O'Dell Named MCPS Teacher of the Year

Kathleen O'Dell Named MCPS Teacher of the Year
Posted on 04/12/2022

Kathleen O’Dell, math teacher at Christiansburg Middle School, was named the MCPS Teacher of the Year. O’Dell has worked for MCPS since 2007. 

O’Dell has served as the Department Chair of the CMS Math Department since 2018 and worked as both a tutor and a curriculum specialist for the Boys and Girls Club from 2016 to 2021. By examining the differences between the way she learns and how her daughter learns, O’Dell realized “that there are different ways to learn, and students can be successful if given other ways to see things.” This realization prompted O’Dell to seek out a Career Switcher program that allowed her to become a teacher through a non-traditional route. “I realized it was the opportunity I was looking for, and fifteen years later, I still love teaching,” she said.

“Ms. O’Dell is a wonderful math teacher,” said Principal Andy Hipple. “She’s caring, kind, and always works to figure out the difficulty students are having with math so she can help them overcome it. She uses real-life examples in her teaching, which is invaluable for our students.”

O’Dell believes that for middle school students, success is mainly about perception. “If children know I believe in them, it often helps them believe in themselves,” she said. However, academic success is not the only type of success. “Going to a student’s game, concert, play, or other activity lets them know that they are a priority, and they know that I care about them more than just academic performance. This builds the relationship that transfers to the classroom, so they will attempt work, and behavior may improve. I am blessed to be a link in the educational chain of students, and it is my passion to help them find their best futures.”

O’Dell was chosen from among all of the school level teachers of the year and will move on to the Regional Teacher of the Year competition.

O’Dell earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction Mathematics K-8 from Virginia Tech. 

The Teacher of the Year is selected at the end of one school year and serves as the Teacher of the Year for the following school year to mirror the state process. Kathleen O’Dell is the MCPS Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023.

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