Virginia Teacher of the Year

Virginia Teacher of the Year

Allen & Allen has been proudly sponsoring the Teacher of the Year program since 1998. This program, run by the Virginia Department of Education, recognizes the exceptional work of K-12 educators in Virginia. Teachers play a crucial role in shaping future generations by imparting knowledge and values to them. They carry an overwhelming responsibility and deserve recognition for their efforts. Allen & Allen celebrates teachers for their mission of creating a better world for all.

To learn more about the Teacher of the Year program, please visit the Virginia Department of Education’s website. You can also learn about past and present recipients of the award below.

Teacher of the Year Recipients

2025 - Avanti Yamamoto

Congratulations to Mrs. Avanta Yamamoto on being named the 2025 Virginia Teacher of the Year. Attorney Scott Fitzgerald attended the announcement to present Mrs. Yamamoto with a check as part of Allen & Allen’s sponsorship. Mrs. Yamamoto is a mathematics teacher at Atlee High School. She has been teaching for ten years, eight of which she has spent at Atlee. Thank you Mrs. Yamamoto for all you do for your students!

2024 - Jeffrey W. Keller

The Allen Law Firm honored Jeffrey W. Keller, the 2024 Virginia Teacher of the Year. He teaches history at John Handley High School in Winchester, Virginia. The awards ceremony was held at the Patrick Henry building in downtown Richmond, where attorney Irvine Reeves presented him with a check on behalf of Allen & Allen. The ceremony was followed by a reception at the governor’s executive mansion. There were toasts and speeches honoring the importance of educators in Virginia and beyond. There were refreshments and live music – a celebration worthy of the teachers it was honoring.

2023 - Fabiana Parker

2023 Teacher of the Year Fabiana Parker is an English as a second language teacher at Thornbrug Middle School in Spotsylvania County. Attorney Clayton Allen visited the school to present her with a $2,500 check and congratulate her on this accolade.

2020 - Andrea Carson Johnson

Andrea Carson Johnson, a 12th grade English teacher at Salem High School, was been selected as the 2020 Virginia Teacher of the Year. Johnson is one of eight Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year for 2020, nominated by school divisions in each of the state’s superintendent’s regions. She represents Region 6.

“I tell my students that anything worth doing is worth doing well,” said Johnson, “and teaching is perhaps the most important thing worth doing well.”

Johnson, now a veteran teacher with nearly a decade of experience, began her career at Lakeland High in Suffolk. Currently, she teaches at Salem High in Salem, where she has served as the chair of the English department since 2017. Johnson has degrees from the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University.

2015 - Jaclyn Marie Roller Ryan

Jaclyn Marie Roller Ryan received the honor of being selected as the 2015 Virginia Teacher of the Year on October 10th at an evening banquet in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Ryan is one of eight Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year for 2015. She is an agricultural education teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at Signal Knob Middle School in Shenandoah County Public Schools where she has taught for nine years. Ms. Ryan earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education from Virginia Tech and has completed graduate work at Shenandoah University and Eastern Mennonite University.

Jaclyn Ryan has brought local, state and national recognition to her school through her leadership of Signal Knob’s FFA program. The programs have received multiple awards including Number One Middle School FFA Program in the United States for the 2013-14 school year. She is President of the Virginia State FFA Leadership Camp Board of Directors and a member of the Virginia Association of Agricultural Educators. Ms. Ryan is active in her community and organizes an annual FFA Veterans Day Breakfast for over 200 people through the Strasburg American Legion Auxiliary. Focusing on her student’s achievements, she delivers presentations to the community regarding her students’ accomplishments on an annual basis.

2014 - Melissa A. Porfirio

On October 11, 2013, Ms. Porfirio was awarded the honor of 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year at an evening banquet and reception in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Porfirio was recognized with seven other outstanding 2014 Regional Teachers of the Year from across the state. She is a first-grade teacher at Crestwood Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia and has taught at Crestwood for eight years. She earned her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

Melissa Porfirio worked as an English teacher to adolescents in Seoul, Korea and as a social worker in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina before starting her career at Crestwood. She currently serves on the school division’s Adaptive Schools and Responsive Instruction Team and provides turnaround training at school staff meetings. She encourages her students to learn respect for others at a young age through volunteer charities. Ms. Porfirio exemplifies support and encouragement for her students by attending their extracurricular events such as sports games, church plays and dance recitals.

2013 - Kathryn B. Galford

Kathryn B. Galford of Chesapeake was named the 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year in an evening reception on Friday, October 12, 2012 in Richmond, VA. She was recognized along with seven other 2013 Regional Teachers of the Year from across the state. Kathryn Galford is a sixth grade English teacher at Greenbrier Middle School. She will also be Virginia’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year program by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

A veteran teacher of 23 years, she earned a bachelor’s degree in middle school education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Old Dominion University. She is currently pursuing a teaching endorsement in gifted education through the University of Virginia.

2010 - Catherine S. Webb

Catherine S. Webb was also recognized as the Virginia Region VII Teacher of the Year 2010. She is a speech language pathologist and a teacher of special education at Narrows Elementary/Middle School in Giles County Public Schools. In addition to teaching, Ms. Webb is the developer and instructor of the Giles County Autism Special Instruction Program. She is a strong community advocate, developing and opening the first licensed day-care and pre-school in her county once she recognized the need. She is a past president of the Junior Women’s Club as well as the local PTA. Over the past two years, Mrs. Webb created a countywide program to provide instructional opportunities for students with autism and a web site on autism for the school division. Her commitment to her community, the programs she developed for students with autism and their parents and her skills as a speech pathologist makes this clearly a well-deserved honor.

2009 - Stephanie Doyle

Stephanie A. Doyle was also recognized as the Virginia Region 6 Teacher of the Year 2009. She currently teaches sixth-grade United States History I at Breckinridge Middle School in Roanoke. Mrs. Doyle serves as the sixth-grade team leader and is on the school’s site-based leadership team. After mentoring a student through high school, she founded the Girls Rising Onto Womanhood (GROW) mentoring program. The goal of the GROW program is to help young girls overcome obstacles in order to succeed in school. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Doyle is involved in the National Museum of the American Indian, Organization of American Historians, Virginia Council for Social Studies and Civil War Preservation Trust.