If the residents of a certain area community happened to peek out of their windows on the afternoon of April 24, they might have witnessed an unusual sight: walking briskly down the street bearing balloons and flowers were several members of the Goochland County School Division administration, including Dr. Jeremy Raley. The purpose of the visit? To surprise the school division’s Teacher of the Year, Anne Marie Hudak.
While in any other year the Teacher of the Year announcement would have been made during the annual “Evening of Excellence” awards banquet, ongoing coronavirus precautions meant that things had to be done a bit differently this time “I hope she’s home,” joked Raley as the three approached Hudak’s front door, broadcasting the entire operation was live on Facebook.
Fortunately Hudak was home, but after being informed that she had been selected as the county’s top teacher for 2020 she quickly turned the attention to her colleagues.
“There are so many wonderful teachers in Goochland, it almost feels unfair to be recognized like this,” Hudak said, adding, however, that she sincerely appreciated being selected.
Hudak, now wrapping up her fourth year as an English teacher at Goochland High School (GHS), had already been recognized as the GHS teacher of the year. And while she may not have been able to receive a congratulatory handshake or hug due to current social distancing guidelines, that didn’t stop her colleagues from letting her know how they felt about her.
One person who nominated her described Hudak as someone who can always be counted on to remain positive and calm regardless of how busy she is.
“Ms. Hudak gives her all to her job,” said another, “and brings genuine warmth and enthusiasm to the lives of her students.”
Goochland High School principal Dr. Chris Collier described hiring Hudak as one of his best decisions.
“She was my first hire,” Collier said, “and she was an absolute steal. She has been simply amazing.”
Hudak will move on to compete for the Mary Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year.
Among the other outstanding Goochland County Public Schools teachers and staff honored this year were:
-Ms. Diane O’Connell, Byrd Elementary School
-Ms. Caroline Van Ness, Goochland Elementary School
-Ms. Whitney Neiditch, Randolph Elementary School
-Ms. Alexis Lewis, Goochland Middle School
-Mr. Frank Eldridge, Lead Custodian, Byrd Elementary-Employee of the Year
-Ms. Mary Beth Geiger, Goochland Elementary-Volunteer of the Year
-Ms. Mary Frances Roll, Randolph Elementary-Elementary Rookie of the Year
-Ms. Alex Gerkin, Goochland High-Secondary Rookie of the Year
-GCPS Food Service Team-Team of the Year