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Local Teachers Finalists for West Virginia Teacher of the Year

WHEELING — Two Northern Panhandle teachers are among the six finalists to be this year’s state Teacher of the Year.

Aaron Fedorke, a career technical education teacher at Wheeling Park High School, and Jennifer Schwertfeger, a science teacher at Cameron High School, will compete for the honor.

Other teachers selected as finalists are: Alexandria Amorim, a mathematics and engineering teacher at Wayne High School in Wayne; Kara Bowle, a special education teacher at Mountaineer Middle School in Clarksburg; Clara “T.C” Tucker-Clemons, a fourth grade teacher at Highlawn Elementary School in Huntington; and Lucas Woods, a music teacher at PikeView High School in Princeton.

The winner will be announced during a ceremony on Sept. 11 in Charleston, and go on to represent West Virginia at the National Teacher of the Year program — to be scheduled in the spring of 2020.

“I congratulate these six extraordinary educators, and I appreciate the outstanding work they do every day for the students of West Virginia,” said Steven Paine, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools. “These teachers take a comprehensive approach in their classrooms and have dedicated their lives to educating future generations.”

According to information provided by the West Virginia Department of Education, Fedorke’s students focus on pre-engineering, engineering design, computer integrated manufacturing and machine tool technology. A 28-year veteran journeyman, Fedorke left a successful career in the private sector to fulfill his high school dream of becoming an educator. He proudly “declared war” on insufficient funding for updating equipment and wrote numerous grants resulting in more than $60,000 to provide his students all the benefits of cutting-edge technology

Fedorke is an advocate for CTE’s role in creating a skilled workforce, and believes that West Virginia students are the state’s most valuable resource, according to the WVDE.

Courses taught by Schwertfeger include biology, human anatomy, AP biology and physics. She believes that all students can achieve and feels it is her role as an educator to tailor content to ensure they do. She promotes the importance for students to recognize their connection to science starting on a personal level and broadening their scope of understanding to their community and world, the WVDE states.

Schwertfeger also supports her colleagues and new teachers as a Marshall County teacher leader, new teacher mentor and a cooperating teacher for future educators, according to the WVDE. Schwertfeger currently is seeking her National Board Certification.

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