By BOB HUDSON
BLACKFOOT — Virginia Townsend has a few secrets.
The Stalker Elementary first grade teacher's 'bet you didn't know' is, "few people know I was born in the back seat of a taxi."
They probably don't know she comes from a family of nine siblings who were born all over the Western United States.
With that kind of a start in life, it's not a surprise that she likes to travel.
"My goal is to visit all the United States," she said. "I only have six more to go (last time I counted)."
With a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's in bi-lingual education/English as a Second Language, Townsend is well-suited for her current job. She has been nominated as Teacher of the Year both at Ridge Crest and Stalker during her career.
"My favorite things are teaching and learning new things from people, especially children," she said.
The daughter of a migrant family, she understands the challenges that many of her students face. Stalkers is rich in diversity and ethnic heritage.
She and her husband Gary share two sons and two daughters in their blended family.
"I love the colleagues I work with and enjoy sharing the teaching profession with them," she said. "My whole family lives here so I have to at least like Blackfoot."
As is indicated by her nominations for teacher of the year honors, she loves her job. "The positive outcome my teaching abilities have in all my students and the variety of knowledge and experiences I get from them are what I enjoy most about teaching," she said.
Away from the classroom she enjoys camping, bike riding, reading, doing research on cultural diversity and language acquisitions. She is a member of the Blackfoot City Library board and teaches adult ESL.
She is also an advocate for the Idaho American Cancer Society.
She has seen both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, saw the Twin Towers in the spring of 2011 and has been to Seattle, Wash., and Washington, D.C.
Among her favorite memories is meeting President Barack Obama when he was senator from Illinois in 2006.