North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) biology teacher Leslie Fetzer of Holly Springs has been named America’s 2012 “National Online Teacher of the Year” for K-12 education by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). The 2012 SREB/iNACOL “National Online Teacher of the Year” award recognizes an outstanding online teacher for exceptional contributions to online K-12 education. The review committee selected Fetzer from online educators in public schools and state virtual schools in 26 states.
“Much has changed about how, when and where students learn so online education plays a critical role in our public schools today,” said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. “North Carolina is fortunate to have Leslie and other teachers like her working to make a difference for students in the state’s virtual classrooms.”
Fetzer started her career in the pharmaceutical industry as a medical writer before she realized she had missed her calling and became a teacher. Her first teaching job was as a chemistry, biology, and forensic science teacher for the Bolivar-Richburg Central School in Bolivar, NY. She moved to Holly Springs in 2007 and taught chemistry and biology for Holly Springs High School (Wake County Public Schools). In 2009, Fetzer joined NCVPS as a credit recovery teacher, and has been a teacher and instructional leader for the OCS Blended Learning Program since it began in 2010.
A former classroom teacher, Fetzer noted that teaching online is not what most people envision. “When I was given the opportunity to teach online, I jumped at the chance,” she said. “To really teach a student, you need to reach them on a personal level. Teaching online allows me to personalize instruction for every one of my students.”
“I can use images, word analogies, create a cartoon or animation, record a live lesson, or add audio to help them remember.” Almost daily, she said, “I get to witness students having ‘light bulb’ moments. This growth is so exciting.”
Fetzer also was the 2011 NCVPS Teacher of the Year. The NCVPS currently serves 45,000 students statewide and was recognized as the nation’s second largest virtual school in terms of enrollment in the 2010 Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning report.
Fetzer and other finalists were recognized during the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative Teaching and Learning Symposium, held March 1-2 in Atlanta, Ga. As the 2012 “National Online Teacher of the Year,” Fetzer will represent online teachers at speaking appearances, during the iNACOL Annual Meeting and she will be featured on the SREB and iNACOL websites.
For more information about the award program, visit www.sreb.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 100 charter schools serving over 1.4 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state’s public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.