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Val B

Seminole County

Although I come from a long line of proud educators, I was convinced that I never wanted to be a teacher. I graduated with a degree in journalism and served as a newspaper reporter, but felt like I was missing something. Taking a chance, I took a graduate course in education in 2003, fell in love with the profession, and never looked back. In 2013, I was named Teacher of the Year for Seminole County Public Schools and joined the ECET2 and Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) networks. Through these experiences I finally began to describe myself as a teacher-leader and no longer “just” a classroom teacher. As a result, I founded the Seminole County Diversity in Education Coalition, organizing educators dedicated to the recruitment and retention of teachers of color and closing the achievement gap. In my current role, I oversee my district's training program for instructional coaches. In April 2015, I was recognized by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.