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Vicki Follett is county's Teacher of the Year

April 26, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The 2002 Washington County Teacher of the Year said even as a child, her favorite game was school and she always played the teacher.

Vicki Follett was chosen from a field of 15 nominees, all of whom were honored at the annual Outstanding Educators banquet Thursday night at the Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway.

"This is an unbelievable honor," Follett said as she watched her colleagues stand to salute her work as a teacher. "I do what I do because I love what I do."

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That love came from examples set by family members early in her life, she said.

"My parents supplied the basic school supplies for our make-believe school, a huge wall chalkboard, books, paper, pencils, crayons and a desire to learn," Follett said. "In our house, a teacher was someone to be admired and respected."

Follett was accompanied to the ceremony by her husband, John, a teacher at Hagerstown Business College.

Follett, of Smithsburg, is in her 15th year of teaching in Washington County and has seven years of teaching experience in other Maryland systems.

In addition to teaching, Follett is involved with various outside organizations such as Special Olympics and volunteers for school-related committees.

Follett also received an Outstanding Educator Award in 2000 and was a 1999 nominee for the Maryland You Are Beautiful award.

She received her master's in behavior disorders from Shippensburg University and a bachelor of arts in elementary education with a minor in early childhood and special education from Mt. Vernon Nazarene College.

"I feel my greatest contribution or accomplishment in education is that I have high expectations for my students to become lifelong learners - I want them to be the best that they can be," Follett said.

She said she stresses to her students that learning doesn't occur only in the classroom.

In the letters nominating Follett, there were references to her being the first to embrace new ideas and setting an example for her colleagues.

This year she looped, or moved up, from first to second grade, with her students. On the first day of school, her classroom operated as if it had been in session all summer, a colleague who nominated Follett noted.

Follett will represent Washington County at the annual state Teacher of the Year awards program.

As the local winner, Follett received $500 from both Washington County public schools and the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, a plaque, a tuition waiver from Frostburg State University, and the use of a Honda Accord for a year from Hagerstown Honda.

The other 10 teachers nominated for the award were:

- Nicole Alsip, Bester Elementary;

- Marianne Childress, Lincolnshire Elementary;

- Judith Fox, Old Forge Elementary;

- Kittylee Harbaugh, Salem Avenue Elementary;

- Loretta Czerbinski, Western Heights Middle;

- Judith Jones, Clear Spring Middle;

- Linda Caudell, Smithsburg High;

- Roland Cline, Clear Spring High;

- Connie Lenhart, North Hagerstown High;

- Karen Teach, Clear Spring High.

Administrative and other educators nominated:

- John "Bud" Ingersoll, supervisor of career technology education;

- William Moore, guidance counselor at Northern Middle;

- Kathy Stiles, principal at Greenbrier Elementary;

- Jill Burkhart, principal at Clear Spring Elementary.

Each received a plaque.

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