Henrico’s Top Teachers – Dawn Nadeau

In Dawn Nadeau’s free time she gardens, paints and fixes old furniture. As someone drawn to the beauty of watching things grow, adapting along the way and making an impact creatively, it is a reflection of her true passion of teaching children.

"I always knew teaching was something that I wanted to do,” said Nadeau. “My whole family was teachers, and I come from a long line of educators, principals and counselors, which has been a drive for me. I just absolutely love children, and I kept getting pulled towards teaching.”

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S.in psychology and later a master's in early childhood education, Nadeau worked as a dental hygienist. However, after continually seeing children come in to the dentist upset and in pain, Nadeau wanted to do the opposite and make them smile and spread love. That is when she turned to her true calling, teaching.

Nadeau has been at Seven Pines Elementary since her teaching career began 15 years ago. She believes the relationships with her students and her school make every day a special one.

“I want to become a part of their family, and my entire classroom is based on relationships, whether it is with me, other students, or learning,” said Nadeau. “If you become a part of that child’s family and show you are truly invested in their lives, it makes a difference. That’s what I enjoy most. I want to be loved and respected and love and respect them as well and hear what they have to say.”

Nadeau’s passion for making an impact on children’s lives is apparent to anyone that knows her and doesn't go unrecognized. Nadeau was named "Teacher of the Year" at Seven Pines recently, and during her first year of teaching in 1999 was named "New Teacher of the Year."

"I have known Mrs. Nadeau for many years; I have seen the hours she has put in and using her own money for school supplies,” wrote one parent. “She cares deeply for the well-being of her students and their success. I see how many of her ex-students just love her and run up to her when seeing her away from school. When my child gets to third grade, I can only hope she gets Mrs. Nadeau as her teacher."

Nadeau’s teaching philosophy is centered upon creating relationships. She believes that everyone is dependent upon others in some way. By investing in her students' lives and molding well-rounded children surrounded by care and love, she seeks to help them flourish and grow.

"Any teacher that comes into a child’s life along their educational journey should be loved and respected,” she said. “I look at every kid as if they are someone’s everything, and I feel honored to be trusted with their children every day. Every child is special in some way, and we should rejoice in their success and applaud their accomplishments.”

For Nadeau, her students' accomplishments expand far beyond the classroom. She attends dance recitals, cheer competitions, basketball games and many meaningful events in which her students are involved.

“It’s so important to be that teacher that is remembered and to not let go of the relationships we made in the classroom,” she said. “I want them to say, 'My teacher started and ended every day with a hug, and she told us she loved us and missed us over break and loved having us as a part of her life.'

"They continue on the journey but I will always be there.”
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September 2017
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Richmond Raceway will host the Bubble Run – a fun-filled three-mile course for walkers and runners that feature Foam Bogs that cover participants in colored foam. A portion of the proceeds benefits Comfort Zone Camp, Sean’s Fund and The Miracle League of Richmond. Plan to arrive 60-90 minutes prior to your wave start; the first wave starts at 8 a.m. To register, visit http://www.bubblerun.com/upcoming-locations/richmond-va-2017. Full text

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