CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – The 2023 West Virginia Teacher of the Year (TOY) Amber Nichols and West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year (SPOY) Jessica Grose received awards from program sponsors during a ceremony at the State Capitol.

The awards were presented earlier this week, on January 10, 2023.

Nichols is a kindergarten teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in Morgantown, West Virginia. She has been teaching for 21 years with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Shepherd College and a Master of Arts in Education from West Virginia University. Nichols is an active member of Eastwood Elementary School’s leadership, curriculum and behavior intervention teams and is a teacher mentor for future educators. She prides herself on creating an enriching classroom environment in which all students feel safe, loved and appreciated, setting academic and social-emotional goals for each of her students.

“I am passionate about teaching because it creates an opportunity to impact lives in a way no other profession can. My goal is to always foster a creative, inviting and welcoming atmosphere in my classroom that makes every student feel valued and pushes them to be their very best every day. Receiving the honor of 2023 West Virginia Teacher of the Year makes what I do that more fulfilling.”

West Virginia Teacher of the Year Amber Nichols

Jessica Grose is a special education aide at Hodgesville Elementary School in Buckhannon, West Virginia. She is known for serving the expanded and increasing needs of children so they may have success in school and life. Throughout 11 years of service, Grose has made lasting connections with students, making them feel important through her positive attitude and genuine personality.

“In this role, I have the privilege of serving students in many ways, and I am honored to represent service personnel at the state level. Nothing compares to being present each day to offer consistent support to my students. Serving as a special education aide is a rewarding experience and being named the 2023 West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year offers a platform to share the stories of my fellow school employees who are performing exceptional service to our students and our state.” 

West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year Jessica Grose

“Amber and Jessica are excellent representatives and ambassadors for public education. They understand the opportunities we have to positively impact children, and the role our educators and service personnel play in the lives of students and families. This will be a wonderful year for them and their involvement in several important initiatives.”

State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach

Nichols will represent West Virginia on several national platforms including the National Teacher of the Year program in Washington, D.C. this spring.

TOY and SPOY sponsors and awards include: 

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, Inc. – Use of a 2023 Toyota RAV4 LE for one year for the Teacher of the Year 
  • Horace Mann Insurance – $5,000 to the Teacher of the Year and $2,500 to the Service Personnel of the Year; $300 Donors Choose grants for the Teacher of the Year finalists
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia – $5,000 to the Teacher of the Year and $2,500 to the Service Personnel of the Year
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT WV) – $500 to the Teacher of the Year
  • West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) – $1,000 classroom grant for the Teacher of the Year
  • West Virginia School Service Personnel Association (WVSSPA) – $500 to the Service Personnel of the Year
  • West Virginia Professional Educators – $250 Amazon gift card and teacher supply gift box to the Teacher of the Year
  • Adams Hallmark – $25 gift card for the Teacher of the Year and Service Personnel of the Year finalists
  • West Virginia Lottery – $300 grant for classroom supplies for all county Teachers of the Year
  • West Virginia State Parks – A two-night stay at Chief Logan State Park for the Teacher of the Year and Service Personnel of the Year
  • Blenko Glass – West Virginia-embossed suncatchers for all county Teachers of the Year

To learn more about the TOY and SPOY recognitions, visit the website here.