Fellow in 2013.

“Great teachers like Erin are the key to helping West Virginia children discover their own abilities and aspire to achieve more than they ever believed possible,” said Superintendent Phares. “I am honored to recognize her as the 2014 Teacher of the Year.”

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