Local teacher named Virginia’s Teacher of the Year

Harrington among eight other Region 6 statewide winners
Eboni Harrington, Virginia Teacher of the Year

Courtesy of RCPS

Eboni Harrington, a 7th grade math teacher at Lucy Addison Middle School, has been named “Region 6 Teacher of the Year” by the Virginia Department of Education. Harrington, is among eight regional winners across the Commonwealth. The news was delivered by a special guest: NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr.

“I understand you are quite an inspiration to the students you teach,” Johnson said. “I remember teachers who made an impact on my life. They believed in me when it might not have been easy, and they inspired me to dream big. It sounds like you are that teacher for your students. I’m so excited to be here today to announce that you have been named Virginia’s Region 6 Teacher of the Year!”

Johnson owns SodexoMAGIC, Roanoke City Public Schools’ food services vendor. Superintendent White approached Johnson after brainstorming ways to make the announcement as special as possible, and he graciously agreed to make a live announcement via Zoom.

“All the things — the man that I am, the basketball player I was and the businessman I am today, and the father, and husband, etc is because of the direct impact of teachers like yourself,” Johnson told Harrington. “So thank you for being the most amazing teacher, and congratulations.”

Educators–from left: City School Superintendent Verletta White celebrating with Eboni Harrington holding computer that featured NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr., who saluted her. Also pictured is Anthony Swann, another chosen as Virginia Teacher of the Year. – Photos courtesy Roanoke City Schools Schools

To maintain the surprise, Harrington was told she needed to teach her afternoon class in the Lucy Addison auditorium due to maintenance in her classroom. Superintendent Verletta White, Roanoke School Board Chair Lutheria Smith, Principal Jonathan Rosser, 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year Anthony Swann — also a fellow Region 6 teacher — and members of RCPS’ Executive Team entered the auditorium under the guise of a routine school tour.

After chatting with Harrington’s class for a few minutes, the group began to leave only to have “forgotten” about a special guest joining virtually. On the auditorium’s projector screen, Johnson’s face suddenly appeared. Upon hearing the news, Harrington lifted her hands to her face in disbelief as her students cheered.

“There are so many amazing teachers throughout the 15 school divisions in Western Virginia that make up Region 6. This speaks to the heart, the passion, the dedication, and the commitment that you put into your work,” Superintendent White said. “We are proud of you and today we celebrate you!”

Harrington has taught at Lucy Addison Middle School for the past five years. Prior to that, she taught for two years at a charter school in North Carolina. A native of Roanoke, she attended Roanoke City Public Schools until 4th grade and credits her family for becoming a teacher.

“As the oldest of eight, I always find myself teaching and learning from my siblings daily,” Harrington previously said. “I aspire to be a great role model for my siblings by modeling resilience, confidence, and perseverance. I developed these characteristics by observing my mother advocate for my brother during a difficult period during his senior year. His privileges to graduate had been revoked and she fought effortlessly to reinstate his rights to walk. Watching her fight for my brother ignited something in me that reassured my career choice to become a teacher.”

Harrington is a leader in her school as well as the community. She is passionate about her mission to, “empower, encourage, and uplift our youth through mentorship, community engagement activities, and education. Through this platform I hope to inspire our youth to believe in their aspirations and pull from the resources around them.”

A statewide panel reviewed portfolios of candidates from each school division to select the regional teachers. The panel will next interview the finalists and select the 2022 Virginia Teacher of the Year, who will be the state’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.

For two consecutive years, Region 6 teachers have gone on to become Virginia Teacher of the Year: Swann for 2021 and Andrea Johnson of Salem for 2020.

For one of the coolest viewing experiences ever, log on to Eboni’s amazing video “W.A.P.— Work And Progress (Virtual Teaching)” where Harrington is joined by students performing a sensational routine with a message guaranteed to inspire.