HCPS teacher is finalist for nationwide honor

HCPS teacher is finalist for top nationwide honor
Posted on 03/17/2021
Whitney Wells-Corfield

A Hanover County Public Schools teacher is a finalist for an award regarded as the country’s top honor for math and science teachers.

Whitney Wells-Corfield, a fifth grade teacher at South Anna Elementary School, is one of four finalists from Virginia for the 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the Virginia Department of Education announced on March 10. The award recognizes educators who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable their students to be successful in those areas.

Wells-Corfield, who has taught for 15 years, including the past seven in Hanover County, was chosen as one of the state’s finalists by review committees convened by the state Education Department. 

“I am humbled and honored to be a finalist for this award,” she said. “A teacher is only as effective as the team that surrounds her and I'm grateful that I get to shine some light on the many people that constitute my team. In my eyes, I am sharing this award with my fifth grade colleagues, the ITRT at my school, my school administration, the HCPS math team, and my family. I have an incredible support network.”

The University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University alumna is being recognized for her math instruction. She was also named the 2019-20 HCPS Innovator of the Year, an award that seeks to transform learning by continuously challenging, inspiring, and engaging students using new and relevant ideas.

“Mrs. Wells-Corfield is a master fifth grade teacher and is highly deserving of being a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She is a passionate, dynamic educator with an ethic of caring and commitment to excellence,” said South Anna Elementary School Principal Alicia Cecil. “Her rigorous, innovative, and relevant learning opportunities promote critical thinking, communication, and creativity.”

She added: “It is inspiring to enter her student-centered classroom and witness her students participating in collaborative, hands-on learning experiences. It is an honor to work with her, and we are extremely proud of her and this accomplishment.”  

Winners of the awards, which were established in 1983 and are administered by the National Science Foundation, each receive a $10,000 unrestricted award from the NSF, a presidential certificate, along with a trip to the Washington, D.C., to be recognized and for professional development activities.

A national review committee will review the applications of the finalists, with an announcement from the White House on the winners expected later this year.
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