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After just three years in the classroom, she just won teacher of the year honors

Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 19:10:41-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Thankful for all of her hard work, Colonial Heights teachers and staff congratulated 7th-grade math teacher, Christine Van Savage for earning Division Teacher Of The Year.

"My passion, I have determined, is teaching children," Savage said.

The 58-year-old teacher with a love for making math fun, has only been teaching for three and a half years.

"We would call that career switching," Savage said.

Savage graduated with a degree in logistics from Penn State and spent more than a decade in Human Resources and store management.

"I loved the career I had," she said. "I started with Macy's in Manhattan, then I worked for Lazarus in the MidWest, then I got recruited by Target."

Savage eventually decided to leave the corporate world and work as a stay-at-home mom for her two daughters.

It was during this time she found herself often helping them with math.

Her own love for the subject stemmed all the way back to her own 7th grade teacher.

"I had that teacher in 7th grade when I didn't quite understand math, make it make sense to me and I think that's where my passion comes from," said Savage.

Three years ago, Savage completed a career switch program at Old Dominion University.

Later, at a job fair, she learned of an opening for a middle school math teacher in Colonial Heights.

"I honestly knew within 30 seconds of talking to her, the kids would relate to her very well," Colonial Heights Middle School Principal Burke George said.

"Math is not everybody's favorite and my intent is to change that by the end of the year," Savage said.

Known to sing and dance in class, Savage hopes her love for math rubs off on her students.

"Ms. Van Savage made it really fun, she makes it like really fun, she made like these cool tricks and she always just like, brightens ups the day," student Mikayla Tiller said.

"I think it makes it easier because sometimes when she sings and she dances, it always has something to do with math," student Christian Toulson added.

Savage was awarded Division Teacher of the Year honors during a surprise in-class ceremony Monday.