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Martinsburg High School teacher honored in Berkeley County

August 16, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A veteran Berkeley County teacher known for her use of a "learning style inventory" to determine the best way to educate students was named Berkeley County's Teacher of the Year on Monday night at Martinsburg High School.

Robin Truax, a Martinsburg High School teacher who has been teaching in Berkeley County Schools for 22 years, was among five finalists for the award.

Truax received the award from Superintendent of Schools Manny Arvon, who praised Truax for her ability to encourage students not only to learn, but to enjoy school.

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Truax teaches a ninth-grade health class and a senior leadership class, where students learn about leadership in business and politics.

Truax said she likes to use the Internet, newspapers and magazines to keep her lessons fresh and has brought in hospital emergency room personnel to talk to students about alcohol abuse.

Her use of a learning style inventory determines whether a student learns best through auditory or visual methods, she said. If a student is not a strong reader and learns better through auditory lessons, Truax customizes the student lesson plan.

Sometimes that means use of "cooperative learning," where a student who has read a lesson plan explains the subject area verbally to a student.

Truax said she started using learning style inventories while working in a dropout prevention program in Jefferson County Schools.

Truax said she was surprised to receive the award given the background of the other four candidates.

"It took my breath away," said Truax, who lives in Martinsburg.

The other candidates were Elise Anderson, a second-grade teacher at Berkeley Heights Elementary School; Laura Jackson, a Winchester Avenue Elementary School teacher who has taught first and second grades; John Paul Lynch Jr., a band and music education teacher at Martinsburg South Middle School; and Brenda Silver, a fourth-grade teacher at Orchard View Intermediate School.

Truax earned an associate's degree in education from Brookdale Community College and pursued a bachelor of arts degree in secondary education and a master of arts in education administration from West Virginia University.

Truax said she also has been active in organizations such as the National Organization for Women, the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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