RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Ashley Bland, an instructional technology resource teacher, is this year’s 2021 Teacher of the Year for Richmond Public Schools.

Bland works at John B. Cary Elementary School and also serves two other schools.

On Friday morning, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras surprised the teacher who showed up at school thinking she was there to take pictures.

“This is an honor like no other because your colleagues vote for you and they think that you’re the best of the best,” Bland said. “So I’m extremely honored.”

Ashley Bland and RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras. (Photo: 8News)

Bland said the virtual year has been challenging, but as an instructional technology teacher its been a great experience.

“I think what went into this award is what a lot of teachers do everyday. Especially during this virtual year — a lot of hard work and dedication,” Bland said.

Bland said she has been able to work with students and teachers during this time to make sure that they know the best technology practices.

“There’s no better time to be an ITRT,” Bland said.