Jennifer McCall, a North Stafford High School math teacher who sees teaching as a way to help students solve problems, has been named Northern Virginia Magazine 2023 Teacher of the Year.
The entire school community found out at a Friday afternoon pep rally about McCall’s award.
Darin Baird, publisher of the magazine, Friday presented McCall with the award and a $10,000 check to recognize her efforts in helping at-risk students graduate.
As he awarded the check, students at the rally could be heard yelling, “No way!” and “Oh my god.”
Baird joked with the crowd, “Just so you know, this doesn’t make her rich, so don’t ask for loans from her.”
McCall, who joined North Stafford High School in 2012, has made it her mission to help at-risk students pass Virginia’s Algebra 1 Standards of Learning exam. The exam can be a barrier for students receiving special education or English language learner services.
“Quitting is not an option,” McCall said when interviewed as one finalists. “My goal, and pride, is to watch my students walk across the stage and graduate.”
“There is greatness in the halls of North. You are great, your teachers are great, but Ms. McCall is the greatest,” said Thomas W. Taylor, superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools, at the rally.
Students, parents, and educators nominated teachers from across NoVA for the award. A panel of 12 judges then selected McCall from among the 10 finalists for the prestigious award.
“Each of the finalists exemplified the best that teachers have to offer,” said Pete Kelly, dean of the College of Education at the University of Mary Washington, who helped judge the awards and spoke at the rally. “That one name, Jennifer McCall, rose to the top of the finalists is a powerful testament to her work.”
“Ms. McCall stood out to me for her commitment to helping students of all backgrounds achieve at their highest potential,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera, one of the judges.
Northern Virginia Community College President Anne Kress, another judge, agreed. “Ms. McCall’s dedication to ensuring all learners can and do succeed is humbling and heroic.”
“Parents and students told us about so many outstanding educators, like Ms. McCall. It was incredibly heartwarming to hear how much these teachers care about and inspire our children,” said Northern Virginia Magazine Editor Amy Ayres.
Watch as Ayres calls McCall to tell her about the honor:
Maggie Roth contributed to this story. Feature photo of Thomas W. Taylor, superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools, at the podium, addressing Jennifer McCall. Darin Baird and Amy Ayers are in the background, by Michael Butcher
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