A Spanish teacher in Virginia Beach has a chance to bag a state title

Rachel Thompson, Spanish teacher at Princess Anne High School was just named Region 2 teacher of the year. (Southside Daily/courtesy of Virginia Beach City Public Schools)
Rachel Thompson, Spanish teacher at Princess Anne High School was just named Region 2 teacher of the year. (Southside Daily/courtesy of Virginia Beach City Public Schools)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Rachel Thompson, a Spanish teacher at Princess Anne High School, was named the Virginia Department of Education‘s 2020 Region 2 Teacher of the Year.

Region 2 includes all of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore, officials said in a news release.

Thompson is one of eight educators now competing for the state title of Teacher of the Year, officials added.

The 2020 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be chosen in October.

Thompson has been teaching for 15 years, all with the city’s schools. She was also named the 2020 Virginia Beach City Public School Citywide Teacher of the year.

“Mrs. Thompson is the embodiment of our division’s relentless mission to provide our students with the best learning experiences possible. She is one of the most enthusiastic, caring and inclusive teachers I know, and her love for teaching and for children is infectious,” said Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence. “Moreover, she’s an expert in her field, crafting and shaping the classroom experience like an artist and in a way that others can clearly learn from. We’re incredibly proud that she’ll continue to represent the best of our amazing teachers both from Virginia Beach and all across the Hampton Roads region.”

After graduating from Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Philology and English Literature, Thompson returned to the United States without knowing what her future held; until a former teacher asked her to substitute teach, officials said.

“I was hooked,” Thompson wrote in her VBCPS Citywide Teacher of the Year application. “I learned to teach, and by the end of the year, those children were not just students, they were my students. My students are mine for life. I’m their reference for their first jobs. I attend their weddings and meet their babies. They’re the best part of the job.”

Thompson has since earned her master’s degree in writing with a focus in translation from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She said she plans to pursue a second master’s degree in Spanish language and culture at the Universidad de Granada in Spain.

In addition to her hours in the classroom, Thompson devotes her time to support the school’s Model U.N. team and Operation Smile club, sponsors the PAHS Gay-Straight Alliance, serves as co-chair of the School Planning Council and helps as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking parents during division events.

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