Top IWCS teachers named

Published 10:15 am Friday, April 22, 2016

William Flythe Jr. of Georgie D. Tyler Middle School has been named the 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year for Isle of Wight County Schools. The announcement for his recognition, as well as that of other instructors in the division, was made this past Monday.

There to surprise him with the news were Susan Goetz, executive director of Elementary Schools; Julia Perkins, School Board chairwoman and Windsor District representative; and of course Principal Dr. Steve Marable and Assistant Principal Jessica Harding.

Flythe said he was excited by the announcement, adding that his students remain the motivation for teaching. He’s been educating them for 22 years; six in IWCS.

“The joy on their faces when they figure a process or solve a problem — that’s what keeps me going,” he added.

Of his chosen discipline, the Suffolk native said, “I’ve always been good at math. I see the need for it and the importance for it. Like so many other things, there are many math processes that have to be done, step-by-step, like building a house.” Related to that, all things mechanical are also subjects that have long interested him. A son of the late Laverne S. and William Flythe Sr., his mother would recall times when he’d take apart and put back together things such as lawnmowers. Later the young man took on the responsibility of maintaining family vehicles. At one time in his professional career, Flythe considered studying to become mechanical engineer.

Principal Marable said of him, “He’s an outstanding person. He connects with students and gives them special respect.”

Windsor High’s Adam Shipman, who also teaches math, was not available for an interview; that will be done at a later date. Meanwhile, Principal Daniel Soderholm said, “As a math teacher, Mr. Shipman is always looking for new ways to reach our students and connect them with the curriculum. He has created tools for students to use beyond the classroom.”

Marcy Holt was named the Elementary Grade Level Teacher of the Year.

Now in her fourth year with IWCS, she is a Special Education instructor for students with multiple disabilities.

The calling to reach out to these young people began in her own student years. Holt agreed to do peer tutoring and was paired with SE pupils.

“I was terrified,” she remembered about the initial experience. “But after two weeks, I got to know them — their personalities, their interests. I fell in love with the whole program and ended up volunteering again. I knew I wanted to major in Special Education.”

Holt’s motivation is found in the children she instructs. She acknowledged there are days more challenging than others, “but the next day will be amazing. All of sudden something clicks.”

Principal Clint Walters said, “I think she’s a model teacher and making sure that her students are doing exactly what they need to be successful. She’s a great representative for the entire division.”

At Windsor Elementary, Jennifer Shaffer was named the top teacher for that school.

“I was humbled, very appreciative and surprised,” said the third-grade math instructor of her recognition. Shaffer added with a smile that the reserved parking spot for a year is a welcome gift.

“I just love the age group. They’re still very excited about schools,” she said, adding that her students have also been the motivation for 17 years.

“You see it [a lesson] click and it makes you happy. I see them engaged and wanting to learn, wanting to get it,” Shaffer said. “I try to make them involved as possible and keep them moving.”