Originally published Jan. 19, 2018 in the Exponent Telegram.

By Victoria L. Cann

LOST CREEK — South Harrison High School has been represented well by Felicia Pancoast, who has received the honor of being named the 2017 Health Educator of the Year by the West Virginia Association of Health and Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

The educator is identified as having best made significant contributions to the profession in the areas of teaching, research and services.

Pancoast has spent her entire 12-year career at South Harrison High School, where she teaches both health and physical education.

“What I enjoy about teaching is first of all that it keeps me young,” she said. “I stay with a bunch of kids, and I know high school was some of the best times I ever had. I like telling them the things I’ve done and mistakes I’ve made so they can learn.”


Felicia Pancoast works closely with students both inside and outside the classroom to help them learn life lessons.

She was shocked to learn that she was the recipient of the award. Pancoast is both honored and grateful.

“It was a surprise. In my early journey, I thought I was not as good as other teachers, but I just kept every year trying to be a better teacher,” she said. “The staff I work with is top-notch, and they made me a better teacher.”

To be a good teacher, Pancoast said people have to have a passion and love for the profession.

She said without loving teaching or the kids, it’s not possible to be happy.

“You really have to be willing to give a lot to it, extra hours outside of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for different things,” she said. “I’ve always liked PE and wanted to be a PE teacher since eighth grade.”

Pancoast loves what she does and always has. She said this is something she could do forever, especially since the kids give back as much as she gives to them.

South Harrison Principal Dr. Greg Moore said along with teaching, Pancoast has coached the girls track team for several years.

“As a teacher, Felicia’s greatest strength is measuring a student’s needs and capabilities and tailoring her instruction to build that student’s knowledge and capabilities,” he said. “She is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure student success —questions are never about what is easy or convenient, but about what the student needs.”

Moore is glad to see Pancoast receive recognition for all of her hard work in taking care of the students.

PancoastSuperintendent Dr. Mark Manchin is pleased for Pancoast’s award. Over the last several years, Harrison County teachers are standing out and winning state-wide awards.

“What Felicia has accomplished makes us all proud,” he said. “The hard work and dedication it takes to be recognized, she showed that.”

Manchin said they will continue to support the work Pancoast does for her students and school. It’s an honor to have another teacher to be so highly recognized.

Josh Grant, West Virginia Department of Education health and physical education coordinator, said Pancoast is an outstanding health educator and very deserving of the award. Part of his job is identifying the expert teachers to guide the future of the content area.

“Felicia Pancoast is definitely a must have teacher,” he said. “Her expertise is called upon through textbook adoption process, standards revision, and assisting as a reviewer for possible embedding of health education credit and is the individual I call upon when needing representation in high school health education.”

All of these duties are above the outstanding job she does at South Harrison High School delivering high-quality Health instruction to the students she serves, Grant mentioned.

“Beyond all of her accomplishments in regards to health education, Felicia Pancoast is the type of teacher any parent would want their child to have,” he said. “She is very knowledgeable about her content, but most of all cares about kids.”

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