Henrico County VA

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.”
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Community

MADD to host candlelight vigil Dec. 2 at UR

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host a candlelight vigil of remembrance and hope Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the University of Richmond, outside the Cannon Chapel. The public is invited to attend and join MADD to honor victims of impaired driving crashes, while helping to remind the community to be safe during the holidays. > Read more.

Tournament supports adoption efforts

Among participants at the Seventh Annual Coordinators2Inc Golf Tournament and awards luncheon Oct. 3 were (from left) Rebecca Ricardo, C2 Inc executive director; Kevin Derr, member of the winning foursome; Sharon Richardson, C2 Inc founder; and Frank Ridgway and Jon King, members of the winning foursome.

Held at The Crossings Golf Club, the tournament will benefit placement of children from Virginia's foster care system into permanent families through Coordinators2. > Read more.

A.C. Moore to host winter craft day for kids

Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Authentically Italian

Bella’s feels – and tastes – like Italy should
Short Pump is known for its share of chain restaurants and strip malls, but diners looking for something more distinct can certainly find it without heading downtown or to nearby Charlottesville.

In fact, local husband-and-wife restaurateurs Valeria Bisenti and Doug Muir brought a taste of Charlottesville (and Italy) to Short Pump when they took a chance and opened Bella’s second location in the same shopping strip as Wal-Mart and Peter Chang China Cafe. (Bella’s original location is on Main Street in downtown Charlottesville.)

For a local Italian restaurant, Bella’s is as “Mom and Pop” as its gets. Valeria is Mom, and Doug is Pop. Since its opening about six months ago, diners have been eating rich comfort foods and drinking Italian wines. > 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.

‘Sizing Up!’ opens at Cultural Arts Center

The Cultural Arts Center unveils a new exhibit – "Sizing Up!" – Nov. 20-Jan. 18 in the Gumenick Family Gallery.

Artist Chuck Larivey has spent the past three years "sizing up" – creating large-scale oil paintings that are designed to engage their viewers in a monumental way by using size to captivate them and make them a part of the artistic experience.

The exhibit is appropriate for all ages and is free and open to the public at the center, located at 2880 Mountain Road in Glen Allen. > Read more.

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