To mark World Teachers’ Day, an international celebration of educators, Volkswagen is celebrating Kimberly Tuttle and the positive impact she has had on her students’ lives.
“This is my 21st year teaching,” Tuttle says, “and it is truly a dream.”
A native of Blacksburg, Va., Tuttle teaches 11th grade English honors and advanced placement language and composition in Charlotte, N.C. Her excellence was recognized early on in her career by her peers and community and she was named her school district’s New Teacher of the Year in 1998.
More than two decades later, she was again honored by the school district and named its 2019 Teacher of the Year. She was selected out of 10,000 other educators to receive the top honor. “It was the highlight of my teaching career,” said Tuttle, choked with emotion.
Tuttle follows in the steps of her own mother, an elementary school teacher for 32 years who passed down her joy and passion for educating. “I learned from my mom that it’s always, always about the kids,” says Tuttle. “You have to teach to the heart of a child and that’s what I try to do in my classroom.”
Volkswagen agrees that education should be cherished and pledged to donate a total of $1 million to DonorsChoose.org to help teachers by funding classroom projects across America. Volkswagen dealers received DonorsChoose.org donation cards pre-loaded with funds from Volkswagen and shared them with customers during the “Drive Bigger” Summer Event.
In recognition of Tuttle’s latest accomplishment, she received a year-long lease on a black Jetta (that she’s named “Jenna”) from a local dealership. “At the time I [received Jenna], I was driving a van. It was old and the girls never wanted me to pick them up from school because it’s not cool to have that kind of a van,” Tuttle said, laughing. “When I won this award and the local Volkswagen dealership gave me a lease, I was like a kid in a candy store.”
“Now I am the cool mom because of the car that I’m driving,” Tuttle added, smiling, “and they love Jenna the Jetta.”