Michelle Cottrell-Williams, a social studies teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington, was named Virginia’s teacher of the year.
She has been a teacher at Wakefield for her entire 11-year teaching career. She attended Utah State University for her undergraduate degree and got a master’s degree from George Washington University, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
She was officially awarded the title Monday at a ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The distinction comes with over $8,000 in award money, along with educational opportunities, a museum membership, flowers and other prizes.
Virginia’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe stopped by Cottrell-Williams’ class on Sept. 11 to surprise her with the news that she was named the regional teacher of the year, the school announced.
Next, Cottrell-Williams will be considered for a national Teacher of the Year award along with all other state winners.
Katlin Thorsell, an agriculture teacher at Washington High School in Charlestown, West Virginia will be in the running.
The winner of the National Teacher of the Year award is usually announced in April.