Ben Talley

Ben Talley

4th and 5th grade Science
Van Pelt Elementary School
Bristol, Virginia

Total years as a classroom teacher: 24

M.A. in Education                                           East Tennessee State University           1990
B.A. in Psychology                                          Carson-Newman University                   1980

1999-present    Van Pelt Elementary School                4th – 5th grade                Science
1995-1999       Van Pelt Elementary School                  3rd grade                           all subjects
1991-1995       Highland View Elementary                    5th – 6th  grade                all subjects


2014                Bristol Rotary Teacher of the Year
2008               Bristol Mayors’ Award for Community Service
2007                Adult Education Teacher of the Year
2003                McGlothin Award for Teaching Excellence
2001                Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for Virginia


  • Talley feels that “the teaching profession is the highest of all possible callings for me.”


  • He believes that good teaching is both art and science. Part of his calling, as he sees it, is to help all of his students to  find what inspires them to get excited about life and to point them onward with resources in that direction.


“Ben Talley loves his students, his school, and his community; and the impact he makes on life-long learning is exactly what every teacher should strive to achieve.”

— Rex Gearheart, Superintendent



”There are many good teachers, and most don’t give up on you.  If you are in a hole in life most will shout out at you to get you out of the hole.  Some few teachers will even reach down and help you out.  But Mr. Talley is the only person I’ve ever seen, teacher or not, who will actually jump down into the hole with you and show you how to get out.  And he will stay right there with you until you do.”

— Marcus Stine, former student



“Teaching is Ben’s life.  It is what he is truly meant to do in this world.  If anyone ever exemplifies our profession, it is Ben Talley.  He inspires all of us in the profession who know him to be better and more caring at our craft.  If we could somehow hold up his ‘model’ of helping people learn to help themselves out of poverty in every classroom in America, it would change America, almost overnight.”

–Linda Stout, teaching colleague