Fabiana Parker, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Thornburg Middle School in Spotsylvania County, has been named the 2023 Virginia Teacher of the Year by Governor Glenn Youngkin. Parker was selected from a group of eight regional teachers of the year who were recognized for their excellence in teaching.
In his announcement, Governor Youngkin praised Parker for her dedication and hard work. He emphasized the importance of teachers in the success of every student, and highlighted Parker’s experience as an ESL student as an asset that has helped her understand and overcome the challenges that her students face.
“Growing up as an ESL student, Fabiana knows firsthand the challenges her students face. She began her career as an educator as a girl teaching her grandmother to read. She has helped hundreds of students find a path to success by equipping them with the English skills necessary to prosper academically and in life,” said Youngkin.
Fabiana Parker, who was clearly moved by the recognition, expressed her gratitude to her school, her principal, and most importantly, her students. As an ESL student herself, Parker understands the importance of education and the opportunities that it can provide. She is committed to helping her students overcome language barriers and find success both academically and in their personal lives.
“I would like to thank my school, my principal, and especially my students,” Parker said. “I do this for them. I was an ESL student myself and I am so happy that I get to represent the students, teachers, and diversity of the Commonwealth.”
Parker has earned praise from her colleagues and students for her leadership, passion, and commitment to education. She has served as a leader in every school division where she has taught, designing and leading professional development, writing curriculum, and modeling positive relationships with homes and parents.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow praised Parker for her dedication and community service, saying that she will be an outstanding ambassador for all of the teachers in Virginia’s increasingly diverse commonwealth.
“Fabiana’s story is moving, and she is a wonderful role model for students and peers alike. She’s been a leader in every school division where she has taught, serving her colleagues by designing and leading professional development, writing curriculum and modeling positive relationships with homes and parents. She will be an outstanding ambassador for all of the teachers in our increasingly diverse commonwealth,” Balow said.
Fabiana Parker’s recognition as the Virginia Teacher of the Year is a testament to her hard work and dedication to education. Her commitment to helping her students succeed, despite language barriers and other challenges, is an inspiration to educators and students alike. As Virginia’s nominee for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year, Parker has the opportunity to represent the best of Virginia’s teachers on a national stage, and to continue to inspire students and educators across the country.