McDowell County teacher is now a finalist in America's Favorite Teacher contest


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — A teacher who has spent the last 40 years practicing her profession at a McDowell County school is now in the running for a trip to Hawaii, $25,000 and the right to be called America's Favorite Teacher.

Cathy Jack, a special education teacher at Mount View High School, started her journey to teaching when she graduated from Welch High School in 1978. She later graduated from Concord College — now Concord University — with a business education degree and later earned her master's degree in special education from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies.

"I taught my first two years at Iaeger Elementary," Jack said Thursday. "This is 40 years now at Mount View. I just finished up 39 years as cheering coach — varsity cheerleaders — and I'm still doing that."

She is also faculty senate president and stays involved in a lot of school activities including homecoming and prom.

Jack said that a friend told her about the online America's Favorite Teacher competition, so she looked it up and decided to enter it. This first round, the Top 20, started March 25 and ended April 4.

"I got my information together, but I didn't even begin to share it until the last day of the first cut," she said. "It was there for about five hours and I ended up in the Top 20. I was Number 6. It's a process of elimination."

Jack is now approaching the quarterfinals of America's Favorite Teacher. This round will continue until May 16. The semifinals will be May 17 to 23 with the finals starting May 24 and ending on May 30.

People who want to vote for Jack can go to Voting is free, she said.

They can also go to the America's Favorite Teacher website, click Browse and go to Cathy Jack's photograph.

"Also I wanted to add that this isn't just about me — it's about representing my school — Mount View High School and representing McDowell County in a positive light," Jack said. "I am up against thousands of excellent teachers from all over the country who are a part of this competition and that's not easy."

Jack said the support she has seen from friends, former students and colleagues both in and near McDowell County has been "overwhelming."

"I don't know how to begin to thank all of the people who have shown me so much love and support for me by voting every single day. I am overwhelmed, humbled and blessed by this sea of kindness that people have shown me and I appreciate every single vote," she said. "I had no idea that I would get this far in the competition. If I stay Number 1 by next Thursday at 10 p.m. I will be in the semi-finals. But I have to end as Number 1 for this to happen. That is why I need votes every 24 hours and it's free to vote. Then voting for the finals takes place and the grand prize winner will be announced around June 7."

The winner of the America's Favorite Teacher competition will featured in a "Reader's Digest" article, receive a trip to Hawaii and $25,000.

— Contact Greg Jordan at