James River High School guidance counselor Carol Brenner was recognized as the Botetourt Kiwanis Club Educator of the Year during last week’s regular School Board meeting.
Kiwanis President Mike Parrish and Kiwanis Education Committee member Jim Bushong presented Brenner a check for $500 and the club’s Teacher of the Year Bell that she will be able to display for a year.
Parrish said Brenner was “focused on the success of her students,” an advocate for them and called her “focused” and “professional.”
JRHS Principal Jamie Talbot said Brenner “represents excellence in education.”
He cited her dedication, her interest in students and her drive as attributes she brought to James River.
“She taught me to never give up on a student…always going the extra mile,” Talbot said.
Brenner retired from a career at Leggett’s as retail manager and got into education a bit later than most teachers, she said— but not surprisingly since she comes from a family of educators.
“I had some great educator role models, especially my grandfather, Hunter Painter, who became Superintendent of Botetourt County Schools; my grandmother, Viola Painter, and my aunt, Pat Simmons,” she said, adding, “My husband, Alan, former principal of Lord Botetourt High, also had a positive influence on my career.”
Brenner taught at William Fleming High School where she transitioned from the classroom to becoming a guidance counselor. She moved to Hidden Valley High School as a counselor when it opened and from there to Read Mountain Middle School and later she became a counselor at James River when Bridget Marshall retired.
She coached girls tennis at Hidden Valley and golf at James River when John Shotwell retired, with her teams finishing as state runner-up in both sports. She has since retired from coaching.
“I enjoy advocating for students and assisting them in achieving their goals,” she said. “I am fortunate to work with the principal, Mr.Talbott, and staff at James River High.”