Three Chesterfield County Public Schools teachers learned today that they are the district’s top Teachers of the Year for 2022-23:
“In every school and at every level, certain teachers stand out. These teachers demonstrate care and compassion, stress the importance of rigor and relationships and do the extra things necessary to help move our students toward success. They are committed to being game changers,” Superintendent Merv Daugherty wrote in letters he presented to the Teachers of the Year, along with flowers, balloons, banners and cakes during unannounced visits to surprise the teachers with their awards.
Every Chesterfield County school annually selects its Teacher of the Year. Chesterfield County Public Schools selects from those honorees an Elementary School Teacher of the Year, a Middle School Teacher of the Year and a High School Teacher of the Year, then chooses the districtwide Teacher of the Year from those three honorees. Rivera-Maysonet now moves forward to compete for Region 1 Teacher of the Year honors through the Virginia Department of Education.
Chesterfield County Teacher of the Year and Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Vivian Rivera-Maysonet of Elizabeth Scott Elementary
Vivian Rivera-Maysonet is the Spanish resource teacher at Elizabeth Scott Elementary, where she has taught since 2020. She worked as an English teacher in Puerto Rico for 19 years until Hurricane Maria hit the island, causing her family to relocate to Virginia.
Her reasons for teaching are inspiring. “Education is consequential and significant when it transcends the classroom, when it turns into an experience. If a student gets home excited to talk about what happened in class, it’s because the lesson meant something to that student, there has been a change in him or her. … That lesson was an experience and it transcended into the student’s life at home,” Rivera-Maysonet wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “As a second language acquisition teacher, I feel that this needs to happen in class. I have been able to connect with my students in ways that allow us to learn together. We have shared our customs, we have compared what makes us alike and what makes us different in a very respectful and fun environment. … I believe in educating for life, not for a test and this is why education needs to transcend.”
Rivera-Maysonet said her teaching position provides the opportunity to serve the Hispanic population in a special way while promoting the embracement of diversity among Elizabeth Scott Elementary students. “Students are more curious than ever about learning from other cultures and sharing what makes every human being special and unique, their individuality,” she wrote.
Dr. Bettina Staudt, world languages curriculum specialist for Chesterfield County Public Schools, said Rivera-Maysonet “is a phenomenal educator with great passion and love for teaching and learning. … She touches hearts, makes learning fun and contributes on a daily basis to brighten everyone’s day. Next to her creative teaching, she serves as an advocate and translator for the Hispanic community at Elizabeth Scott Elementary School. … We are so very fortunate to have her teach here in Chesterfield.”
2023 Middle School Teacher of the Year
Angela Bucek of Providence Middle
Angela Bucek is a collaborative special education teacher for sixth-grade math at Providence Middle, where she has taught since 2020.
In her Teacher of the Year application, she detailed her commitment to meeting students’ social and emotional needs as well as academic needs: “It is essential to build relationships necessary for students to be open to receive instruction and social-emotional support. These positive connections also foster the safe, nurturing environment required for students to develop key life skills they may not have the opportunity to develop elsewhere. I endeavor to create positive connections by facilitating moments inside the classroom where I can connect with all different students and learn more about them as individuals. … A student’s parent recently shared with me that, ‘I definitely see a different child now, one eager to do the work, one who sees his abilities and smiles when he achieves. The biggest excitement for the both of us is knowing he can reach his goals now, without fear and without the past struggle.’”
Michelle Meyer-Gray, Providence Middle’s coordinator of special education, said: “Angela makes teaching look easy. She is a natural leader. Her collaborative partners love working with her as she makes learning fun for her students. … Angela has an engaging classroom presence, she adds real-world learning opportunities, and is constantly looking for ways to increase her teaching skills.”
2023 High School Teacher of the Year
Gina Hackett of Bird High
Gina Hackett teaches ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade English at Bird High, where she has worked since 2005. She has chaired the school’s English Department since 2011.
An innovative teacher, Hackett believes in the power of change and public education. In her Teacher of the Year application, she wrote: “Change is where I shine brightest. Is it hard? Yes! Important? Yes! Feared? Also, yes! I think public education has a resistance to change because so many people have been through the system and feel it worked well. However, I see public education as an opportunity to embrace change — to grow as a nation — to adapt, adjust, and flourish. If we remain stagnant, we cannot meet the world where it is.”
The school system’s secondary literacy curriculum specialist, Caroline Canning, also sees Hackett as a change agent, stating: “While her accolades as a National Board Certified Teacher and an R.E.B. Award winner are nothing short of impressive, the most important part of understanding Gina as a leader can be discovered by recognizing her willingness to ‘go first.’ Going first means before asking her department to make an adjustment, she has already modeled that request in her own actions. If there is a need to sacrifice, she will always be the one to make it. … She is nothing short of a life-changing educator.”
2022-23 Teachers of the Year
Chesterfield County elementary schools
Chesterfield County middle schools
Chesterfield County high schools
Chesterfield County virtual schools