Huddleston Elementary School teacher Amy Mallow said she got “quite the shock” April 24 when she was named Bedford County Public Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year during the division’s annual banquet at the Boonsboro County Club in Lynchburg.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Mallow said. “I am very honored by this.”
Mallow, a second-grade teacher, was one of three finalists nominated for the award. The other finalists were Staunton River High School teacher Leigh Ann Ellis and Otter River Elementary School teacher Terri Maass.
“When you love what you do — when you truly love your work — then you have found your place,” Mallow said. “Teaching is that for me. I can’t imagine my life, my career, being anything different.”
Mallow — a native of West Virginia — came to Bedford County Public Schools in 2006 after teaching four years at Amelon Elementary School in Amherst County. She received her undergraduate degree from Lynchburg College in 2002 and her master’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2007. Mallow is this year’s Huddleston Elementary School Teacher of the Year — which she also won in 2011 — and was named the Bedford County Public Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011.
Mallow said her passion for teaching was instilled in her by her first-grade teacher — Barbara Bias — who Mallow said had high expectations for her students.
“She often said ‘your best is just beyond your fingertips,’” Mallow said. “This has become part of my life as an educator and I share it in my classroom as I remind my own students that they can always reach a little further, do a little more, and get a little better.”
Superintendent Doug Schuch said winners of each school submit portfolios, which are judged by former Teacher of the Year winners who select three finalists. Each finalist has classroom visits where a panel of judges sees not only what the teacher submits on paper, but also how they work with students.
Schuch said Mallow is “simply amazing” as an educator.
“All of the winners from each school should be commended tonight,” Schuch said at the April 24 event. “My children had a lot of the people in this room tonight for teachers, and I can never say enough about the job they do for our learners,” Schuch said. “However, it is so great when we can recognize a teacher like Amy Mallow who inspires her students and, quite frankly, inspires the rest of us as well. I’m honored to be working in the same school division as her.”
Huddleston Elementary Principal Traci Oakes agreed.
“Amy is amazing,” Oakes said. “She cares about each of her students individually and does so much for all of the students at Huddleston Elementary.”
“She is at the center of our learning,” Oakes said. “This honor is well deserved.”