Autumn Meadows Published

Vickie Hensley Honored With West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Above And Beyond Award

A middle age woman with brown hair smiles for the camera. She wears a black blouse and light colored slacks. She has a lanyard around her neck. She stands in a classroom and holds a blue Blenko glass paperweight shaped like an apple.
Vickie Hensley is WVPB's April 2024 Above and Beyond winner.
Autumn Meadows/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Vickie Hensley, a U.S. History teacher at George Washington High School in Kanawha County, earned West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Above and Beyond Award for April 2024, which recognizes excellence and creativity of Mountain State teachers.

Hensley was presented the award by WVPB’s Education team with a surprise visit to her classroom. She received a monetary award and a signature Blenko Glass blue apple paperweight. The West Virginia State Treasurers’ Office sponsors the award, presenter of the SMART529 college savings program in the Mountain State.

Hensley was nominated by several of her students who expressed their gratitude for her teaching strategies, passion for the subject and inclusive and stimulating classroom atmosphere.

One student nominee, Ameera Mustafa, said, “Another amazing aspect of Mrs. Hensley’s teaching is her use of creativity is assignments. It’s especially easy for History to become a boring subject, but I remember multiple times where I had fun doing classwork or homework. Most of all, knowing it was Mrs. Hensley who was grading it pushed me to try my best. Knowing how much passion she has for teaching encouraged me to improve as a student. She is one of the kindest and genuine individuals I, and many of my peers, have ever met.”

Twenty-four people are seen in a group photo in a classroom. Two adults and 22 teenagers. They are all dressed casually and comfortably. In the center of the group are the two adults - a middle age woman with brown hair wearing a black blouse and light colored slacks. Behind her is the second adult, a man, with white hair. He smiles and points to the woman next to him.
Pictured are several of Vickie Hensley’s students. Hensley (center) is WVPB’s April 2024 Above and Beyond winner. Next to her (left) is George Washington High School Principal Jim Crawford. On the far right of the photo (front) is Ameera Mustafa, who was one of the student’s who nominated Hensley for the award. Mustafa was also one of WVPB’s student journalists during the 2024 season of The Legislature Today.

Photo Credit: Autumn Meadows/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hensley has been teaching for 23 years, and she loves engaging the students. She said she creates an environment where the students know they are important. She said, “They are 100% the reason why I am there, and while they are in my classroom, the world really does revolve around them.” She also enjoys when students ask the hard questions and she has to tell them she’ll have to get back to them and model that learning is a lifelong process.

One of her favorite concepts to teach in the classroom is the Constitution Era. Hensley said she loves to see students connect this living document to their every day lives. “That’s why students always get their own copy of their ‘handy-dandy pocket constitution’ to use in class.”

Hensley also uses a civics program called Project Citizen in the classroom. The program is designed to help students learn about issues within their community and then create a potential policy and plan to implement the policy. “We have looked at everything from expanding school curriculum, therapy dogs in high schools to community drug intervention teams.”

In addition to the classroom, Hensley is also a co-advisor for the George Washington National Honor Society and a teacher with WV Learns, the online platform for students in West Virginia. The National Honor Society students focus on leadership and focus. “I am very proud of how active our students are in our school chapter.”

Mustafa finished the nomination with, “Mrs. Hensley’s approach to education and community involvement truly makes a positive impact on both students and the community at large.”

Each month, WVPB has an esteemed panel of judges that select one deserving teacher who goes above and beyond for the students in West Virginia. If you know of a deserving teacher who goes “Above and Beyond,” please click here to nominate them.