Memorial Elementary School kindergarten teacher Samantha Black sits next to a Memorial School marquee, saluting her selection as the 2019 recipient of the Cole Chevrolet Four Seasons Teacher of the Year award.

BSC Alumna Samantha Black Receives “Cole Chevrolet Four Seasons Teacher of the Year” Award


               Samantha Black, a kindergarten teacher at Memorial Elementary School, is the Cole Chevrolet Four Seasons Teacher of the Year’s 2019 award recipient.  The Bluefield State College School of Education graduate (class of 2013) took a few moments shortly after returning to her classroom to reflect upon the honor.

               “I wake up every day and love what I do,” she said.  “I get to be hugged 50 times a day.  When our students enter Memorial Elementary School, everyone loves them.”

               She credits the faculty in BSC’s School of Education with preparing and supporting her throughout her undergraduate years.  Dr. Terene Stiltner and Dr. Shelia Sargent-Martin have been with me throughout the process,” Black recalled.  “Each day with my students, I use so much of what I learned at Bluefield State—everything from classroom management to ‘whole brain teaching.’”

               Whole brain teaching maximizes student engagement, where teachers use game-like challenges, key words, and motivational methods while eliciting continuous spoken responses from their students, helping them learn because they are actively involved.

               After working for two years at a Mercer County Head Start program, Black was hired by the Mercer County Board of Education and began teaching a kindergarten class at Memorial Elementary in October, 2016.  “At first, I was unsure about being able to handle the challenge because the students had already been taught by substitute teachers within the first three months of the year,” she said, “but I quickly realized the children needed me.  I began using whole brain teaching and, because the kids were engaged in what we did, they began learning and changing.  It was exciting then, and every day since then it’s still exciting.”

               On October 21, Dr. Sargent-Martin and Dr. Stiltner attended the ceremony during which Black received Cole Chevrolet Four Season Teacher of Year award.  “They have encouraged me every step of the way,” she added.


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