Brooke names their teacher of the year

TEACHER OF THE YEAR — The Brooke County Board of Education on Monday recognized Tammy Cutshall, left, as the Brooke County Teacher of the Year. With her is Superintendent Toni Paesano Shute. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Seventh grade science teacher Tammy Cutshall, the 2017 Brooke County Teacher of the Year, told the Brooke County Board of Education Monday she “is fortunate to receive an award for something I love doing so much.”

Cutshall said through good days or bad, there’s never a dull moment when teaching.

She said as the daughter of two educators — Dan Finell, a former physical education teacher and principal of Brooke High School; and Donna Finell, a former first grade teacher for the school district: she saw both sides of teaching: “when things were going well and when they weren’t.”

But following their example, she became interested in teaching at an early age and science was always her favorite subject, she said.

Cutshall said she enjoys taking a hands-on approach to the subject, and a short video presented by Superintendent Toni Paesano Shute showed her pupils engaged in various science experiments.

GRANT RECIPIENTS — The Brooke County Board of Education also acknowledged, from left, Dana Stoll, a teacher at Colliers Primary School; Theresa Paterra, a teacher at Wellsburg Primary School; and Greg Rothwell, principal of Follansbee Middle School; for securing grants to promote science, technology, engineering and math at their schools. -- Warren Scott

“It’s a great way to put the concepts they’re learning into action,” she said.

Asked what she enjoys most about her job, Cutshall replied, “The interaction with my students. Bar none, that’s the reason I do what I do.”

A graduate of Brooke High School, Cutshall furthered her education and training for teaching with bachelor’s and master’s degrees at West Liberty University and West Virginia University, respectively. She has been teaching for 32 years — with the first 10 in Wood County, the next 10 at Follansbee Middle School and the past 12 at Wellsburg Middle School, where she currently works.

Shute said Cutshall “is one of those teachers you want your child to have in school.”

She added, “When she’s mentoring another teacher, they are getting the best possible instruction someone could get.”

In the video, colleagues and students described her as a dedicated professional, deeply concerned about her students.

But Cutshall said she is among many such teachers in Brooke County.

“I accept this (honor) as a representative of the amazing teachers of Brooke County who put their heart and souls into their classrooms,” she said.

Staff at each Brooke County school nominates a colleague for the honor, with one selected by a committee comprised of the county’s former teacher of the year and representatives of the school board, the county’s school administrators association, Brooke County Council PTA, Brooke County Education Association and Brooke County Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

The other nominees were: Emily Henry of Beech Bottom Primary School, Lindsey Fair of Franklin Primary School, Amanda DiMarzio of Wellsburg Primary School, Jennifer Provenzano of Jefferson Primary School, Rachel Reardon of Hooverson Heights Primary School, Stephanie Alexander of Follansbee Middle School, Penny Foose of Colliers Primary School, Amy Pannett of L.B. Millsop Primary School and Emily Beall of Brooke High School.

On Monday the board also recognized three staff members who secured four grants to further the study of science, technology, engineering and math in their schools:

• Theresa Paterra, a teacher at Wellsburg Primary, who has used a $2,714 grant from the Chevron and Claude W. Benedum Foundation to set up stations where third and fourth graders in the school’s S.T.E.A.M. Club learn to build and program small robots, complete activities related to aerospace and astronomy and design their own buildings and video games.

Paterra said the A in the club’s name stands for the arts because the activities encourage the pupils’ creativity.

• Dana Stoll, a teacher at Colliers Primary, who has received a $5,000 grant from the same foundation to obtain robots to be built and programmed by the 20 fourth graders in the school’s new S.T.E.M. club.

• Greg Rothwell, principal of Follansbee Middle School, who has secured a $5,000 Governor’s S.T.E.M. Initiative grant through the state Department of Education to purchase a second 3-D printer and other equipment for the school’s S.T.E.M. lab and a $25,000 grant from the Jane Harless Center at Marshall University to further S.T.E.M. training for staff.

Rothwell said there are plans to use the latter grant to visit the NASA facility in Fairmont, W.Va. and other sites related to the four components of S.T.E.M.

In related business, the board also recognized Jami Packer, last year’s Brooke County Teacher of the Year, for being selected to participate in the Honeywell Space Camp for Educators.

The board also:

• Approved the hiring of Cameron Koehler as teacher for the Alternative Learning Center, Robin Leahy as a countywide teacher for the visually impaired, Amy Shaffer as a special education aide at the high school, Stacie Jones as a custodian at Colliers Primary; Joyce Capelle as a custodian at Franklin Primary and Teresa Taylor, Rebecca Szabo, Michelle Meca and Erin Ankrum as part-time teachers for the career technical department’s Math Pilot program.

It accepted the resignations of Terry Mains, a first grade teacher at Jefferson Primary School; and Selva Mallory, a seventh grade English teacher at Follansbee Middle School; who are retiring.