RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/WFXR) — On Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the winner of the 2022 Virginia Teacher of the Year outside the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

The winner might be a familiar face for families in Hampton Roads – Daphne Tamara Fulson is a second-grade teacher from Portlock Primary School in Chesapeake.

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Fulson is a bilingual second-grade teacher who received her bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University. She is currently working on her master’s degree at ODU. 

When asked, Portlock Primary School’s Principal, Leslie Russell, characterizes Fulson as a “caring, inspiring, and compassionate educator who has a natural gift for touching the lives of her students.” 

Previously, Fulson was the recipient of the Sue Lehmann Teaching and Learning Fellowship for the Rio Grande Valley Texas region in 2015 and received the Good to Transformational Teaching Fellowship in McAllen, Texas in 2017.

Before teaching in Chesapeake, she was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructor for children and adults in Perú. Shw was also the Science Fair coordinator and University Interscholastic League Creative Writing coach for a school of 830 students in Texas.

“I love Ms. Fulson because she allows me to be myself,” said one of Fulson’s students. “I get to dance in my classroom.  If I don’t understand something, I can always ask Ms. Fulson.  I can even disagree, as long as I am respectful.  Ms. Fulson teaches my brain and my heart.  She wants me to be the best I can be.”

In her fourth year at CPS, she is the chairperson for the PBIS Committee, co-chair of the Math and STEAM Committee and is the math lead and city liaison for her school, assisting with the grade-level mathematics curriculum writing.

The announcement was made on the Virginia Department of Education’s Youtube channel. You can watch the announcement on Thursday, Oct. 14 below:

The nominees for this year’s award include:

  • Ashley Sharell Bland, an instructional technology resource teacher at John B. Cary Elementary School in Richmond.
  • Daphne Tamara Fulson, a second-grade teacher at Portlock Primary School in Chesapeake.
  • Robert Dean LaFollette, a science, career and technical education, and mathematics teacher at Essex High School in Essex County.
  • Howard L. Brewer Jr., an English teacher at the Transition Support Resource Center-Alexandria in Fairfax County.
  • Matthew Kenneth Uselton, an English Teacher at Liberty High School in Bedford County.
  • Eboni Jenee Harrington, a mathematics teacher at Lucy Addison Middle School in Roanoke.
  • Ashley Duncan Cannon, a health and physical education teacher at Atkins Elementary School in Smyth County.
  • Brendan Mayer Conroy, a GED/Individual Student Alternative Education Program teacher at the Appomattox County High School in Appomattox County.

Each teacher had to submit a portfolio that highlights their accomplishments, educational philosophies, and community activities.

Correction: The on-air version of this story incorrectly identified the man Fulson was pictured with Thursday. The man is her father.