Dr. Deborah Fuge (SOE ’19) always dreamt of being a teacher. There was never a doubt that she would work with children and help them to enjoy learning. After more than 30 years in education, her hard work and dedication were recognized when she was awarded Teacher of the Year at Three Oaks Elementary School in Virginia Beach.
“I didn’t really expect it, but I’m proud that I was chosen,” says Fuge.
Fuge always wanted to become a teacher. In high school, she worked at a daycare center, and after college, she began teaching second grade. Then she moved to first grade, where she felt at home. For her, there is something special about working with children at a young age.
The world of education has proven to be a wonderful place for Fuge to learn and grow. Part of that journey has included earning her doctorate from Regent University in educational psychology. By working with one of the Regent professors, she was inspired to adapt her teaching style to the benefit of her students.
“I used to think kids should never know the teaching process,” explains Fuge. “Now I’m all about kids making choices.”
Fuge reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and the nearly immediate need for virtual learning. While it has been a stretch for everyone on many levels, she has sought to develop a mindset of opportunities.
“It has encouraged me to find new ways to reach the children. There will always be challenges. Flexibility is a key teacher trait.”
In recent years, Fuge ventured into a new chapter by instructing adults as an adjunct professor for Regent’s School of Education. She continues to influence her students wherever she serves, just as they and her time in education have transformed her.
Above all, Fuge hopes the faces she has taught have been positively impacted and that her youngest students, especially, will think of her with fond memories. “I hope they remember me with a smile and that they were loved and that their teacher was proud of them.”