Mary Blaker named Wood County Teacher of the Year

PHS teacher is nominee for state award

Wood County Schools Superintendent John Flint, right, presents Parkersburg High School teacher Mary Blaker with a certificate naming her as the Wood County Schools Teacher of the Year. (Photo by Michael Erb)

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education Tuesday honored Mary Blaker as the Wood County Schools Teacher of the Year.

Blaker, an English teacher at Parkersburg High School, taught at Hamilton Middle School for four years and is now in her ninth year at PHS.

Blaker said receiving the award was both a surprise and long anticipated.

“I was shocked and humbled,” she said. “I’ve been nominated quite a few times, been through the interview process quite a few times. I guess it was bound to happen.”

Brian Raitz, chair of the School and Business Committee with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, said the nomination was changed this year.

In the past, teachers had to nominate themselves, and some of the district’s best teachers were too humble to throw their names into the ring, he said.

This year, the nominations came from teachers, students and parents.

“That request came back with 79 teachers from 111 nominations,” Raitz said. “Of those nominations, 42 actually applied and the committee interviewed seven of the applicants.”

Raitz said Blaker embodies the values of Wood County Schools.

Blaker “has been a driving force for teaching and education at PHS in the English Department,” Raitz said. “She shows dedication to the profession, a desire to reach every student in her classes, and the respect of her coworkers at PHS.”

Blaker will represent Wood County in Charleston as one of 55 West Virginia State Teacher of the Year nominees.