Lalena Price Published

Our First Above and Beyond Winner Is Dancey Howes Of Hacker Valley

HACKER VALLEY, WEST VIRGINIA — Dancey Howes, an elementary school teacher from Webster County, is the first state teacher to earn West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s monthly Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes excellence and creativity in and out of the classroom.

Howes was presented the award today at Hacker Valley School in rural Webster County. WVPB Executive Director Chuck Roberts and Education Director Kelly Griffith surprised Howes with a monetary award, our signature Blenko Above and Beyond blue apple paperweight, a certificate of recognition, and a host of other special gifts made possible by the sponsorship of Advantage Technology.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for going above and beyond within my school and community. I stand among many teachers that go above and beyond daily,” Howes said.

Hacker Valley School is a 2015-16 West Virginia School of Excellence, that serves children from preschool through eighth grade. Howes teaches preschool through first grade simultaneously. Her students range in age from four to seven years old. Her classroom is activity based. She focuses on creative ways to meet the needs of her young learners.

She was nominated by a co-worker at the school.

“Singing, dancing, creativity, discovery, science, a sense of belonging and place, mathematics and literacy are woven into her classroom,” her nominator wrote. “She reaches out to families to share materials and books. This past year, she hosted ‘Family Nights,’ where she invited families for an evening meal and literacy activities. This venture was quite successful and reached over 80 percent of our school families. She understands that families must be involved as a stakeholder in children’s education to maximize learning. She guided students in a summer reading program during the pandemic… According to students in the school, ‘Ms. Dancey’ shows kindness throughout the school to all students. She shows patience, understanding, and an instinct to nurture learning. One can observe happiness and joy in her classroom. She serves as a mentor for other teachers, even in her youth. Her co-workers appreciate her expertise and help.”

WVPB’s Education Director is herself a veteran of elementary classrooms. She said Howe is clearly deserving of this honor.

“Our judges hit it out of the park on our first Above and Beyond winner,” Griffith said. “Her students and all of the faculty and staff at Hacker Valley School rallied around her in support today when we presented her award. It was incredibly touching, and it quickly became clear that Ms. Howes’s focus on the social-emotional development of her students transcends her classroom. We learned that she even personally delivered meals to her students during the pandemic lock down. That’s just one example of how she truly leads by example, showing us that a successful academic experience for children involves family, includes attention to nutrition, and focuses on the overall wellbeing of the student. Congratulations to her and her lovely school.”

Serving the entire school and rural community is her hallmark. Howes has been a basketball coach when the community could not locate one. She has volunteered with the summer feeding program, the Mountaineer Food Bank giveaway and community events such as fundraising dinners.
Howes also recently was named Webster County Teacher of the Year by the county’s Board of Education. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in early childhood and special education from Glenville State College and is working on a master’s degree in Literacy from Concord University.