NEW CUMBERLAND - Lynn Elliott confessed to being "very surprised" Monday night at being chosen the 2014 Hancock County Teacher of the Year.
What was never in doubt was her chosen profession.
"I don't remember ever wanting to be anything other than a teacher," she said.
TOP TEACHER — Oak Glen Middle School Spanish teacher Lynn Elliott receives the 2014 Hancock County Teacher of the Year award from school board President Jerry Durante at Monday night’s school board meeting. -- Stephen Huba
Elliott, 25, a Spanish teacher at Oak Glen Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year from among nine nominees ranging in experience from her four years to 40 years.
"I'm a young teacher. I don't think I do anything particularly amazing," she said. "There are teachers a lot more experienced than me who deserve this."
Asked what she likes about teaching, Elliot said, "Everything. I really like middle school. They're the best ages in the world to work with." She said she especially appreciates her students' sense of humor and their openness to new things.
A graduate of South Side High School in Hookstown, Pa., Elliott earned her bachelor's degree in English literature, Spanish and secondary education from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. She earned her master's in applied linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Elliott has studied and/or traveled in eight Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain, Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina, Costa Rica and Panama. She taught English in Peru.
Elliott will compete for similar honors at the state level this summer.
Superintendent Suzan Smith praised all nine nominees as equally deserving of the title, Teacher of the Year.
"They are truly passionate for their work," she said.
The other nominees were:
Erin McConnachie of Allison Elementary School in Chester;
Jennifer Sanner of Broadview Elementary School in Weirton;
Janna Lamantia of Liberty Elementary School in Weirton;
Ashley Pietrangelo of Weirton Heights Elementary School;
Breanne Wilkerson of Weir Middle School;
Diane Bowers of Oak Glen High School;
Edward Samoraj of Weir High School; and
Sonya Byers of the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center.
All the nominees first won the Teacher of the Year title for their school. They were then evaluated for Hancock County honors by a six-member selection committee.
(Huba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)