Meet Our Teachers

Team Up with Experienced, Highly Qualified Teachers

Teachers at the Virginia Virtual Academy are your partners in your children's education, and are available every school day to help you and your children through any challenges you may face. Here are a few of the regular education and special education teachers you'll get to know at the Virginia Virtual Academy.

Elementary Team

Whitney Elkins

Whitney Elkins, K–2 Lead Teacher Whitney joined the VAVA team in August 2010 to work primarily with K—1 students. She graduated from the University of Virginia at Wise in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Literature and Language and taught for four and a half years in brick and mortar schools in both Virginia and North Carolina. Whitney is most passionate about reading education, and in 2007 she earned a Master of Education from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Reading and Language. While she values each of her experiences in education, she is particularly proud to be meeting the needs of 21st century learners as a member the VAVA faculty!

Vanessa Mullins

Vanessa Mullins, 3-5 Lead Teacher Vanessa Mullins joined the VAVA team in August 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech in 2006. After working in the corporate child care field, she attended graduate school at The College of William and Mary, earning a Master of Arts in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught for six years in a brick and mortar school in Virginia before joining VAVA. Vanessa resides in Southwest Virginia with her husband and three children. Vanessa is passionate about education and meeting the needs of all students.

Penni Harrison

Penni Harrison, K–5 School Counselor Penni joined the VAVA team in September 2009—its inaugural year! She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Virginia and a Master of Education degree in Educational Technology from City University. Over the course of her teaching career, Penni had the opportunity to teach in several states and in the Department of Defense Schools in Germany. Penni comes to VAVA with over 18 years of classroom experience (PreK-4th), 2 years of virtual teaching experience with the K12 Educators Group, and 4 years as a member of K12’s Assessment and Research team. Currently, Penni serves as the Lead Teacher for grades 3–5. She is pleased to be a part of the VAVA family and looks forward to helping each child have a successful and enjoyable learning experience.Penni Harrison joined the VAVA team in September 2009 -- its inaugural year! She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Virginia and a Master of Education degree in Educational Technology from City University. Over the course of her teaching career, Penni had the opportunity to teach in several states and in the Department of Defense Schools in Germany. Penni comes to VAVA with over 18 years of classroom experience (PreK-4th), 2 years of virtual teaching experience with the K12 Educators Group and 4 years as a member of K12’s Assessment and Research team. Currently, Penni serves as the K-5 Counselor.

She is pleased to be a part of the VAVA family and looks forward to helping each child have a successful and enjoyable learning experience.

Middle School Team

Elizabeth Clark

Elizabeth Clark, Middle School Lead Teacher Elizabeth Clark began working with the Virginia Virtual Academy as a math teacher in 2010.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, where she majored in mathematics.  She also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  Since beginning her math teaching career Elizabeth has enjoyed working with students in grades four through twelve.  She lives in St. Augustine, Florida with her husband and their three boys McLean, Grey and Blair.  In her free time Elizabeth spends as much time outdoors as she can.  She loves to hike, kayak, paddle-board, bike and spend time at the beach with family and friends.

High School Team

Amy Cory

Amy Cory, High School Counselor Amy Cory joined the VAVA team in 2017 to serve as our High School Counselor. She has over a decade of experience teaching, coaching, and counseling in various capacities. She earned her master’s degree in School Counseling from Liberty University and is recognized as a National Certified Counselor. Amy resides in Williamsburg, Virginia with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she coaches swimming and loves to spend time with her family in or around the water. She is excited to be part of the growing VAVA community, and desires to help each student reach his/her full potential in the classroom and beyond!

Laura Cantrell

Laura Cantrell, High School Lead Teacher Laura joined VAVA in 2016 as a 7th Grade ELA Teacher. In 2018, Laura returned to the high school grades (as VAVA’s first-ever 11th grade English teacher) where she spent the majority of her years in brick & mortar. Laura graduated from Roanoke College with a BA in English, and later obtained a Master of Science Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She resides in her hometown of Floyd, Virginia, with her husband and three children. Laura enjoys all things sports-related; cooking; and spoiling her pets, Leo the cat, and Emmett, the cockapoo.