Smyth teacher Sarah Deel

Smyth County’s 2019-20 Teacher of the Year is Sarah Deel, a science teacher at Marion Senior High School. Here she teaches her students about varieties of fish.

Sarah Deel is sharing her love of science and the outdoors with her students at Marion Senior High School.

Deel’s efforts have earned her the title of Smyth County Teacher of the Year for 2019-20.

In her fifth year at MSHS, Deel said she has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember.

“My high school teachers made a big impact on my life and I hope to make a positive impact on the lives of my students,” she said. “Biology is my passion. I love being outside and enjoying nature. Teaching biology allows me to share that passion.”

Born in Richlands and raised in Abingdon, Deel earned an associate’s degree in education at Virginia Highlands Community College, and a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in education from Virginia Tech.

“The best thing about teaching is inspiring students and fostering their natural curiosity,” Deel said. “I love seeing ‘light bulbs’ come on as a student develops an understanding for a new topic.”

She said the most challenging thing about teaching is not being able to inspire or reach every student.

“It is difficult to see a student with so much potential become apathetic,” Deel said. “I try my best to motivate and inspire all students. It is important to me that my students succeed not only in my class, but also in their futures.”

“I hope to inspire my students to work hard, be involved, and follow their dreams. I want them to become lifelong learners and see that science is everywhere!”

On advising a student interested in a teaching career, Deel said, “I would advise a student… not to give up. I would tell them to work hard, but not to forget to take time to relax. I would encourage them to never stop being a student themselves.”

“I would also let them know how incredibly rewarding teaching can be,” she said. “I truly enjoy what I do.”

Deel was surprised in her classroom on April 23 by officials coming to congratulate her on being named the county’s teacher of the year for next school year.

“I feel honored and humbled to be named Smyth County Teacher of the Year,” she said. “I represent so many amazing teachers at MSHS.”

Deel will represent Smyth County in the competition for the Region 7 Teacher of the Year.

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