School News

Lauren Starr is Mary Linn Fox Memorial First Year Teacher honoree

by Kate Evans

Lauren Starr, Berkeley Springs High School math teacher, was honored with the Mary Linn Fox Memorial First Year Teacher Award by the Morgan County Board of Education last month.

Award recipients are first year teachers “who instill in students a desire for the joys of learning and is a dedicated, nurturing professional.”

Starr received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in mathematics, which was her major, at Bethany College in Brooke County, West Virginia.  She minored in secondary education and German.

Lauren Starr

Starr said she was drawn to teaching since she had some really great high school teachers that helped her along the way in school personally.  Starr said she always wanted to teach as long as she could remember.

Starr said she “wanted to have a positive impact on up and coming generations through my teaching and be someone kids can feel comfortable with. My high school teachers inspired me to be that way.”

“High school is a really hard time. I wanted to be that person that helped kids get through high school and math,” Starr added.

Philosophy of teaching

Starr said that math is so much different than every other subject.  You have to be able to teach it in different ways so every student can learn it differently and teach it in the best ways so that everyone will understand it.  Everyone learns differently.

Starr said she always makes sure that everyone in her classes is included, involved and being collaborative with others.

Starr tries to make her classroom “a positive environment that’s fun, safe, inclusive environment where all types of learning can take place and all students can learn what they need to succeed.”

Starr said she is always willing to find a different way to teach math.

“Math can be polarizing.  Either you love it or hate it.  I try my best to make it engaging, with real-world applications and hands-on activities,” Starr said.

Starr currently teaches Algebra 1 for freshmen  and Algebra 2, which is mostly juniors.  She has many athletes in her classes and does a lot with sports statistics, football and  baseball.  Starr also uses real-world  examples like driving in a vehicle and accelerating and economic growth and decay.

School involvements

Starr works with Health, Sciences, Technology Academy  (HSTA) students in the program’s chapter at Berkeley Springs High School.  They do community-based research projects. Starr is currently working with five high school students.  They recently presented their projects at a community forum in Martinsburg.

Starr is also an honorary FFA (former Future Farmers of America) coach for four students that are doing the FFA equine contest.   She is helping them prepare for the contest.  Starr said she has been riding and showing horses all her life. She loves being able to share that part of her knowledge bank.

Starr also helped with the high school prom, which she said went very well.  Outside of school, she’s involved in church and has her horse Hazel to spend time with.  Starr said she likes to be outdoors and to hike and fish.  She hopes to do more of that this summer.

Honored by award

Starr said she was very grateful and very happy to be recognized with the First Year Teacher Award.  She was very surprised to receive it.

“It feels good to be recognized for all the hard work I put in this year,” she said.

Starr said she loves teaching and that her students are wonderful.

“It’s my students that I do this for-that gets me up every day to be their mentor, a sounding board, a friend,” Starr said.


Starr recommended that new teachers take time for themselves, take a day off and take care of themselves.  Things can be overwhelming.

“As long as you’re doing your best and take one day at a time, you’ll get through it,” Starr said.

Starr said she only takes on what she can handle and never takes work home.

“Home is ‘me time,’” she said.  She strives for a good work and personal life balance.

Starr is so excited to be coming back to teach at Berkeley Springs High School this fall and to be living in Morgan County.  She said that it’s been a wonderful year and is excited for what the future will bring.

Principal’s comments

“We are very thankful to have Ms. Starr at Berkeley Springs High School.  She is a hard worker and fast learner.  She cares about her students and wants the best for them.  We appreciate all of her hard work and dedication,” said Principal Mitch Nida.

About the award

The First Year Teacher Award was established in memory of Mary Linn Fox, who taught at Pleasant View Elementary for 25 years before she died in July of 2001. Fox “was not only a champion of children, but also a nurturer of new teachers.” Fox touched the lives of countless kids and “believed that each and every child was endowed with the seeds of greatness.”