NEW ORLEANS — Teresa Dove, a Virginia resident who teaches math online for Florida Virtual School, received the first National Online Teacher of the Year Award for K-12 education last night from the two education nonprofit organizations that founded the program, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).
The 2010 SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding online teacher for exceptional contributions to online K-12 education. The judging committee selected Dove and two other finalists from more than 50 nominations of online educators in public schools and state virtual schools in 24 states.
For the past four years, Dove has been an online mathematics/Algebra II teacher for grades 6-12 and a schoolhouse Literacy Coordinator at Florida Virtual School, which serves more than 125,000 students and employs more than 1,100 educators. A resident of North Tazewell, Virginia, she is a mentor, a member of the Reading Leadership Team, and was the first Algebra II teacher at Florida Virtual to create a Model Literacy Classroom.
Dove said after receiving the award that teaching online allows her to spend much more time working individually with students than she did previously in a traditional classroom. Spending only a moment with students in a traditional classroom is "not enough, and our kids deserve better," she said. It also has allowed her to care for two young children at home and to teach even while caring for her mother in the hospital.
The award winner and two other finalists were recognized during a dinner here on September 8 during SREB’s joint annual meeting of its Educational Technology Cooperative and Electronic Campus state representatives. The meeting brings state officials from the 16 SREB states together to expand and improve the use of technology in education.
Dove received an art glass sculpture designed by Hans Frabel and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Virtual School Symposium sponsored by iNACOL, November 14-16 in Glendale, Arizona, where she will be recognized during the iNACOL Annual Meeting. She also will be featured on the SREB and iNACOL websites. The two other finalists received special plaques and other honors. Sponsors of the award include Aventa Learning, Florida Virtual Schools Global Services and Pearson Foundation.
The other finalists were Gabrielle Bray from the Gwinnett County (Georgia) Online Campus and Steven Sproles from Virtual Virginia.
"Teachers are the common denominator of instructional quality, whether in the classroom or online. As Web-based learning continues to expand, SREB and iNACOL are proud to honor Teresa Dove and the two other finalists as outstanding K-12 online teachers of America’s students," said Myk Garn, the director of the Cooperative.
"These teachers have risen to the top of the online teaching field and are making strong contributions to creating a 21st century learning experience for every one of their students. We are grateful to them, and we hope this award captures the spirit of the community," said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of iNACOL.
As the social studies department chair at the Gwinnett County Online Campus, based in Norcross, Georgia, Gabrielle Bray teaches a variety of social studies courses to grades 9-12, including honors and college-preparatory courses. In just seven years of online teaching, the Lawrenceville, Georgia, resident has built strong mentoring relationships with her students and "has improved students’ scores on the Georgia End of Course Test in economics" above state averages for several years, notes her director/principal.
Steven Sproles of Wise, Virginia, teaches Advanced Placement (AP) psychology, macroeconomics and microeconomics at Virtual Virginia, based in Richmond. Hired as Virtual Virginia’s sole AP psychology teacher in 2006, Sproles led the development of a new, high-quality AP psychology course that greatly expanded the number of teachers teaching the course and helped boost student achievement. In 2009, only 69 percent of students passed the AP psychology exam across the nation. "In comparison, 84 percent of Sproles’ students passed that exam that year," his instructional leader noted.
For more information about the award program and the work of the Educational Technology Cooperative, contact SREB Communications.
iNACOL is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership association based in the Washington, D.C., area with more than 3,100 members. iNACOL is unique in that its members represent a diverse cross-section of K-12 education from school districts, charter schools, state education agencies, nonprofit organizations, colleges, universities and research institutions, corporate entities, and other content and technology providers (www.inacol.org). iNACOL hosts the annual Virtual School Symposium (VSS): www.virtualschoolsymposium.org/.
The Southern Regional Education Board, or SREB, based in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. More information is available online at www.sreb.org.