VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dr. Heather Allen
Date: 05/04/17 Phone: 757.263.1797
News Release No. 065 Fax: 757.263.1010
Email: heather.allen@vbschools.com

Pontifex named 2018 Citywide Teacher of the Year

Click for high resolution imageAmanda Pontifex, a fifth-grade teacher at Shelton Park Elementary School, is the 2018 Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Citywide Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence made the announcement at the division's annual dinner honoring Teachers of the Year held May 4 at the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center.

Pontifex has been teaching for nine years, all with VBCPS. She began her career at Kempsville Meadows Elementary School and taught at Point O' View Elementary School before joining Shelton Park's staff in 2014. “I've always known I was born to help people,” Pontifex wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. She initially sought to fulfill that goal by enrolling in Radford University's School of Nursing. After two years of studies, “I chose to explore the elementary education world and I'm so glad I did as I haven't looked back since committing to that decision,” Pontifex wrote. She earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in education, both from Old Dominion University. Pontifex also completed graduate studies to earn an administrative endorsement from Longwood University.

“Amanda consistently delivers quality instruction to her students. It is a joy to visit her class and watch her skillfully reach every child,” wrote Shelton Park Principal Tara Brewer in her letter of recommendation. “Enthusiastic, engaging and well-structured presentation of grade-level objectives keeps Amanda's students on the edge of their seats. She is respected as an instructional leader here at Shelton Park and is an outstanding example for our faculty and for teachers everywhere!”

In addition to her work in the classroom, Pontifex devotes time to support the school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and has served as a PTA board member and standing secretary. She was named Shelton Park Elementary's 2016 Volunteer of the Year for her service to the PTA. “For me, being an invested member in my community goes hand in hand with my commitment to purposeful education. I live a mile from my school, so when I'm investing my time there, I'm also investing it in strengthening my surrounding community,” wrote Pontifex. Additionally, as a member of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, she and her students participate in various projects with the organization. Pontifex also serves as Shelton Park's school improvement coordinator, a volunteer tutor and a member of the school's leadership and math action teams.

Pontifex was selected as the 2018 VBCPS Citywide Teacher of the Year from an initial pool of 87 Teachers of the Year. The selection committee interviewed five finalists, including Pontifex, to determine the citywide winner. The other finalists are: Sharon Byrd, theatre teacher at Salem High School; Louis Castiglioni, art teacher at Landstown Elementary School; Jamey Lovin, math specialist at Plaza Middle School; and Stephanie Wyman, fifth-grade teacher at Woodstock Elementary School. Videos featuring each Teacher of the Year finalist are available on the division's Great Dreams Need Great Teachers website.

For more information about the school division's 2018 Teacher of the Year program, visit vbschools.com or contact the Department of Teaching and Learning at 757-263-1070.

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Department of Media and Communications, vbcpsweb@vbschools.com

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