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Pownall named Berkeley Co. Teacher of the Year

August 16, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II, left; Orchard View Intermediate School teacher Dorothy R. "Dottie" Pownall, the county's 2010-11 Teacher of the Year; and Dr. William "Bill" Queen, president of the Berkeley County Board of Education, celebrate Pownall's award Monday night at Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -- Dorothy R. "Dottie" Pownall, a fifth-grade teacher at Orchard View Intermediate School, was named Berkeley County's Teacher of the Year for 2010-11 at a ceremony at Hedgesville High School.

"This award just gives me more encouragement to reach out and research more and just do more," Pownall said Monday night after receiving the award. "I just feel the love and support of everybody around me and I feel that push -- that I can do it."

A product of Berkeley County Schools and a graduate of Shepherd College, Pownall, 42, has been teaching for 15 years, beginning in Frederick County, Va.

Pownall, who was recognized for using exercise balls to replace chairs in the classroom, said new teachers should remember their work is not all about book learning.

"Children remember not just what you teach them, it's how you make them feel," Pownall said. "And if you can make them feel self-confident and make them feel like they can be successful, then you have achieved something."

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Pownall said she thinks the exercise balls might have helped her cause.

Pownall began teaching at Orchard View Intermediate School in Martinsburg's west end in 2002, and received national board certification this year.

Pownall was one of six finalists for the award. The others were Rebecha Catlett of Spring Mills Middle School, Rhonda Foreman of Martinsburg High School, Julie Hudson of Rosemont Elementary School, Jeremy Knight of Martinsburg South Middle School and Brenda Waterworth of Musselman Middle School.

Pownall is recovering from injuries she sustained in a car accident last month. She said she was traveling to Charleston, W.Va., with her daughter, Kayla, to get her real estate license when the accident occurred near Weston, W.Va. Her daughter was driving the car when something happened to the steering, and she lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over an embankment, Pownall said.

"So they didn't hire me for the stuntman job, but they did give me a helicopter ride," Pownall said, laughing. "My first one ever."

A nurse who was riding in a vehicle behind them stopped to help, Pownall said.

Pownall doesn't expect to be able to return to the classroom for another month because of a shoulder injury.

Orchard View Principal Joyce Chapman, who introduced Pownall during the ceremony, said the news of the accident was heart-stopping.

"She had a fractured spine, a crushed finger, a broken shoulder and a sprained ankle, and where was she today after last week having surgery on her shoulder? She was at school, bossing her two daughters to tell them what she needed in the classroom," Chapman said. "That's Dottie Pownall for ya, and that's determination."

Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II said the families of the finalists deserved the school district's appreciation for supporting their efforts and accomplishments.

For winning the award, Pownall gets to attend a professional conference for staff development of her choice. Each of the finalists received a hand-painted bucket floral arrangement and a plaque.

Pownall qualified for the state award, which will be announced next month, according to school officials.

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