Marianne Veitch was in a virtual faculty meeting when one of her kids noticed “people” in their front yard putting up signs.
“I’m in a meeting,” Veitch told her daughter, trying to stay focused. Little did she know that the signs spelled out “Teacher of the Year” in bold green letters.
“I’m not very often speechless, but I was speechless,” the Hanover High School math teacher recalled. Along with the signs, Superintendent Michael Gill and Hanover High’s principal, Kristina Reece, joined her on the front lawn. Veitch’s husband had been in on last week’s surprise.
“Mrs. Veitch is one of a kind. She exhibits all that you want in a teacher, a colleague and a friend,” Reece said. “She is the teacher that you want every student to have and learn from. She is a gift to our students, our school and the entire HCPS community.”
Veitch has been a math teacher since she began teaching in August 2006. When she was in high school, her Advanced Placement calculus teacher observed how well she tutored her classmates on the material and suggested she be a teacher. But Veitch wanted to be an architect at the time. She realized her passion for math while studying in Europe.
“We were visiting all these beautiful places in Europe, and I realized I started to notice a lot more of the mathematics in the buildings,” she said. She worked for an architecture firm in Atlanta, but she just couldn’t find the passion for it. That’s when she decided to attend the University of Georgia, where she obtained a master’s in math education.
She loves every minute of teaching. “I love to watch each student achieve success,” Veitch said. “I think everyone has the capability to achieve success. Watching that happen is magical. My favorite part about teaching math is helping kids see that it’s not just a collection of formulas.”
Veitch has remained in virtual contact with her students during the coronavirus pandemic, but at times this new normal has been challenging, she said.
Right before COVID-19 shuttered schools in Virginia, Veitch was helping Hanover develop a new math curriculum. Her focus shifted to her students and their well-being, and to preparing them for virtual AP exams.
Usually the tests are 30 minutes, multiple choice and taken in person. With large gatherings now discouraged, the format changed. Instead of multiple choice questions, there are free answer questions and the test is 45 minutes.
For Veitch, preparing the students for a new format of the exam is a daunting task. “How do I get 75 students ready for an exam that I’ve never seen before?” she said. “Honestly, at the end of the day, I don’t want to let them down.”
School leaders know Veitch is up to the task. She says she’s lucky to work for the Hanover school system. “I’m incredibly honored to be in Hanover County. I work with exceptional educators, and I’m inspired by them,” she said. “I chose to raise my family here in Hanover, so we’re just really grateful for all that the school system has done for us.”