2022-23 Beginning Teacher of the Year

John M. Gandy Elementary School Teacher Honored as Beginning Teacher of the Year
Posted on 05/19/2023
Hannah Kinser and Dr. Michael GillHannah Kinser, a third grade teacher at John M. Gandy Elementary School (JGES), has been named the 2022-23 Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS) Beginning Teacher of the Year.

“It is such an honor! It truly has shown me that hard work really does pay off. I am not good at talking about myself, but I can recognize that I do much more than teach the Standards of Learning,” said Ms. Kinser, a Virginia Commonwealth University alumna. “I try to put 100% into the relationships with my students and their families. This along with making learning fun, engaging, and equitable can be exhausting. Being recognized makes all the hard work feel worth it and like I am making a difference!”

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, made the announcement on Thursday, May 11 at a JGES staff meeting, surprising Ms. Kinser, an HCPS alumna, in front of her family, co-workers, and even Amy Williams, a former HCPS principal who taught Ms. Kinser when she was in elementary school and helped inspire her to become a teacher.

“It has been so rewarding to be able to work in the county I grew up in. I went to school in Mechanicsville and was always volunteering on that side of the county,” she said. “Getting my job at Gandy has allowed me to become familiar with the western side of Hanover and I have loved it. Being able to give back to the community in any way makes me happy, but especially being able to do so in my classroom!”

Ms. Kinser said her first year of teaching has been “extremely rewarding.”

“I have had many unique experiences in my short period of time teaching, but I am grateful for each one because it has only made me a stronger educator. My favorite moment was actually this week. I have made it a tradition to make a video to a special song with pictures of my students from the beginning of the year to the end,” she said. “I began organizing my file this week as the end of the year is approaching and it really made me reflect. They have grown so much alongside me, and we have both taught each other many things. I feel lucky to have been my class’s teacher this year and for my experiences from my half year in the classroom last year!”

JGES Principal Leigh Finch said Ms. Kinser is a “natural educator.”

“She develops relationships with students and all other stakeholders including parents, support staff, instructional coaches, and siblings! Through these relationships she is able to reach every single student she teaches,” Mrs. Finch said. “Ms. Kinser excels equally at meeting her students’ needs – both academically and emotionally. Ms. Kinser reflects on every lesson she delivers and constantly seeks to improve her teaching. We are grateful to have her as part of the Gandy family!”

Each year, HCPS selects one new teacher for this distinguished award who exhibits several qualities, such as: being inspirational, poised, articulate, and knowledgeable; exceptionally skilled and dedicated; respected and admired by students, parents, and colleagues; and actively and meaningfully involved in their school and community.
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