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Video: Virginia General Assembly Honors Arlington’s Wakefield High School Teacher Named Virginia Teacher of the Year


From Del. Alfonso Lopez’s office:

General Assembly honors local high school teacher named Virginia Teacher of the Year

Sen. Adam Ebbin and Del. Alfonso Lopez Congratulate Michelle Cottrell-Williams

RICHMOND — On Tuesday, February 20th, the General Assembly honored Michelle Cottrell-Williams for her accomplishment as 2018 Teacher of the Year. A social studies teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington for the past ten years, she was chosen from the eight regional winners representing all the public schools in Virginia.

Ms. Cottrell-Williams was acknowledged for her focuses on student empowerment and closing the achievement gap. At Wakefield High School, whose student body consists of pupils from over 90 different countries and speaking more than twenty-five languages, her inclusive teaching methods encourage students from different backgrounds to explore how the contours of history developed across the entire world. She was also recognized for her ability to actively engage her classes through discussion, close readings, and simulations.

Ms. Cottrell-Williams has earned the esteem of her administrators, peers, and students who all laud her passion and ability to bring history and civics into the present day. For example, while teaching a government lesson, she invited Arlington County Board candidates to speak to her class and also helped eligible students register to vote.

“I am incredibly proud that a high school teacher in the 49th District has been honored as Virginia’s 2018 Teacher of the Year,” added Delegate Lopez. “Ms. Cottrell-Williams’ hard work and dedication to her students are shining examples for other educators across the Commonwealth. This great accomplishment is a testament to the outstanding quality of our teachers at Wakefield High School and in the Arlington Public Schools system. I congratulate Ms. Cottrell-Williams on a job well done and thank her for her tireless commitment to our students and our community.”

“Ms. Cottrell Williams exemplifies the best elements of today’s (and tomorrow’s) teachers,” said Senator Ebbin. “Virginia will be better off as more and more educators follow her innovative and empathy-driven style of instruction.”


Delegate Alfonso Lopez is the whip of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus and represents the 49th District in the House of Delegates, which includes parts of South Arlington and Eastern Fairfax County. 


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