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Teachers of the Year Honored at Banquet

By Rachel Judy | October 2, 2012

Karen O'Meara
Photo by Charity Mack

After serving for four years as the assistant principal at Pembroke Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Va., Karen O'Meara '03 (Education) was recently named the National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year. This honor was given by the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESP) in conjunction with the National Association of Assistant Elementary School Principals.

O'Meara was the keynote speaker at the 14th annual Salute to Teachers, a yearly event hosted by Regent University's School of Education (SOE). This year's Salute to Teachers honored Teachers of the Year who continue to make an impact on their schools and communities. In attendance were 364 public and private Teachers of the Year from the Commonwealth of Virginia's Region II, their principals, superintendents and school board members.

"The School of Education is pleased to recognize our local Virginia Teachers of the Year," said Dr. M. Gail Derrick, interim dean of SOE. "Teachers of the Year are selected by their peers, making the recognition genuine and significant. We want to show our gratitude for their dedication, their daily work, and let them know how much we appreciate and thank them for their impact upon the life of a child."

The evening's master of ceremonies was Kristi Watts, one of the hosts of The 700 Club. Also in attendance was the Region II Teacher of the Year, Kathy Galford, from Greenbrier Middle School. Galford is one of eight finalists for the Virginia Teacher of the Year. During the banquet, she was awarded a 100 percent scholarship to SOE. The 90 Teachers of the Year who attended received a certificate for a 25 percent SOE scholarship.

After dinner at The Founders Inn and Spa, O'Meara addressed a roomful of her peers.

"To teach is to touch a life forever," O'Meara said in her Friday night address. "Each and every one of you are present tonight because you possess the talent and character traits to lead your students to fulfill their destinies and accomplish great things in their lives. You would not be sitting here tonight if you did not have courage, energy, compassion, a positive attitude, knowledge and an inspirational spirit to motivate your students and colleagues to achieve and accomplish more than they thought possible."

O'Meara is the first assistant principal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive the national recognition by VAESP.

"Over the 31 years I have been in education, I never lose sight of the fact I need to do the very best job I can to create leaders of tomorrow because these are the people who will be making decisions for me during my Golden Years," she said. "I want to ensure my future is in good hands."

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