Teacher of  the Year

The VAME Teacher of the Year recognizes and acknowledges VAME members for their dedication to marketing education, as well as their community, school and students.

Nominee Criteria

All marketing teachers in Virginia are eligible, even if you have been nominated in the past for the award, if they meet the following criteria:

Please direct any TOY questions to 

Kelsey Treague

Previous VAME TOY Winners

Ben Stodola

Teresa Chavis

Briana Eifler

Sandra Tucker

Ellen Saunders

Sarah Hinkhouse

Dee Strauss

Duke Gardner

Theresa Caffee

Jason Uhry

Beth Markwood

Janet Jennings

Casey Hepner

Donna Roush

Donna Celio

Susan Loizou

Kathy Chrisman

Don Gresham

Jacqueline Lucki

Deborah Rogers

Bevin Pulliam

Kim Creamer

Linda Amburn

Jenee Pins

Nancy King

Suzanne Campbell

Paul Wardinski

Sharon Acuff

Diane Bakaysa

Dianne Tremblay

Dede Stone

Kim Wilkerson

Ina Baker

Sandra Motley

Irene Wheeler

Kelly Parnell

Woody McCain

Bonnie Stone

Bernard Glaser

Russell Holliday

Toni McLawhorn

Paul Desantas

Rick Calhoun

VAME 2023 Teacher of the Year Winner

Ben Stodola | Rock Ridge High School, Region 1

Ben Stodola is a Marketing teacher and Career & Technical Education Department Chair at Rock Ridge High School. Ben has just completed his 6th year of teaching. During this time, has taught Introduction to Business & Marketing, Advanced Marketing, Personal Finance, Cybersecurity in Marketing, and his current subjects are Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Marketing 1 and Project Management. Ben has been a DECA advisor since starting at Rock Ridge and is currently the co-lead of the Rock Ridge Chapter with Sandra Tucker.

Ben has a Bachelor of Science in Business & Information Technology and Master of Education in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Tech. During his student teaching experience, Ben fell in love with the Marketing Education courses. Although Ben is dual certified in Business & Marketing, the passion and creativity that Marketing Education allows has pushed him to focus on that pathway. 

Outside of teaching, Ben’s passions include spending time with family & friends, traveling, playing board games and sports. Ben is new to the dad life and enjoys spending time and learning from his 1-year-old son, Caden. Ben is thankful for his wife Kasey, who has been on sick baby duty for every DECA trip since Caden was born. The last member of our family is our crazy dog Emmy who helps keep us active and on the move. On top of that, Ben is a diehard sports fan, but his teams underperform so they will not be mentioned here.

VAME 2023 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Barbara DeFrancesco | Cosby High School, Region 5

Barbara DeFrancesco is a CTE teacher at Cosby High School in Chesterfield County where she currently teaches Fashion Marketing, Advanced Fashion Marketing and Principles of Business and Marketing.  She has been the department chair of the CTE Department since 2014.  Barbara began her teaching career in the spring of 2005 at Thomas Dale High School as a part time teacher.  Her fulltime teaching career began in the Fall of 2005. Barbara moved over to Cosby High School when it opened in the Fall of 2006 and is one of the remaining founding teachers. In addition to her current courses, she has also taught Fashion 3/Advanced Marketing, Marketing, Accounting, and Keyboarding/Computer Applications.  Her career in teaching began after 20 years in the corporate world where she gained experience is sales management, marketing, advertising and leadership.  Barbara loves being able to draw on her corporate experience as she teaches how the concepts in the curriculum relate to real world experiences.  In addition to teaching in the classroom Barbara has also been a DECA advisor for 18 years, sponsored The Fashion Club and was a Cosby cheer coach for four years. Each summer Barbara teaches Project Runway at Camp Epic which is a program designed to introduce middle school students to CTE courses. 

Barbara has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from VCU and she also studied Fashion Merchandising at VA Tech.  Her love for VA Tech continues and each fall she attends as many VA Tech football games as she can fit into her schedule.  Go HOKIES!  Barbara has been a member of VAME since she began teaching in 2005 and has loved the opportunities to network and trade ideas each summer at the VAME conferences. 

When she isn’t teaching or rooting for VA Tech, Barbara spends lots of time with her family and is very involved with the hospitality team and small groups at her church.  Barbara and her husband Greg will celebrate 31 years of marriage in October.  Greg was the head football coach at James River (Midlothian) for 17 years and Barbara never missed a single game. Greg & Barbara have three grown children Kris (Courtney), Alexandra (engaged to Jake) and Madison (Jake).  Wedding planning for a December wedding is providing lots of excitement but nothing compares to being a first time “Nonna” to Brooks who was born on April 12th.  Barbara will be getting lots of baby snuggles this summer.

As Barbara approaches her last month of fulltime teaching, she can honestly say that it has been a great 18 years. And, she isn’t done yet.  Rumor has it she won’t be hanging up her high heels completely but will be embarking on a Fashion Marketing adventure part-time.  See you in the hallways and at VAME conferences!

Anne Wardinski | Lake Braddock Secondary School, Region 2

Anne Wardinski’s career in education spans from being an administrative assistant in the elementary and high schools, a library assistant, an instructional intervention coach, new teacher mentor, department chair and classroom teacher of numerous marketing and business courses. 

Her passion for teaching began when she was a child and used to “teach” her stuffed animals - she just didn’t know it yet. Graduating with a degree in marketing from William and Mary she worked in industry before becoming a marketing teacher at the suggestion of her husband and her brother. She jumped into all that means including DECA and over the years has consulted for DECA, Inc., including writing training manuals and one year when she wrote every single competitive event at all levels.

As a DECA advisor, she consistently has ICDC winners, including two first place international winners, 4 state officers, and numerous District Vice Presidents. More importantly, she is proud of the framework marketing classes provide to help students find their own career passions and help in the community - work that has students raising money and awareness for important causes, helping pick up trash and improve the look of the community, feeding the food insecure, supporting families with their laundry, collecting donations and more. She expands this coaching to numerous committees in the building as well as sponsoring the Girls In Roles of Leadership group and the school’s annual Professional Women’s Conference. 

Her strength is helping students connect classroom concepts with activities in the business world and helping them have confidence to begin their professional life. She is creative in her lessons and makes strong connections in the business community, work that earned her the Public Servant of the Year award from the local chamber of commerce in 2019.

Beyond education, Anne is most proud of her family with Paul, her husband, and two daughters, Cate & Lisa. 

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