Mark Ingerson, Salem High School’s talented and highly respected World History teacher has been named the 2010 Virginia Region VI Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Department of Education. The news of Ingerson’s selection came this morning in the form of a congratulatory letter from Gov. Tim Kaine.
“It’s a real honor to represent the city on a regional level,” says Ingerson. “There are all kinds of good teachers who labor in anonymity and deserve the opportunity that I have,”
Each year the Department of Education recognizes the 8 best teachers in the state of Virginia from their respective geographic regions. There are more than 100,000 teachers in the Commonwealth, so the competition for these 8 honors is extremely intense.
“Mark Ingerson teaches a very diverse group of students and he consistently holds them to extraordinarily high expectations,” says Salem School Superintendent, Alan Seibert. “He is relentless, not about teaching, but about student learning and that is the true measure of an outstanding teacher.”
Ingerson began his classroom career at Salem High in 2000 after earning his Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech. Prior to his time in Blacksburg, he graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts with a BA in History and Political Science.
“We are very proud of Mark because he represents the very best teaching practices that Salem high school has to offer,” says John Hall, Salem High School Principal. “Students do not always come to us prepared to learn or to win, but good teachers like Mr. Ingerson know this and will help them find the path to that success.”
Winning awards is nothing new to Ingerson. In 2007, the Virginia Tech Alumni Association named him its Outstanding Recent Alumnus from the college of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and in 2006; he was one of just 91 teachers nationwide to receive the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, and honor that was accompanied by a $25,000 check.
“You have to have a rapport with students in the classroom to be successful and they have to know that you love what you are teaching and frankly, they have to know that you care about them and love them,” says Ingerson.
Ingerson is the reigning Teacher of the Year in the Salem School Division and outside the classroom he has turned the high school’s Forensics team into a juggernaut by winning four straight VHSL State Championships. Earlier this year, his 2009 team won a national championship by outpointing 49 other schools at the 36th Annual Laird Lewis National Tournament held at Myers High School in Charlotte, North Caroilna.
“As a teacher you have to remember that you are planting seeds for the future,” he says. “Teaching with a passion really draws students in, and they appreciate that.”
The 36-year-old Ingerson also spent some time in the military serving from 1992-1993 in the United States Air Force as an Aerospace Ground Equipment Manager. He also was an active member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard from 1993-1996, and during his final year of service he participated in Operation Joint Endeavor. In the summer of 1996, he was in Italy during NATO’s mission to enforce the no-fly zone over Bosnia.
Ingerson and the other regional winners will be honored at a special ceremony later this year, and at that time one of the individuals also will be named Virginia’s Teacher of the Year.