Teresa Dove, a Virginia resident who teaches math online for Florida Virtual School, received the first National Online Teacher of the Year Award for K-12 education last night.

The 2010 National Online Teacher of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding online teacher for exceptional contributions to online K-12 education. The two education nonprofit organizations founding the award program are the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). The judging committee selected Dove and two other finalists from more than 50 nominations of online educators in public schools and state virtual schools in 24 states.

For the past four years, Dove has been an online mathematics/Algebra II teacher for grades 6-12 and a schoolhouse Literacy Coordinator at Florida Virtual School, which serves more than 125,000 students and employs more than 1,100 educators. A resident of North Tazewell, Virginia, she is a mentor, a member of the Reading Leadership Team, and was the first Algebra II teacher at Florida Virtual to create a Model Literacy Classroom.

Dove said after receiving the award that teaching online allows her to spend much more time working individually with students than she did previously in a traditional classroom. Spending only a moment with students in a traditional classroom is “not enough, and our kids deserve better,” she said. It also has allowed her to care for two young children at home and to teach even while caring for her mother in the hospital.

The award winner and two other finalists were recognized during a dinner on September 8 during SREB’s joint annual meeting of its Educational Technology Cooperative and Electronic Campus state representatives.

“These teachers have risen to the top of the online teaching field and are making strong contributions to creating a 21st century learning experience for every one of their students. We are grateful to them, and we hope this award captures the spirit of recognizing excellence in student-centered teaching which marks the online learning community,” said Susan Patrick, president of iNACOL.

“Teachers are the common denominator of instructional quality, whether in the classroom or online. As Web-based learning continues to expand, SREB and iNACOL are proud to honor Teresa Dove and the two other finalists as outstanding K-12 online teachers of America’s students,” said Myk Garn, the director of the Cooperative.

Dove received an art glass sculpture designed by Hans Frabel and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Virtual School Symposium hosted by iNACOL, November 14-16 in Glendale, Arizona, where she will be recognized during the iNACOL Annual Meeting. She also will be featured on the SREB and iNACOL websites. The two other finalists received special plaques and other honors. Sponsors of the award include Aventa Learning, Florida Virtual Schools Global Services and the Pearson Foundation.

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