News Releases

Share & Bookmark, Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Cumberland Elementary School Teacher Named 2025 Virginia Regional Teacher of the Year

Teacher recognized with the award during surprise school visit

Post Date:04/09/2024 4:28 PM

For Immediate Release: April 9, 2024

RICHMOND – Emily Wilson Overstreet, a visual arts teacher at Cumberland County Public Schools’ Cumberland Elementary School, has been named the 2025 Virginia Regional Teacher of the Year (Region 8) by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Overstreet has served as a teacher and mentor for 15 years.

“Mrs. Overstreet is a strong advocate for educators and for arts education,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons. “As an arts educator, Mrs. Overstreet taps into her students’ creativity and builds their confidence through her highly engaged, highly collaborative approach. She is an inspiration to her students and colleagues at Cumberland Elementary School, and it is honor to recognize her with this award and thank her for her invaluable contributions.”

Her greatest influence and her source of inspiration to work in education was her first teacher in life, her grandmother. At an early age, her grandmother taught her the importance of building up others, not just through words but with actions. Overstreet's grandmother imparted on her a message that she still shares to this day: the world is your canvas to accomplish your dreams.

Overstreet teaches grades pre-K-4 and believes art education plays a vital role in school engagement and culture, has the power to positively influence all, builds confidence in students, and creates a sense of community. She values providing a safe and inclusive environment where students can freely explore the process of expressing their creativity. Her teaching style allows for curiosity, personal expression, and process development. Through guidance and support, her students learn to look critically at their work, as well as the work of others.

Overstreet uses cross-curricular projects to integrate what her students are learning in social studies, music, and literature. She encourages students to use their talents to enrich the community, from creating “Buddy Benches” for district elementary schools to making artwork for local retirement communities. Overstreet also created a social media channel, Mrs. O’s Art Studio, to highlight and promote Cumberland County Public Schools’ student artwork and more.

“Let Your Imagination Take Flight,” a school-wide collaborative art project Overstreet led, was created over a two-month period and showcased in the front window at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) from October 2023-January 2024. All Cumberland Elementary students (grades pre-K-4) played a role in bringing the art installation to life, and the result was an innovative display that highlighted literacy.

Her impact on the community is felt by all. Overstreet assists with art workshops in Farmville. She is also highly involved with the LCVA—she facilitates the LCVA Photography Program for At-Risk Students, assisted in designing professional development workshops, and participates in Youth Art Month each year.

A passionate leader outside of the classroom, Overstreet is the Chair of Cumberland County Public Schools’ Art Department, Lead Resource Teacher at Cumberland Elementary School, a member of the Cumberland Elementary School Leadership Team, and has been a member of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Committee since its inception. She is also highly engaged in mentoring new teachers and serves as a practicum, partnership, and student teacher supervisor.
Overstreet was named the Cumberland County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and the Cumberland Elementary School Teacher of the Year for the 2023-2024 school year. She also received the Longwood Rotunda Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2022 as well as a Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium Teacher Award in 2021.

“Mrs. Overstreet’s unwavering commitment to fostering creativity and artistic expression in elementary students has left an indelible mark on our entire school community,” said Cumberland County Public Schools Superintendent Chip Jones. “I am confident that Mrs. Overstreet will continue to inspire and positively impact the lives of students in the years to come.”

Overstreet is a member of the Virginia Art Education Association. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in art education from Longwood University.

The announcement of Overstreet’s nomination coincided with a surprise school visit from Superintendent Coons. Overstreet and the seven other regional Teachers of the Year will join a Teacher Advisory Council, helping elevate the voices and perspectives of all Virginia teachers on VDOE’s work.

All eight Regional Teachers of the Year are nominees for the 2025 Mary V. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year Award. The final Virginia Teacher of the Year Award will be announced later this spring.


Return to full list >>