Lucas Woods

PikeView teacher, Lucas Woods, left, is one of six finalists for WV Teacher of the Year

PRINCETON — A Mercer County music teacher is among six finalists that are now competing for the title of 2020 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, the West Virginia Department of Education announced Monday.

Finalists who were selected among 2019 County Teachers of the Year from each school district included Lucas Woods of PikeView High School near Princeton, state officials said.

“I congratulate these six extraordinary educators, and I appreciate the outstanding work they do every day for the students of West Virginia,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine said. “These teachers take a comprehensive approach in their classrooms and have dedicated their lives to educating future generations.”

Woods is a firm believer that music education is for everyone and has built a program that incorporates this philosophy, state officials said. He teaches concert band, marching band, jazz band, pep band, guitar and music appreciation to students of all skill levels. He also teaches beginning band at both Spanishburg Elementary School and Lashmeet-Matoaka Elementary School. Everything Woods does is structured around three defining principles that he refers to as ELF: Excellence, Leadership and Family. He inspires his students to be an ELF every day as they strive for greatness together.

Woods said he was surprised when he was chosen from among his peers to be the 2020 Mercer County Teacher of the Year.

“This is my seventh year teaching and my third year at PikeView High School,” Woods told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. “I started at James Monroe High School and went to Glenwood School in between.”

Woods credited music teachers Julie Kade and David Kade for inspiring him to pursue a teaching career. Seeing the way they could inspire students to learn inspired him to become a teacher, too.

West Virginia’s 2020 State Teacher of the Year will be announced on Sept. 11 during a ceremony at Embassy Suites in Charleston. The winner will represent West Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year Program.

This year’s other finalists include Alexandria Amorim, Wayne High School, Wayne County; Kara Bowles, Mountaineer Middle School, Harrison County; Clara “T.C.” Tucker-Clemons, Highlawn Elementary School, Cabell County; Aaron Fedorke, Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County; and Jennifer Schwertfeger, Cameron High School, Marshall County.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com