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Twenty Nominated for Prestigious McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence

RADFORD -- Twenty outstanding teachers from across the Blue Ridge region are semi-finalists for the 12th annual McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence, which are among the largest teaching prizes in the United States.

These teachers now begin the second phase of the awards program, which will culminate April 12, 2011, 4 - 7 p.m., at The McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching held at Radford University.

Among the semi-finalists are RU alumni Lisa Cofflin Taylor ’05 and Marlena Kay Preston, Belview Elementary, Montgomery County, Va.; Catey Moretz ‘96, Oak Grove Elementary, Roanoke County, Va.; and Lauri Gearhart ‘03, Preston Park Elementary, Roanoke City, Va.

Celebrated author Homer Hickam will be the featured speaker.

The retired NASA engineer is best known for his autobiographical book Rocket Boys that became the big-screen hit October Sky. Hickam’s most recent book is The Dinosaur Hunter. His other works include Torpedo Junction, Back to the Moon, The Coalwood Way, Red Helmet, and a series of novels featuring World War II Coast Guard officer Josh Thurlow. Hickam credits a teacher with his career success. The Late Miss Freida Riley was one of his teachers who dedicated her 31 years of life to education, especially encouraging teachers who have to overcome adversity. The impact Riley had on Hickam’s life is depicted in October Sky.

In the 12 years since the awards were established by the McGlothlin Foundation, this Bristol, Va. philanthropic organization has given more than $540,000 to exceptional educators from public schools in selected portions of Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky. Two teachers, one from grades K-5 and one from grades 6 - 12, are awarded $25,000 each, with the stipulation that $10,000 be used for international travel to broaden the thinking and experience of the winning teachers.

"The McGlothlin Foundation's goal is for the awards to inspire recipients, their students, their peers, and indeed, their entire school. It is our intent to find the best teachers in today's classrooms around our region,” said Tom McGlothlin, founder of the McGlothlin Foundation. “We want to recognize their fine work, reward them for it, and by so doing inspire others to the high qualities they exemplify. Certainly, this award will recognize in a rather significant way what we consider one of the most important professions, and one with so many unsung heroes."

In addition to Taylor, Preston, Moretz and Gearhart, McGlothlin 2011 Awards semi-finalists in the elementary category are: Lisa James, Narrows Elementary/Middle, Giles County Schools; Lisa Walden, High Point Elementary, Washington County Schools; Lucas Phillips, Spiller Elementary, Wythe County Schools; Malinda Morgan, Sandusky Elementary, Lynchburg City Schools; and Peggy Goodson-Rochelle, John Adams Elementary, Kingsport, Tenn. Schools.

The semi-finalists in the secondary category are: Steve Rapp, Linwood Holton Governor’s School, Washington County Schools; Barbara Manuel, Glade Spring Middle, Washington County Schools; Dina Linkenhoker, Staunton River Middle, Bedford County Schools; Teresa Brown, Haynesfield Elementary – Sixth Grade, Bristol, Tenn. City Schools; Susan Stanbery, Heritage High, Lynchburg City Schools; Debbie Harris, Read Mountain Middle, Botetourt County Schools; Susan Montgomery, The Gereau Center, Franklin County Schools; Mary Slone, South Floyd High, Floyd County, Ky. Schools; Liz Phillips, Wallace Middle, Washington County Schools; and Regina Donour, Letcher County Central High, Letcher, Ky. County Schools.

Blue Ridge PBS has administered the McGlothlin Awards since 1999. In the next phase of judging, the semi-finalists must submit a standards-based lesson plan with a 20-minute video of themselves teaching the lesson in their classrooms. Judges will evaluate the teachers’ classroom instruction, classroom management, interaction with students, and, if possible, use of instructional technology such as computers, video or digital cameras. Six finalists, three each at the elementary school level and secondary school level, will be notified in January 2011.

“I am proud and honored to be associated with the prestigious McGlothlin Award which celebrates education and recognizes committed classroom teachers in the Blue Ridge region,” said Blue Ridge PBS Director of Education Services Rose Martin.

Further details about the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence are available by calling (888) 332-7788 and visiting The website contains information about other Blue Ridge PBS education services, including instructional broadcasts, extensive online resources, special projects and professional development for teachers. Additional information will be available in January 2011 on RU’S McGlothlin website at

Beginning in a farmhouse nestled in the mountains of Buchanan County, Va., the McGlothlin family was sustained in their early years through farming and coal mining. As their success grew, the family business became involved in oil, gas, real estate and financial services. The McGlothlin Foundation was created in 1998 to support worthy causes in higher education, health care, and the arts in southwest Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.

Blue Ridge PBS, founded in 1967, is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS offers outstanding informational, educational and cultural programming, along with an award-winning local production team devoted to regional issues and interests. Further, more than 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV/DT in Roanoke, WSBN-TV/DT in Norton, and WMSY-TV/DT in Marion.

December 16, 2010
Bonnie Roberts Erickson; 540-831-5804

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