May 20, 2014. Gina Holste, a third grade teacher at Valle Crucis School, has been named the 2014 Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7031 and by VFW District 15. The award from Post 7031 is for Watauga County while the District level award reflects her additional honor as the VFW Teacher of the Year for a six county region.
Holste received a framed certificate for each award, a $100 gift certificate from Post 7031, and a check for $100 from District 15 in recognition of her selection. Funds for these and other awards are raised by VFW members in the communities where they live.
Holste’s awards were presented to her last Thursday morning in her Valle Crucis classroom by District 15 Commander Doug Blevins and Post 7031 Commander David Gragg. Also present for the recognition were Superintendent Dr. David Fonseca, Director of Accountability and Federal Programs Dr. Wayne Eberle, Valle Crucis Principal Martha Clark, and Holste’s husband Ronny Holste and the couple’s daughter Ava.
Blevins told Holste “we really appreciate all you do for education. We have a great education system here and we can all be grateful for that. Without strong education, we would be in a lot of trouble.”
Holste responded to the award saying “I think it’s an incredible honor to be recognized by such honorable people in our community. I am grateful for what they have done and it means a lot to me.”
Holste, who is also the Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year for 2013-14, has taught in the Watauga County Schools for eight years.
In a personal statement of teaching philosophy she wrote last year, Holste stressed the importance of building strong relationships with students and of helping them “to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.” Her emphasis on teaching the whole child is reflected in her comments that “I do not teach a subject, I teach a human being who requires empathy and guidance…The greatest honor and reward I find in teaching is molding and guiding children towards being successful citizens.”
Holste completed a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in reading education at Appalachian State University. She has also completed National Board Certification, the highest professional credential available in the teaching profession. She began her teaching career at Parkway School in 2006.
Valle Crucis School serves approximately 356 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is one of eight K-8 schools in the Watauga County Schools system.