Victoria D. de Sanchez Northern Virginia Annual Teacher of the Year Award 2005


Vera Darter
2005 Vera Darter, Prince William County Schools, Virginia

Vera Darter grew up in San José, Costa Rica in a home where school and homework were priorities. Her mother, a teacher and a principal, gave her family a love for education. She taught many children from very poor families who showed up to school with starched, clean, mended uniforms, but no shoes. And yet, these children were eager to learn and were always grateful for what was being offered to them.

After an unforgettable year in Minneapolis as an exchange student in 1964-65, Vera followed her mother’s footsteps and became a teacher, “even though I was shy and never considered myself having the confidence that my mother had.” She graduated from the Universidad de Costa Rica with a Profesorado degree in English as a Foreign Language. She then earned a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico.

A few years later, she returned to education and spent the next two years taking a number of graduate courses in second language acquisition, pedagogy and linguistics while raising her two daughters.

Vera served as Central Registration Coordinator for a series of literacy classes fairs and family-friendly events focused on learning offered to help families new to Prince William County learn about the schools and the ways they can help their children succeed.

For families that speak another language in addition to English, Central Registration’s programs provide an important bridge to the wider school community. Of her teaching career, Vera states, “I have taught in many different settings to many different students, some of them impacted by poverty, lack of previous schooling, abusive parents and by an early separation from their parents, but my teaching philosophy remains the same: every student can learn if given the opportunity. “This is an incredible honor not just for me, but especially for my students who felt that there was a reason to feel proud to be in the ESOL Program and felt as important as the mainstream children at school.”

Teaching philosophy

  • Through education, anything is possible.
  • Given the opportunity – every student can learn.


  • Student Learning and Professional Development
  • Central Registration Coordinator, Literacy Workshops

Photo Captions:
Photo 1
Vera Darter teaching parents workshop.