Henrico’s Top Teachers – Darla Perry

Darla Perry has been fascinated by the way people communicate since meeting a classmate in high school who had a stuttering problem. Her desire to help those in similar situations, coupled with her love of children, led her to a lengthy and varied career as an educator, which has included time as a consultant, direct care provider and educational trainer, as well as a teacher.

She landed in Henrico County eight years ago when a position at Rivers Edge Elementary School’s Social Integrated Services Program opened. The program is one of a handful of elementary “hubs” in Henrico for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. Perry works with 10 students in kindergarten, first and second grades, helping them to transition from life at home to a new environment in school.

“It’s a whole new experience for all children, but especially those who have special needs,” Perry said.

Though establishing effective communication with her students can be challenging at times, Perry said that her efforts are guided by a quote of unknown origin that proclaims, “There’s no such thing as an unreachable child – only those who as yet are unreached.”

“What it takes is really a lot of observing the child, realizing the child is an individual and what works for one child isn’t going to work for another,” she said. “The biggest thing that we work on is building a trusting relationship with them. There are a lot of different things you need to do to help them feel comfortable and to help them trust you.”

Her techniques, according to a parent who nominated her as a top teacher, are effective.

"Mrs. Perry understands more about autism than we do as parents of our autistic son,” the woman wrote. “She goes above and beyond to make sure Mom and Dad are OK, as well as taking charge of my son’s education with both his academics as well as his personal growth and well-being.

“On those days that I’m too tired to face autism, I know that Mrs. Perry is fighting the fight for me from 8 to 2:30, Monday through Friday, and it gives me a huge sense of relief knowing she is in our corner.”

The program allows Perry to spend one-on-one time with students but also provides the opportunity to teach them as one group or smaller groups. She praised the community feel at Rivers Edge as a chief reason why she took the job in the first place.

“The administration has worked hard to create an environment that feels good all the time,” she said.

Though her career has spanned more than 30 years, Perry is finding it difficult to imagine its conclusion.

“I feel that this was kind of meant to be for me,” she said. “Almost every year I think, ‘Hmm, maybe this will be my last year.’ And then there will be another student, and then I think, ‘Well, maybe when So-and-So leaves.’”
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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 9th Annual American Legion Post 242 & Battlefield Post 144 Sandston Memorial Day Parade will start at 1 p.m. at Seven Pines Elementary School on Beulah Road and proceed down Williamsburg Road through Sandston to Confederate Avenue. It will be preceded at noon by a veterans’ recognition ceremony at Seven Pines National Cemetery in Sandston where Deputy County Manager Doug Middleton will speak. Post-parade festivities start on JB Finley Road and include live music, children’s activities, food and exhibitor booths. For details, call 652-1434 or visit http://www.ehba.us/parade. Full text

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