By WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

RALEIGH, N.C. – Leslie Fetzer, a biology teacher with the North Carolina Virtual Public School, was named America’s 2012 National Online Teacher of the Year for K-12 education on Friday.

The honor is awarded by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

“Leslie is a terrific example of the teachers in North Carolina who every day go above and beyond to motivate students, make a difference in their lives and prepare them for the global economy,” Gov. Bev Perdue said. “She also highlights how far North Carolina has moved ahead in using technology to educate our children through innovations such as our state’s Virtual Public School.”

For the past three years, Fetzer has taught online biology to grades 10-12 at North Carolina Virtual Public School. She is a former classroom teacher who emphasizes that teaching online defies what most people may envision.

“To really teach a student, you need to reach them on a personal level,” Fetzer said. “Teaching online allows me to personalize instruction for every one of my students. I can use images, word analogies, create a cartoon or animation, record a live lesson, or add audio to help them remember.”

Almost daily, she said, “I get to witness students having ‘light bulb’ moments. This growth is so exciting.”

Fetzer, a nine-year veteran of teaching, also was recognized as the 2011 Teacher of the Year at North Carolina Virtual Public School, which serves 45,000 students statewide.

Fetzer and finalists for the award were recognized during the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative Teaching and Learning Symposium earlier this month in Atlanta, Ga.

The announcement was webcast live courtesy of award sponsor Blackboard Collaborate. Additional sponsors include AT&T, Connections Learning, Florida Virtual School, Pearson Foundation and SAS.

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