Brooke’s top teacher shares love of learning

WELLSBURG – Scott Abercrombie said he looks forward to each day at Follansbee Middle School, where he is a seventh grade science teacher, because it doesn’t feel like a job to him.

The 2013 Brooke County Teacher of the Year, Abercrombie said as the son of teachers, he became interested in teaching at an early age. But he became particularly interested in teaching science because it offered many opportunities to apply a hands-on approach.

He said he enjoys planning classroom activities around the many scientific concepts he covers and that love of scientific exploration led him to form, with colleague Chris Weiler, the school’s first LEGO League robotics team.

The group is challenged, during meetings and at various competitions, to design small robots to perform various tasks.

Weiler, who also teaches science at Follansbee Middle School, described Abercrombie as a big man – not only in stature, as he is about 6 foot 3, but also in heart.

“He is an attentive and compassionate listener, with faith in God and trust in the human spirit,” she said, adding he also is “a big giver,” giving freely of his time to instruct students and colleagues.

Superintendent Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson said many Brooke County teachers have commented on the value of his instruction during summer seminars held to help them renew their certification.

Abercrombie also has lent his time outside the classroom as a technology coordinator for his school, president of its faculty senate, member of its leadership team and advisor of its MATHCOUNTS team, among other roles.

Abercrombie was modest about the honor, saying, “I don’t feel like I’m any more special than the other teachers who were nominated or the other teachers in my building.”

A graduate of Brooke High School and West Liberty University, Abercrombie grew up in Brooke County schools as the son of local teachers, Jim and Linda Abercrombie. He said in addition to their advice and support, he has benefited from the example set by many excellent science and math teachers, including Joe Starcher.

Now Brooke County Schools’ career technical director, Starcher was Abercrombie’s seventh grade science teacher at Follansbee Middle School.

Abercrombie also thanked his wife Jennifer for her support and God, quoting 1 Corinthians 10:31, which states, “So whether you drink or eat or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

The Brooke County Teacher of the Year is determined by a committee comprised of the county’s former teacher of the year and representatives of the Brooke County school board, Brooke County Schools Administrators Association, Brooke County Council PTA, Brooke County Education Association and Brooke County Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Assistant Superintendent Marty Bartz also recognized other teachers nominated for the honor by their respective schools. They include Toni Taylor of Wellsburg Middle School, Cindy Thomaselli of Jefferson Primary School, Cathy Furioli of Brooke High School, Julie Harvey of Franklin Primary School, Diana Stoaks of Hooverson Heights Primary School, Frances Bonnaure of L.B. Millsop Primary School, Holly Yarter of Colliers Primary School and Lorraine Ossman of Wellsburg Primary School.

Board President Jim Piccirillo, a former teacher and principal, applauded Abercrombie and the others. He said “the magic of teaching” can be seen on a cold winter day when the teacher or students or both are suffering from colds and the winter doldrums, but the teacher still is able to draw their interest.

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