By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
During convocation Wednesday morning, Frederick County Public Schools named Shea Finfrock the 2013 Teacher of the Year.
Finfrock, an English teacher at Millbrook High School, has taught in Frederick County throughout her career. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in English with a minor in sociology, as well as Master of Arts degrees in English and Education, all from Radford University.
Finfrock said she was inspired to teach by her undergraduate college professors.
"My professors opened up a world of education to me that I never experienced in high school," she said. "The work I was doing became relevant and, in turn, empowering. I became an academic and scholar, something I never imagined."
While she realized her teaching skills needed some work, Finfrock said she was easily able to develop a positive, respectful rapport with her students, who in turn were willing to work for her because of that relationship.
"I wanted to be like [my college professors], to expose my students to new worlds and to challenge them in new ways," she said. "When my students felt pride in the work they created, when they wanted to share their stories with those they cared about because they had found their voice, that is when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I could think of nothing else I would rather do for the rest of my life."
Finfrock also has been recognized as a Walmart Teacher of the Year, and Millbrook's senior class has chosen her as Most Inspirational Teacher for three years in a row.
With the recognition, Finfrock also will receive a plaque, a gold signet ring with the school division's logo, a notebook computer and carrying case, an HP printer, a portable file, and $3,000 to be used for instructional materials, supplies or travel.
Superintendent David Sovine commended Finfrock, and called her a "model for all teachers."
"The students she teaches not only learn the required English curriculum, but also learn to engage in the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary tot be successful in today's global economy," he said.