Governor Bob McDonnell congratulated Fairfax County teacher Melissa A. Porfirio for her selection as Virginia’s 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year. Porfirio teaches first grade at Crestwood Elementary School in Springfield. Her selection was announced Friday evening, Oct. 11, in Richmond.
“Melissa Porfirio epitomizes the 10s of thousands of truly outstanding teachers in Virginia’s public schools who are dedicated to the success of their students,” Governor McDonnell said. “She is a leader whose positive influence extends well beyond the walls of Crestwood Elementary.”
Fellow Crestwood teachers and her principal describe Porfirio as the heart of the Crestwood community. She serves as a mentor to new teachers and has been featured in Fairfax County Public Schools’ training videos.
Porfirio was selected from the eight Virginia 2014 Regional Teachers of the Year announced in September. Porfirio and the other regional nominees were seated together at the annual Virginia Teacher of the Year banquet Friday evening when her selection was announced by Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright.
“This is a group of dynamic and outstanding teachers,” Porfirio said. “I was so surprised when my name was called. It is such an honor to represent Virginia’s teachers.”
Porfirio will be the commonwealth's nominee in the Council of Chief State School Officers' National Teacher of the Year program.
“Melissa will be a great ambassador for Virginia’s public schools and for the teaching profession,” Wright said.
A Fairfax County teacher for eight years, Porfirio earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Catholic University and a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction from George Mason University. Prior to becoming a teacher, Porfirio was a social worker in North Carolina and Washington, D.C. and taught English in Seoul, South Korea.
Porfirio, 39, was selected as 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year after being interviewed by a committee that included representatives of professional and educational associations, the Virginia business community and 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year Kathryn B. Galford of Chesapeake.
The 2014 National Teacher of the Year will be announced next spring at a White House ceremony. Two previous Virginia teachers of the year—Mary V. Bicouvaris in 1989 and B. Philip Bigler in 1998—have gone on to become National Teachers of the Year.
As the 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year, Porfirio received a $5,000 award and a commemorative ring from the Apple Federal Credit Union Education Foundation; a $2,500 award from Richmond law firm Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen; a classroom technology package from Smart Technologies ULC; a travel package from EF Education First; educational opportunities from several public and private colleges and universities; flowers from Strange's Florist and Garden Centers; an engraved plaque from Bunkie Trinite Trophies, Inc.; a gift certificate from Crowne Plaza Hotel Richmond Downtown; a gift basket from C.F. Sauer Company; a gift from Blue Bell Creameries; and an engraved crystal apple.