The Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education (VACTE) has named Terri Evers, a graduate of Shenandoah University’s Career Switcher program, as its 2020 Outstanding Career and Technical Education Teacher.
Evers was named as the recipient of the honor in January, after having been named the Virginia Association for Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences (VATFACS) Teacher of the Year in fall 2019.
Evers, who completed phase one of the Career Switcher program in January 2013 and phase two in 2014, teaches Early Childhood Development/Early Childhood Education I & II at the Spotsylvania Career and Technical Center in Spotsylvania County.
I feel so blessed, humbled and surprised to be awarded this honor. It is wonderful to have my hard work acknowledged in such a big way. I truly enjoy my job and love my students. I am invested in my students and their success, not only in my class, but as they enter into adulthood and a career. Since I teach Early Childhood Education to juniors and seniors in high school, I believe early childhood education is tremendously relevant in their potential future careers and as they start their own families.”
Evers was drawn to teaching after working as a realtor and broker for 18 years and earning a master’s degree in youth ministry. An economic downturn that lessened the availability of full-time youth ministry jobs led to her seeking a different line of work. After being a substitute teacher, she realized education was her calling and decided to study to be a teacher through the Career Switcher program’s Fredericksburg cohort. The Career Switcher program provides an alternate pathway into education for people who have not completed a teacher preparation curriculum but who have considerable life experiences, career achievements, and academic backgrounds that are relevant for teaching in grades 6 through 12. Shenandoah’s program is offered through its School of Education & Leadership.
She noted that Shenandoah’s Career Switcher program prepared her well for a life of teaching.
“I credit the program for my teaching being effective, even as a new teacher. The instructors had a wealth of experience that they shared with great enthusiasm. The coursework was extremely comprehensive but the classroom management segment has proved to be the most helpful to me. Teaching is relational. We need to reach each student where they are, and each child, regardless of grade, needs to feel welcome to the classroom.”
And now, as an award-winning teacher, she, like most other teachers throughout the nation, has stepped into online instruction as a result of social distancing measures instituted to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Teaching online is an adjustment, but there are so many tools out there that make it easier. I have already been meeting with my students a couple times a week on Google Hangout. There was such an abrupt end of the school year and was disheartening for my students and me. Being able to be together, even virtually, has been wonderful.”