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Old Dominion University alumnus Thomas Smigiel Jr., a teacher at Norview High School in Norfolk, has been named the 2008 Virginia Teacher of the Year.

Smigiel, who graduated in 2000 with a bachelor's in education and served as the student body president, is the first Norfolk teacher to be so named in some 40 years. He will now represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the ING Foundation.

Last month, Smigiel was named one of eight Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year, an honor he also received in the 2006-2007 academic year. He was selected for the state title from among those eight regional winners during a banquet in Richmond on Friday. He was selected by a group of professional and educational associations and business community members and last year's teacher of the year. He receives $7,500 as well as technology and professional development funds for Norview High School.

According to an article in The Virginian-Pilot, Smigiel has taught, coached and advised students in extracurricular activities at Norview since 2000. He reworked his school's earth science curriculum to help boost students' pass rate on the Standards of Learning test to more than 80 percent from 49 percent. Smigiel also has taught a teen leadership class, coached tennis and led community service efforts that raised about $8,000.

This article was posted on: October 29, 2007

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