Cougar Nation Flag

 A new class and program for Pulaski County Public Schools have turned in some immediate positive results, as two Pulaski County High School students have been recognized as State Champions in the newly established Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow class and the Educators Rising program.


The class is Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow I, and the teacher is Mrs. Ashley Hale. The class is offered for two blocks each semester. When not working with future teachers Mrs. Hale works throughout the school system with first-year teachers to help them better function in their new environment.


“Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow I is a dual-enrolled class that provides students with knowledge and experience in the field of teaching,” Mrs. Hale said. “The students earn three college credits toward their teaching degree at the college of their choice. If they discover that teaching is not the right path for their future, they can use those credits as an elective. Having this experience now allows students to determine if teaching is the right path for their future.”


The new competitive program associated with the class is the Educators Rising program. According to their website, Educators Rising is a career and technical student organization (CTSO) with intra-curricular learning opportunities integrated into existing education and training programs. Educators Rising is a community-based movement that provides “Grow Your Own” programming through the Educators Rising Curriculum and supporting student activities. With a presence in all 50 states, chapters are provided classroom resources along with the opportunity to attend the National Conference where members, teacher leaders, and educators from around the nation come together to showcase the skills they have gained in their education and training programs.

State Champions Alexis Moran and Kadance Gravely


Mrs. Hale is also the leader for this program.


“The students were given the opportunity to attend the Educators Rising of Virginia State Conference and Competition on March 4, 2023,” Hale said. “Each student worked hard to create an interactive bulletin board to help support instruction for a particular SOL (Standard of Learning). The students presented their bulletin boards to a panel of judges and were scored on their presentation and creativity. We had two student teams, Kayleigh Buckland and Mia Whitaker, and Kadance Gravely and Alexis Moran. Competing on his own was Austin McGuire.”


The team of Kadance Gravely and Alexis Moran earned first place, the first State Championship for the school in this program. By earning first place in the competition, Gravely and Moran will now take their talents to the National competition in Orlando, Florida. Only the top two teams or finishers in each category advance to the National level of competition.

“We also want to thank two other classes who helped us with our projects,” Mrs. Hale said. “Scott Hill’s carpentry class helped us with the base of our boards. Mr. Fleshman’s auto body class spray painted the boards for us. They are amazing and will last for years to come.”


"This is the first year that we've been able to provide a completer sequence with Intro to Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow and Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow I,” Pulaski County CTE Director Megan Atkinson said. “We believe that growing this program shows a direct investment in the future educators of Pulaski County Public Schools. Interest has already grown over this school year. Due to recruitment efforts, we had to add an additional section of the Introduction class for the spring semester. As we continue to develop this program, I anticipate that we will have to add Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow II to our course offerings."


"The state conference and competition were so much fun,” Gravely said. “The 2022 Virginia Teacher of the Year, Daphne Fulson, was such an inspiration to me and my classmates."


"Loved it! The competition was so fun,” Moran commented. “My partner and I worked extremely hard on our board and we are very happy about our outcome."


"Teachers for Tomorrow is an amazing way to experience many new things and to gain confidence in yourself and your teaching," Kayleigh Buckland added.


"The state conference and competition were a good way to show how to use real life skills," Mia Whitaker said.


"I wouldn't trade the experience I have gained this year in my dream profession for anything,” Austin McGuire said. “I have met amazing people who I would do anything for. I hope to see them grow and succeed with me, as well! This class changed my life and I absolutely recommend it!"