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Chamber recognizes Teacher of the Year; new educators

By Staff | Aug 19, 2016

Jefferson High School band director J.P. Lynch has been honored as the county’s Teacher of the Year.

The recognition came Thursday at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s annual teachers’ Recognition Luncheon at the Clarion of Harpers Ferry. Lynch is the only Jefferson County teacher who has made it to the finalist level for West Virginia Teacher of the Year, according to Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson. The result of that contest will be announced later this year.

Lynch took a few moments to welcome new teachers into the county and offer them words of wisdom. First and foremost, he stressed the need to make a connection with the parents. He explained that his band, now 199 members strong, receives invaluable help from the parent volunteers.

“They are a part of the team,” he said.

He also touted that he has no discipline problems with his band, attributing that to parent involvement. He also encouraged the new teachers to take care of themselves even as they take care of their new students.

“These kids need consistency,” Lynch said.

In addition to taking physical care, Lynch said it is important for teachers to make time for themselves and their families.

“You are important,” he said. “The kids need you.”

Gibson also offered words of wisdom to the newest members of school system.

“You need to be your authentic self,” Gibson stressed to the nearly 60 new teachers on hand. She continued with words of encouragement about the newcomers’ roles as Jefferson County teachers.

“When you are authentic, you also realize it’s OK to fail,” Gibson said. “Failure is an event. It is not a human being. It doesn’t define you.”

Following the service of lunch, each teacher was introduced by name and school. Blue Ridge Elementary will have one new teacher while Blue Ridge Primary has two. Two also are new at North Jefferson Elementary and at Page Jackson. Ranson Elementary welcomes three new teachers while Shephedstown Elementary has two new staffers. South Jefferson will see two new members, while T.A. Lowery welcomes only one.

On the middle school level, Charles Town Middle will welcome two new staff members; Harpers Ferry Middle welcomes four; Shepherdstown Middle, two; and Wildwood Middle, four.

Jefferson High and Washington high schools see the most new teachers coming to their facilities, with 10 at Jefferson and 12 at Washington.

Gibson said that with these new staffers, the county’s staff is nearly filled. There may be a couple of vacancies, she said, but those have interviews scheduled. She is confident the year will start with all positions filled.