Editor’s Note: This article marks the sixth Educator of the Month. The honor was created through a partnership between The Herald and Botetourt County Public Schools. Each month, educators throughout the school division have the opportunity to nominate a fellow educator for this honor. An educator, as defined for the purposes of this honor, is anyone who works in the school division and positively impacts the lives of students. Winners are selected based on who receives the most nominations. In order to be nominated, educators have to exhibit at least one of the following: support, high expectations, accountability, consistency, positivity, or grit.
Mary Boardwine, a teacher librarian at Cloverdale Elementary School, has been named the Educator of the Month for February.
She describes herself as being from both Botetourt and Bedford counties, having spent significant portions of her life in both. Both of her children graduated from Lord Botetourt High School.
“Mrs. Boardwine’s passion for learning and innovation is only exceeded by her generous spirit,” Jessica Martin, principal of Cloverdale Elementary School, said.
In total, Boardwine has been in the education field for 25 years. She has been at Cloverdale Elementary, a school of roughly 250 students, for five years. Before that, she spent 10 years at Colonial Elementary School and 10 years in Bedford County. Before becoming a librarian, she spent 10 years as a classroom teacher.
“Originally I had started on a different path— sociology. Then, I decided that I wanted to work with kids. I just wanted to be with younger children,” she explained. “I got a degree in early childhood education, then I decided that I wanted to be in library and technologies.”
She said that one of the benefits of being a librarian is that she gets to work with children from kindergarten up through the fifth grade. “That suits me well,” she said. “In one day, I can teach everything from rocks to George Washington.”
Each class at the school spends 40 minutes a week with Boardwine in the library. She also teaches intervention classes and technology coding, in addition to serving as the yearbook advisor.
“I usually have five or six things going on. It’s always very busy,” Boardwine said of what a normal day in her position looks like. “I don’t like a quiet library. I like a very active library. Learning is loud.”
When Boardwine was presented with the Educator of the Month honor last Thursday, she was taking students on a virtual tour of Mount Vernon.
As for someone who might be considering a career in education, Boardwine said, “Don’t go traditional. Teach in a way that suits the children. They don’t always learn the same. Figure out what their needs are and how they learn, then write the lesson plans.”
“Mrs. Boardwine consistently demonstrates her devotion and passion for learning and this division through her tireless efforts to seek out training and elevate the level of instruction our students receive. This summer, she sought out training to be a division level trainer in the computer science standards. She continues to train and complete coursework in the evenings and weekends,” Dr. Lisa Chen, BCPS superintendent, said. “Mrs. Boardwine is sharing all she has learned training with Code.VA with our staff and the division. She has created professional development to meet specific needs of our staff and lessons for the entire school that are engaging and embody the six ‘Cs’ that Cloverdale Elementary is so proud of! She is also sitting on the district initiative to ensure that we are using as many innovative practices as we can.”