WILLIAMSBURG/JAMES CITY COUNTY — Williamsburg James City County (WJCC) Schools recognized its top teachers in the district with its “Teacher of the Year” awards, and Ellen Frackelton was named WJCC Schools’ Division-wide Teacher of the Year.
Frackelton, a teacher at Laurel Lane received recognition as a teacher of the year at the elementary level. A reading specialist, the Syracuse, New York native has been teaching for 15 years, and said she was inspired to become a teacher thanks to her own third-grade teacher, Mrs. Whirtley.
Frackelton said she always knew she wanted to become a teacher, having watched her grandmother as a teacher growing up and seeing the impact she had on her own students.
“What I love most about teaching is the relationships I get to create with students, their families, my coworkers, and the community,” Frackelton said. “Williamsburg has been my home for more than ten years, and I love the connections that I’ve created. It is a privilege to serve my community in this role.”
The top teacher at the high school level was Carrie Moore, a french teacher at Layfette. Moore has been teaching for 20 years. Originally from northern Ohio, she completed her undergraduate studies in French and international studies at Miami University of Ohio. Later, she obtained her master’s in teaching French from the University of Pittsburgh.
Moore initially worked in the business and non-profit industries, however, she wanted to be more creative in her work. She was already giving piano lessons and enjoying seeing her students develop a love for learning to play. With her passion for French, she decided to go back to school and get her teaching certification.
“My favorite memories include occasions when my French students are able to use the language while traveling in France or interacting with other French speakers,” Moore said. “When I see a student order a pastry in Paris all on their own, it warms my heart to see that my students can proudly express themselves in another language. I want to make a difference in students’ lives by developing opportunities for them to embrace a new culture and language — this is why I teach.”
Michelle Dana, a teacher at Toano, received recognition at the middle school level. She teaches USII 1865 to Present and Civics and Economics. Dana, a local who attended Williamsburg-James City County schools from kindergarten until graduation from Lafayette high school, has been teaching for the last seven years.
Throughout her time as a student, Dana said she was influenced by many of her teachers — some who are still teachers today. She added she had no single inspiration to become a teacher, but rather it was a series of little things every day that encouraged her to follow that dreams.
“As a struggling reader, learning and school did not always come easy to me,” Dana recalled. “I remember in second grade, Mrs. Hooker, reaching out to my parents worried I would fall behind in school. She helped teach me at a young age that learning was possible, with a little bit of grit and perseverance. It was in those moments throughout my education that I wanted to share with my own students.”
2023 Teachers of the Year:
- Amanda Fay, Berkley, seventh and eighth grade Social Studies
- AnnaLeah Wiggins, Norge, Art
- Caroline Finchum, Clara Byrd Baker, Multilingual Learners
- Carolyn Estes, Stonehouse, fifth grade
- Elizabeth Hoffman, J. Blaine Blayton, second grade
- Jennifer Roman, Jamestown, Earth Science, Biology, & Oceanography
- John King, Warhill, AP Human Geography
- Kathryn Tighe, D.J. Montague, second grade
- Kylee Johnson, Matthew Whaley, third grade
- Matthew Sanderson, Lois S. Hornsby, Theatre
- Patrice Lambusta, James Blair, School Librarian
- Roxane Grey, James River, first grade
- Sara Clark, Bright Beginnings, Pre-K
- William Geise, Matoaka, fifth grade
“Our teachers make a difference every day by igniting an enduring passion for learning in each of our students. Our teachers work hard every day to bring students’ dreams to life. We’re so excited to celebrate these exceptional educators,” said Williamsburg-James City County Schools Superintendent Olwen Herron.