Richmond Public Schools chooses 2013 Teacher of the Year - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond Public Schools chooses 2013 Teacher of the Year

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Katherine Zopp knows how to make any subject fun for her 18 first graders at Ginter Park Elementary School. She says she simply loves teaching.

"It's always different. You never know what you are going to get," said Zopp.

The Alexandria, Virginia native has been teaching now for five years, and she says being a teacher is the perfect fit for her.

However, Zopp, who majored in psychology at James Madison University, did not always feel that way.

"It took a couple of years. The first two years were definitely a learning experience, but once I knew, it was pretty immediate," said Zopp.

It has seemed to pay off, especially last Friday night when Zopp was honored as Richmond's 2013 Teacher of the Year. She received $1000.

She is known for creating and maintaining a positive, upbeat environment in her classroom...

"A lot of the things I do in here, what I'm thinking of in the back of my head is how to create those interpersonal relationships and how to treat each other with respect and in a positive way. So, I think just the overall feeling of the classroom is dictated by the teacher, and for me, that's just to keep it positive and fun," said Zopp.

Her students certainly appreciate her efforts.

"She helps us with our writing," said Dontae Jones.

"She is always nice to us and she tells us she loves us," said Jamiyah Cromer.

She says her and her students are like a family. In fact, some of them have even called her "mom".

She hopes they remember one important lesson from her in the future.

"There are a lot of obstacles in life. I just hope that they remember that their actions are governed by them. So, whatever they choose is how their life is going to be," said Zopp.

Zopp was chosen out of 49 nominees for Richmond Public Schools' 2013 Teacher of the Year. She will now move on to the state competition, and possibly, the national competition.

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