Henrico’s Top Teachers – Ann Marie Benson

Ann Marie Benson began her journey at Weinstein JCC as a parent volunteer and has transformed into a 19-year preschool teaching veteran who also serves as the early morning childcare coordinator. At the JCC, she is able to combine her passion for working with children and her faith.

Benson is a graduate of Wilkes University  but believes her education will never be complete when it comes to teaching. She learns something new every day from her children, co-workers, workshops, lectures and conferences and continues to take college courses each summer in early childhood education. 

“I was destined to work with children,” she said. “I remember lining up my childhood stuffed animals on my bed to ‘teach’ them. After landing in Richmond with a 3-year-old daughter 20 years ago, I walked into the JCC Preschool and knew I was where I and she needed to be!”

The program at Weinstein JCC is based upon a child-centered approach to learning and providing a nurturing environment for children to grow, create, explore, socialize and investigate in areas of their interest, to develop their thinking skills. That’s right on point with Benson’s style and philosophy of teaching.

In a nomination letter, one parent of a JCC preschooler wrote, “Ann Marie is a proponent pf the JCC’s practice of the Reggio Emilia approach to education, allowing students to guide the curriculum that holds their interest and provides a rich ground for learning new and wonderful information and skills. My son is one of the 13 boys in her four-year old class this year and she has encouraged them by teaching basic construction techniques both inside the classroom with crafts and outside with tools. She has even allowed them to visit a construction site and had them draw their observations to learn to pay attention to detail.”

Benson was educated in a very regimented, lesson-planned, SOL-based school, where her “but why?” attitude and challenges weren’t accepted or encouraged, she said. Those early experiences have driven her to create a teaching environment that is limitless and allows for exploratory and communicative learning.

“A teacher once replied to my questions by saying, ‘You can find that out for yourself,’ and I did,” Benson recalled. “I fondly remember a teacher that changed my life.  That is where I met Mrs. Reap. She took the time to ask me why I wanted to learn more and showed me how to learn more about the information I questioned. 

"That has shaped me as a teacher more than any class or lecture I have ever attended, and the program I work in supports that for all of our teachers – and I am grateful.”
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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May 2017
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The Rotary Club of Innsbrook meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at The Place at Innsbrook. For details, visit http://www.innsbrookrotary.org. Full text

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