2017-06-14 / Front Page

Bittorf is Teacher of the Year

by Kate Evans

Tamara Bittorf is pictured with Superintendent David Banks (right) and Gat Caperton (left) of Caperton Furniture Works, who donates rocking chairs for the Teacher of the Year and Service Personnel of the Year recipients every year. Tamara Bittorf is pictured with Superintendent David Banks (right) and Gat Caperton (left) of Caperton Furniture Works, who donates rocking chairs for the Teacher of the Year and Service Personnel of the Year recipients every year. Berkeley Springs High School English teacher Tamara Bittorf was selected as the Morgan County Schools Teacher of the Year at the June 6 Morgan County School Board meeting.

Bittorf has been teaching a total of 27 years. She’s been a fulltime English and remedial reading teacher for seventh, ninth and 11th graders and step-up administrator for Morgan County since August, 2007. She’s taught English nine and 11 at the high school for three years and taught English seven and eight and remedial reading for grades sixeight at Warm Springs Middle School before that.

Bittorf taught previously in Jefferson County Schools for 18 years, starting as a fulltime substitute teacher and then teaching seventh/ninth grade English, creative writing, gifted, theater and college prep classes from January 1990 to June 2007. She also coached track and did yearbook.

Bittorf received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in secondary education from Shepherd University and her Master’s of Arts in Reading from West Virginia University. She is certified in English/ Language Arts for grades 5-8 and 9-12, remedial reading K-12, administration and AP Language and is taking her AP Literature certification this summer.

Leadership, duties

Bittorf’s leadership roles and responsibilities have included serving as high school and middle school step-up administrator, high school Advanced Placement (AP) coordinator, staff wellness coordinator, Instructional Practices Inventory evaluator, conflict resolution instructor, presenting for Writing Across the Curriculum and content standards and organizing/being head chaperone for field trips. She is the Class of 2018 grade advisor and worked on the senior prom and the School of Hard Knocks program.

Bittorf has been a Support for Personal Learning remedial reading teacher, faculty senate president, LSIC presenter, team leader, afterschool tutoring, detention and summer school teacher and also served on the professional staff development council and calendar committee.

Bittorf and Berkeley Springs High School English teacher Rachel Hopkins are planning a trip for students to England next year.

Other interests

Bittorf raises straight Egyptian Arabian horses. Her mare took reserve champion in the 2012 Egyptian Event in Lexington, Kentucky. Bittorf is also a member of the Pyramid Society which is dedicated to keeping the original line of Egyptian Arabian horses going.

Bittorf was recently asked to help with the local Vietnam War Memorial fundraising. She served in the United States Air Force as an optometry technician and was stationed at Loring Air Force base in Maine. Bittorf is an honorably discharged disabled veteran.

Bittorf said her father inspired her to become a teacher. He’s a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a military instructor.

Her philosophy

Bittorf instills kindness, tolerance and respect in students by her personal example. Bittorf tells students to have a passion for their job.

Bittorf credits her rapport with students as the reason behind her success with great test scores.

“I love my students and I love to watch them learn,” Bittorf said.

“It’s important to be a good representative of what you want students to be with your work ethic and how you deal with people,” she said.

Bittorf said teaching is more difficult now than it was 27 years ago. The poverty rate has risen. Many students are latch key kids. Some don’t have parents at home, have grandparents caring for them or are living on their own or couch-surfing at someone’s house.

“We’re not just teacherswe are parents, guidance counselors and psychologists,” she said.

Bittorf said she was honored, shocked and amazed to receive the Teacher of the Year award. She was also a little humbled since there are a lot of good teachers in Morgan County.

Principal’s comments

Berkeley Springs High School Principal Mitchell Nida noted Bittorf’s outstanding performance in the classroom, as step-up administrator, team leader and with West Virginia General Summative Assessment testing in his nomination letter.

“In the classroom Tammy prepares engaging lesson plans that focus on a variety of teaching modalities and assessments to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn best,” Nida said.

The county Teacher of the Year receives a $1,500 certificate for materials, supplies, equipment and/or attendance at a professional meeting.

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