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Part of Western Governors University

June 17, 2022

Northeast Spotlight

New Teacher of the Year Receives Surprise Scholarship

Elizabeth McCarthy, WGU strategic partnerships manager, surprised WGU Teachers College graduate and student Caroline Brunetti, a fourth-grade teacher at Cedar Lane Elementary School and the winner of the 2021-2022 Loudoun County Public Schools Elementary New Teacher of the Year Award, with a surprise, one-time $2,500 scholarship.

Elizabeth presented the scholarship to Caroline in front of her students as well as school Principal Robert Marple and her husband, Nick. Elizabeth said, “We are very proud of you and you will always be part of our WGU family. We are so proud of you for winning the award and for being an amazing student at WGU.”

Caroline earned her bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies (K-8) in 2021 and is currently pursuing her master of education in learning and technology. She was named Loudon County Public Schools’ New Teacher of the Year March 24. She said of the WGU surprise, “It’s my first big check!”

Holding back tears, the Ashburn, Va., teacher continued, “I would not be able to do all the great stuff without these 18 amazing and wonderful kiddos, so as much as this is my success it is also all your guys’ success.

“I know it’s a hard time for educators out there right now and people are leaving the profession. As someone who worked hard to get here, I think that it is still worth it. Sure, there are struggles but being a teacher and those 18 kids in there make all of it worth it. If teaching is your passion, don’t give up on it. It is truly my dream job.”

The whole gang

Caroline’s husband, Nick, said, “I think this shows, especially to our daughter, that if she works hard and is passionate about something, she can achieve something like this. It means a lot to us.”

Principal Robert Marple said, “When we are able to honor our teachers, that’s a joy for me. This opportunity to pay tribute to Ms. Brunetti today is just a beautiful thing.”

WGU’s Teachers College is the nation’s largest college of education by enrollment. In nearly 20 years, WGU’s Teachers College has graduated more than 50,000 educators across every state in America, including more than 1,350 in Virginia.

By providing competency-based, flexible, online degree programs, and low, flat-rate tuition, all WGU’s Teachers College students progress through their courses as soon as they demonstrate mastery. This enables them to learn while working and graduate with less debt than their peers. To learn more, visit

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