Surprise and astonishment were evident on Kenyetta Vann's face as she reacted to hearing a brief description of the top educator for Norfolk Public Schools. She knew it was her when Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melinda Boone repeated her own words stating, “I truly believe that my students may never remember everything learned in my class, but they will remember that I cared about them.”
By this time, it was undeniable that she’d just won NPS’ 2019 Teacher of the Year award. Kenyetta, an eighth-grade Physical Science teacher at Norview Middle School, was also named the Middle School Teacher of the Year. She is a five-year teacher, with three years at Norview Middle School, and a basketball coach and formed a mentorship program entitled “Rescuing Our Boys” (ROB) for young boys. This top educator is a coach for the Teachers In Residence Program (TIR) through ODU. She is a graduate of Columbus State University with a B.S. in Chemistry.
Kenyetta was chosen among 54 educators vying for this coveted title. The selection was narrowed down to the top 11 teachers and then the top three teachers, one elementary, one middle and one high school. Dr. Jacqueline McCarty of Lake Taylor High School was chosen High School Teacher of the Year and Taylor Elementary School’s Karen DiDomenico was the Elementary Teacher of the Year. The top teachers received bronze awards and gift certificates from The Spirit of Norfolk Cruises, The Norfolk Waterside Marriott, The Main Hilton, The Sheraton Hotel, The Doubletree by Hilton, and Handsome Biscuit.
The top 11 teachers honored include Tynikia Johnson, Booker T. Washington High School; Dr. Jacqueline McCarty, Lake Taylor High School; Kristen McClung, Blair Middle School; Kenyetta Vann, Norview Middle School; Jaquanna Gillis, Ruffner Academy; Lindsey Pearson, Chesterfield Academy; Victoria Horton, Ingleside Elementary School; LaDonna Young, Ocean View Elementary School; Sherica Cuffee-Goings, Richard Bowling Elementary School; Valonda Turner, Southside STEM Academy at Campostella; and Karen DiDomenico, W. H. Taylor Elementary School. These honorees received brass apple awards, framed certificates, and gift bags, compliments of MacArthur Mall.
Lake Taylor High’s Art teacher Clayton Singleton entertained the honorees and guests as Master of Ceremony. The nationally-ranked Norview High School NJROTC, under the direction of 1st Sgt. Christopher Bertrand presented the colors as the Norview High String Quartet with Keara Smith, performed the National Anthem.
Guests dined on the culinary delights created by Norview High’s Culinary Arts students, under the direction of Yanina Yearwood while the All-City Jazz Ensemble with Stephen Daley performed as part of the celebration.
NPS School Board chair Dr. Noelle Gabriel gave brief remarks and school board members Tanya Bhasin, Rodney Jordan, and Christine Smith along with school officials attended this event to celebrate Norfolk’s teachers.