CHESAPEAKE, Virginia – A local teacher named Virginia Teacher of the Year 2022!
The honor was given to Daphne Fulson, a bilingual second grade teacher at Portlock Primary School. She lives in Chesapeake and has 12 years of teaching experience, four of which in the city.
Governor Ralph Northam made the announcement during a live stream at the Executive Mansion in Richmond. Fulson was selected as one of the eight Regional Teachers of the Year in the Commonwealth earlier this month and is now Virginia’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year 2022.
“It’s unreal, it’s unreal. You go to work every day and just love the kids and don’t expect that kind of recognition. It feels so good to be recognized for something you love to do, ”said Fulson after greeting each of her students by name. “I will now have a bigger platform to share all of the ideas I have for integrating and spreading educational equity in schools, and a bigger platform to share my joy about education.”
“Daphne is an exceptional teacher who goes out of her way to support and challenge her students,” said Northam. “Your classroom at Portlock Primary provides a positive learning environment where all children feel welcome as they learn and grow. She is an excellent advocate for Virginia’s exemplary teachers and public schools. “
Northam announced Fulson’s selection for Teacher of the Year in Virginia at the end of the annual ceremony, which included comments from First Lady Pamela Northam, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, Vice President of Education Committee Jamelle Wilson, and Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane.
Fulson received her bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University, studied Spanish linguistics at Universidad Veritas in San José, Costa Rica and is currently working on her master’s degree at ODU.
In 2015 she received the Sue Lehmann Teaching and Learning Fellowship for the Rio Grande Valley Texas region and in 2017 the Good to Transformational Teaching Fellowship in McAllen, Texas.
While studying in Peru, Daphne was an EFL instructor for children and adults, later served as an AmeriCorps member and received the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award in 2017.
Fulson served as the University Interscholastic League’s science fair coordinator and creative writing coach for a school of 830 students in Texas. She has worked as a Spanish translator, co-chair of the Parents as Educational Partners (PEP) program and a Global Ambassador at ODU. She currently chairs the PBIS committee, co-chairs the Math and STEAM committee, and is the math director and city liaison for her school who helps create the math curriculum for the grade levels.
Fulson serves as a mentor to beginners and is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society and the International Thespian Society.
She enjoys traveling internationally, building houses with Habitat for Humanity and taking part in regional spoken word competitions.
Portlock Primary School principal Leslie Russell characterizes Fulson as a “caring, inspiring, and compassionate educator with a natural ability to touch the lives of her students.”
One of her students shared a holistic approach that Fulson takes in educating the entire student.
“I love Mrs. Fulson because she allows me to be myself. I can dance in my classroom. If I don’t understand something, I can always ask Ms. Fulson. I can even disagree as long as I’m respectful. Ms. Fulson teaches my brain and heart. She wants me to be the best I can be, “said the student.
Dr. Jared Cotton, Headmaster of Chesapeake Public Schools, said, “We are fortunate to have teachers like Ms. Fulson in front of our students every day. Ms. Fulson is an example of the demeanor and qualities of an outstanding educator. She made a name for herself, our school department, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is and remains an inspiration to the students and staff at Chesapeake Public Schools. “
The other seven Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year 2022 – who were also honored during Thursday’s ceremony – are as follows:
- Ashley Sharell Bland, teaching technology resources teacher at John B. Cary Elementary School, Richmond, Region 1.
- Robert Dean LaFollette, science, professional, subject and maths teacher at Essex High School in Essex County (Region 3).
- Howard L. Brewer Jr., English teacher at Transition Support Resource Center-Alexandria in Fairfax County (Region 4).
- Matthew Kenneth Uselton, English teacher at Liberty High School in Bedford County (Region 5).
- Eboni Jenee Harrington, math teacher at Lucy Addison Middle School in Roanoke (Region 6).
- Ashley Duncan Cannon, health and physical education teacher at Atkins Elementary School in Smyth County (Region 7).
- Brendan Mayer Conroy, GED / Individual Student Alternative Education Program teacher at Appomattox County High School in Appomattox County (Region 8).
“We are so proud of all of our superhero teachers and everything they have done to enable students from all school departments to return to their classrooms for personal study,” said Pamela Northam.
The National Teacher of the Year 2022 will be announced at a ceremony in the White House next spring. Three past Virginia teachers – Mary V. Bicouvaris, the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year; B. Philip Bigler, Virginia Teacher of the Year 1998; and Rodney A. Robinson, Virginia Teacher of the Year 2019, was named National Teacher of the Year.
Congratulations, Ms. Fulson!
Related: Virginia ranks sixth best state for teachers