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Top Teachers: Blair Flynn

Nuckols Farm E.S., second grade
Parents of students in Blair Flynn’s second-grade class at Nuckols Farm Elementary don’t have to wonder what their children are doing during class – they just need to check their e-mail inbox.

There, they’ll often find updates and photos of their kids that Flynn has snapped through the Photo Booth program on her laptop and e-mailed to their parents.

“It’s one of my favorite things that I do,” Flynn said. “Parents will call me and say ‘That just makes my day. I might be at work, having a bad day, and then I see my child smiling and having fun.’”

Flynn prides herself on teaching in a way that produces results for each child, regardless of his or her learning style. During a recent lesson about magnets, she gave each of her 26 students two pipe cleaners, a piece of string, a piece of paper and other items and told them to produce something to reflect the lesson.

“Everyone came up with something different,” Flynn said.

One of her nominators cited Flynn’s ability to make the most of challenging situations.

“She had a boy who loved math but resisted practicing reading (a weaker skill for him),” the woman wrote. “She motivated him by giving him a stopwatch and graph paper so he could measure his time reading and graph his progress.

“She used his strength to address a weakness.”

Teaching was in the cards for Flynn from an early age. Her mother and stepmother were teachers, and she recalled playing “school” regularly as a child. When she moved to Virginia after three years as a teacher in South Carolina, she encouraged her second-grade students there to write her to stay in touch. One girl did so all the way through middle school.

Recently, Flynn received a Facebook friend request from the girl – now in graduate school, studying to be a teacher. Her motivation was Flynn – now a 17-year teaching veteran – who said learning of her own impact was a powerful and humbling realization.

Teaching second-graders gives Flynn many reasons to look forward to arriving at school each day.

“It’s a great age,” she said. “It’s just fun. There are a lot of hands-on things you can do. They’re so enthusiastic, and you see a lot of growth in them during the year.”

Now in her seventh year at Nuckols Farm, Flynn can’t see herself anywhere else.

“I call it my happy place. This school – I’ll be here until they’re ready to send me to teacher heaven.”
Community

Celebrating 106 years

Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.

YMCA breaks ground for aquatic center

YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.

Rotary donates to ‘Bright Beginnings’

The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Bottoms up

Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.

Cultural Arts Center announces 2014 fall class schedule

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.

The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.

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