(VIENNA, Va.) – Leslie Fetzer of Holly Springs, North Carolina, an online biology teacher at North Carolina Virtual Public School, was named America’s 2012 National Online Teacher of the Year for K-12 education last night. The honor was awarded by the two nonprofit organizations that founded the program, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
The 2012 iNACOL/SREB National Online Teacher of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding online teacher for exceptional contributions to online K-12 education. The review committee selected Fetzer and two other finalists from online educators in public schools and state virtual schools in 26 states. Fetzer has taught online biology to grades 10-12 at North Carolina Virtual Public School for the past three years. A former classroom teacher, Fetzer noted that teaching online is not what most people envision.
“When I was given the opportunity to teach online, I jumped at the chance,” she said. “To really teach a student, you need to reach them on a personal level. Teaching online allows me to personalize instruction for every one of my students.”
“I can use images, word analogies, create a cartoon or animation, record a live lesson, or add audio to help them remember.” Almost daily, she said, “I get to witness students having ‘light bulb’ moments. This growth is so exciting.”
Fetzer is “completely student-centered” and “approaches online instruction with innovation and motivation,” said her chief academic officer, who nominated Fetzer for the honor. The nine-year
teaching veteran was also 2011 Teacher of the Year at North Carolina Virtual Public School, which serves 45,000 students statewide.
The award winner and finalists were recognized during the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative Teaching and Learning Symposium, held March 1-2 in Atlanta. The announcement was webcast live, courtesy of award sponsor Blackboard Collaborate. Additional sponsors include AT&T, Connections Learning, Florida Virtual School, Pearson Foundation and SAS.
iNACOL (www.inacol.org) is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership association based in the Washington, D.C., area with more than 4,000
members. iNACOL is unique in that its members represent a diverse cross-section of K-12 education from school districts, charter schools, state education agencies, nonprofit organizations, colleges, universities and research institutions, corporate entities, and other content and technology providers. iNACOL hosts the annual Virtual School Symposium (VSS): www.virtualschoolsymposium.org/.
The Southern Regional Education Board, or SREB, based in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.