Highland Springs High School English teacher chosen as teacher of the year for Central Virginia

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Greenlee Naughton - Teacher of the Year for Central VirginiaGreenlee Naughton’s accolades keep growing. The Highland Springs High School English teacher was named Monday as one of Virginia’s eight 2018 regional teachers of the year.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe surprised Naughton Monday morning with an announcement at a school assembly that had been billed as a celebration of Highland Springs’ second straight year of full accreditation. In May Henrico County Public Schools named Naughton its top teacher for 2017.

One of the eight regional winners will be selected as the commonwealth’s 2018 teacher of the year, an honor that will be announced Sept. 18 in a ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Naughton was selected as the winner for Region 1, which stretches from Goochland to Sussex and includes 15 counties and cities. The 2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be the commonwealth’s nominee in the National Teacher of the Year awards.

Greenlee Naughton with Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Highland Springs High School English teacher Greenlee Naughton is congratulated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a surprise announcement Monday at the school.

“It was a complete and utter shock,” Naughton said after the announcement.

“Both my parents were teachers. I tell people I ignored it for many years and went into a different field. When I was home on maternity leave the shootings at Columbine High School happened. It’s interesting that today is 9/11, because I know there were a number of people who joined the military after 9/11 and I’ve kind of likened that to my situation with Columbine. I remember watching the coverage and thinking, ‘I really should be a teacher.’

“This is the pinnacle of my career – to be recognized for something I chose to do later in my life. I couldn’t be happier or prouder of my students and what they accomplish, which is the ultimate goal as a teacher.”

Naughton is originally from Suffolk and is an alumna of Randolph-Macon College. She received her master’s degree from the University of Richmond and her doctorate from VCU. Before joining the Highland Springs faculty in 2014, she taught at Hanover High School for eight years and for six years at schools in Charlotte, N.C. In 2012, she won an REB Award for Teaching Excellence from the Community Foundation.

Highland Springs High School English teacher Greenlee Naughton poses with Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a group of state, county and school division officials Monday at the school.

Highland Springs High School English teacher Greenlee Naughton poses with Gov. Terry McAuliffe and a group of state, county and school division officials Monday at the school.

A panel reviewed nominees’ portfolios and selected the eight regional teachers of the year. The panel included classroom teachers, representatives of professional and educational associations, representatives from the business community and 2017 Virginia Teacher of the Year Toney McNair Jr. of Chesapeake’s Indian River Middle School. The same panel will interview each of the eight regional teachers to select the 2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year.