White Sulphur Springs Elementary students filled the school cafeteria Wednesday morning for a school-wide D.A.R.E. presentation. Applause and excitement filled the room when Superintendent Sallie Dalton, Superintendent-Elect Jeff Bryant and other school officials stepped out of the crowd to make the surprise announcement that Marla Bell, an art teacher at WSS and Frankford Elementary schools, has been named the 2016-17 Greenbrier County Teacher of the Year.
“I am so shocked and so incredibly fortunate to receive this honor and to work in a school system that embraces the arts as much as ours does,” exclaimed Bell after accepting a bouquet of flowers and balloons. “This is truly amazing,” she continued.
Bell’s passion for art and her desire to introduce art to children inspired her decision to become a teacher. She said, “I love introducing my students to new and challenging concepts and learning through the arts. I am incredibly proud of them and appreciative of the feedback I receive from them and other teachers with whom I work. It feeds me and challenges me to find new ways of teaching and motivating my students to learn.”
A 2000 graduate of Greenbrier East High School, Bell earned B.A. degrees in Education and Fine Arts from Concord University. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to begin her teaching career in Greenbrier County, where she has worked as an itinerant art teacher since 2006. During her tenure, Bell has taught art at Rainelle Elementary, Crichton Elementary, Smoot Elementary, Frankford Elementary and White Sulphur Springs Elementary.
Bell was selected from a pool of remarkable candidates from schools across the county who were nominated and interviewed by a selection committee. Bell will advance for West Virginia Teacher of the Year consideration. A committee appointed by the State Superintendent evaluates all county nominees and interviews a select group of finalists before naming the 2016-17 West Virginia Teacher of the Year.
“My kids are amazing! They do really great work and none of this would be possible without them,” said Bell.