Henrico County VA
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Rolfe principal wins REB Award

Andrew Armstrong, principal at Rolfe Middle School, has been named the R.E.B. Distinguished Educational Leadership Award winner for Henrico County. Armstrong is one of four principals in the metro Richmond area selected to receive the annual award. Jodie Brinkmann, principal of Echo Lake Elementary, was named runner-up.

The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Leadership seek to recognize principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. Four principals will be publicly recognized, one in each school district of the metropolitan area (i.e. the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the City of Richmond). Each award will consist of a $7,500 cash grant to the principal and an additional $7,500 for school projects chosen by the principal.

Armstrong received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond followed by a master’s degree in education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

He began his teaching career as a student teacher at Varina High School where he became a Spanish teacher and boys tennis coach. He moved on to teach Spanish at Manchester High School. In 2002, he returned to Varina High School as a teacher and administrative aide. From 2004-07, he served as the assistant principal at the school. In 2007, he was named principal of Rolfe Middle School.

“Making a school or any organization better requires the right people, and I am fortunate to have the team I have working with our kids every day,” says Armstrong. “This recognition is for our teachers, staff, students, and their families.”

Armstrong intends to use the school initiative funds to establish parent resource centers in five of the largest apartment communities in the Rolfe district. Through the centers, he hopes to provide information, tutoring, and special events for the community.

“I am not surprised that Andy Armstrong received this recognition,” says Executive Director of Secondary Education Eric Jones. “He has been dedicated and committed to students, staff and the Rolfe community since becoming principal four years ago. The school has shown consistent growth and progress under his leadership. We are lucky to have such a strong advocate for children in Henrico County Public Schools.”

According to Henrico Superintendent Dr. Patrick Russo, “Andy and Jodie have a passion for their students and want to ensure that every child reaches his or her full potential. Their enthusiasm spreads throughout their schools to faculty and staff which ensures an engaging learning environment.”

Nominations for the award were submitted from the school community and from the public at-large. However, principals may not nominate themselves.

Nominees must be principals who: manage effectively to promote excellence in education; demonstrate leadership and exemplify commitment; inspire their students and are advocates for their school and faculty; encourage team spirit; foster cooperation between the school and the community; maintain dialogue with students, parents, faculty and staff; have been a principal of their school for at least three years.

The Award Selection Committee consisted of the four district superintendents, representatives from the R.E.B. Foundation and The Community Foundation, and one at-large member.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

New Henrico biscuit shop thrives with grandmother’s recipe

Tim Laxton rises at 4:30 a.m. every day for a biscuit. But he’s not rushing out to any restaurant to get his favorite Southern comfort food; he’s baking his own from scratch and serving them up from his bakery on Lakeside Avenue.

Laxton opened Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery in early July and since then biscuits have been flying out of there.

The self-taught baker draws hungry crowds in with a biscuit of the day like the Old Bay Cheddar, but the buttermilk biscuits are the staple.

“On a Saturday I generally make about 400 biscuits with my two hands,” Laxton said. “I’m constantly making biscuits all day long.” > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces cast of Sherlock Holmes play

CAT Theatre’s 51st season will open with Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which will run from Oct. 24-Nov. 8. Adapted by Steven Dietz, it is based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was the winner of the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Play.

The plot follows what seems to be the end of the career of the world’s greatest detective as he is confronted with a case far too tempting to ignore. When the King of Bohemia faces blackmail by famed opera singer Irene Adler, Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson, find themselves falling into the trap of evil genius Professor Moriarty. As Holmes says, “The game is afoot Watson, and it is a dangerous one!” > Read more.

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Commonwealth Parenting will present “When Time Out Doesn’t Work” for parents of toddlers from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of Richmond-Short Pump, 2200 Old Brick Rd.… Full text

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