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Open High School teacher is named 2017 Teacher of the Year

                                                                                                     NEWS RELEASE
  Dr. Dana T. Bedden, Superintendent
                                                                        Kenita Bowers, Director of Communications & Media Relations
                                                                      Office of Communications & Media Relations: 804-780-7100


For Immediate Release
November 11, 2016

Open High School teacher is named 2017 Teacher of the Year

RICHMOND, Va. – Clary Carleton, an English teacher at Open High School, has been named Richmond Public Schools’ 2017 Teacher of the Year. Carleton and other Teacher of the Year nominees were recognized during a special award ceremony sponsored by Wells Fargo and held at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Richmond Nov. 10.

Carleton has taught English at Open since 1999 and noted in her application, “Teaching became something I felt called to do because I realized its centrality for individual and social progress. I began to understand the transformative power of education.”  She added, “I offer students a positive, safe and equitable environment where they are expected to reach toward their best selves and take intellectual risks.”

Carleton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from George Mason University and a master’s degree in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and the first city representative of the Yale National Initiative for Richmond, an intensive collaboration among Yale faculty members and educators designed to strengthen teaching in public schools.

For being named Richmond’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Carleton received a $1,000 cash award, an iPad air and a complimentary one-night stay at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Richmond hotel.

Gilbert Carter, a mathematics teacher at Boushall Middle School, was named first runner-up. A former engineer, Carter left corporate America to begin teaching at Boushall in 2009.  Among his many contributions to the school, Carter has served as a new teacher mentor, eighth grade team leader, schoolwide leadership team member, co-chair of the math department and head coach of the girls’ basketball team. He led the middle school girls’ basketball team to its first championship during the 2014-2015 school year.  Carter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech.

Chele Miller, a math and science teacher at Miles Jones Elementary School, was named second runner-up.  An educator for 10 years, Miller credits an illness as a child as the driving force for pursuing a career in teaching. In her application, Miller recalled a teacher publicly shaming her in class, which inspired her to begin visualizing her own classroom where all students would feel welcomed. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and master’s degree in teaching from James Madison University, and has served as a Mind Games coach, Saturday Academy teacher and member of the Miles Jones’ Multicultural and Career Day Committee.

Carter and Miller received $750 and $500 cash awards, respectively.

As program sponsor, Wells Fargo provided cash prizes for the top three award recipients and iPad airs for the top 10 finalists. This year marks the third consecutive year of the company’s sponsorship.

“At Wells Fargo, we know that students, families and communities can only thrive when they have talented, passionate teachers, and we believe it’s important to celebrate those teachers,” said Corliss Archer, Community Affairs officer for Wells Fargo in Greater Richmond.  “We’re honored to congratulate these Richmond Public Schools finalists and all of our teachers for their service.  Our entire community benefits from their work, and we are honored to help celebrate Richmond’s best.”

School Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden added, “We are proud to recognize these outstanding educators and honor their tireless service and dedication to the students and families of our school district. We extend our sincerest gratitude to each of our nominees for representing the best in our profession.”

Other top ten finalists include: Sandra Motley, Linwood Holton Elementary School; Ester Orellana, Huguenot High School; Karen Barber-Olajuwon, George Mason Elementary School; Pamela Markie, Amelia Street School; Melanie Parker, Bellevue Elementary School; Jennifer Ramachandran, William Fox Elementary School; and Kathy Paschall, Franklin Military Academy.

Criteria used to evaluate the nominees include contributions to the field of education, demonstration of innovative practices, effective school-community relations and the use of activities and strategies that result in improved instruction.



 2016 - 2017 Teacher of the Year nominees

Deanna Fierro

Albert Hill Middle School

John W. Stevens, IV

Thomas Jefferson High School

Raymonda A. Rhoades

Martin Luther King, Jr. Learning Ctr.

Christopher D. Glasper

Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School

Wenda S. Thompson

John Marshall High School

Jennifer C. Thomas

Maymont PreSchool Center

Paula B. Katz

Mary Munford Elementary School

Jessica E. Carpenter

Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School

Rohoma D. Sims

Overby Sheppard Elementary School

Cynthia V. Lawson

Redd Elementary School

Doris S. Allgood

Reid Elementary School

Keith C. Washington

Richmond Alternative

Stephanie R. Humphries

Richmond Community High School

Charles B. Watson

Richmond Technical Center

Rhonda S. Long

Mary Scott Regional PreSchool Center

Colette O. Daniel

Southampton Elementary School

Nan F. Silkunas

Stuart Elementary

Alana C. Underdue

Swansboro Elementary School

Janice T. Gray

Westover Hills Elementary School

Ridgely E. Carter-Minter 

Woodville Elementary School

Felicia A. Artis

George Wythe High