Spotsylvania middle school English-as-second language [ESL] teacher Fabiana Parker is the 2023 Virginia Teacher of the Year, making her Virginia’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
“Teachers play a critical role in the success of every learner and child in Virginia and Fabiana is the best of the best,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Virginia Department of Education press release. “Growing up as an ESL student, Fabiana knows firsthand the challenges her students face. She began her career as an educator as a girl teaching her grandmother to read. She has helped hundreds of students find a path to success by equipping them with the English skills necessary to prosper academically and in life.”
Parker was one of eight nominees from across Virginia, and was selected by a committee of representatives from professional associations, the business community, and the 2022 teacher of the year.
“Parker’s ethic of community service extends beyond her classroom and includes volunteering at an animal-rescue center and serving as a medical interpreter and COVID-19 contact tracer for the Virginia Department of Health,” the VDOE press release states.
“Fabiana’s story is moving and she is a wonderful role model for students and peers alike,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said. “She’s been a leader in every school division where she has taught, serving her colleagues by designing and leading professional development, writing curriculum and modeling positive relationships with homes and parents. She will be an outstanding ambassador for all of the teachers in our increasingly diverse commonwealth.”
At the Friday night awards ceremony, Parker thanked her family, husband and children for supporting her.
“They have been supporting me as a teacher for so many years, whether it was to glue and cut things for my classroom, spend their own money on materials for my classroom. It has been a journey and they have been there with me all this time.”
Parker also thanked other educators who have inspired her, including the principal at Thornburg Middle School where she works.
“They have given me the chance to work with my students and to give the best that I can. I do this for them,” she said. “I was an ESL student myself and I am so happy that I get to represent my students and represent Virginia and diversity in the Commonwealth.”
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