RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond teacher was honored this week with a special new title — one of Virginia’s “Teachers of the Year”

Kiara Thompson, a science teacher at Thomas C. Boushall Middle School in Richmond, was named Virginia’s Region One Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, Aug. 30. She was surprised with the honor while giving a back to school speech.

Thompson previously worked in healthcare, and has now taught biology and physical science at Boushall Middle School for six years. According to Thompson, she became a teacher to make a lasting impact and now finds the most meaning in the job through her students.

“I am thankful for them,” Thompson said. “I know a lot of times we talk about how students are thankful for teachers, but I am so thankful for my students.”

Thompson is one of eight educators to be recognized as “Teacher of the Year” around the commonwealth for 2022. She is now in the running to become Virginia Teacher of the Year.