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Henrico’s Top Teachers – E. Scott Broderick

Ridge E.S., fourth grade
As a self-professed “career switcher,” E. Scott Broderick spent years in a variety of sales and management positions.

But even before he followed his heart to teaching, as he puts it, he always found ways to be involved with children, whether through volunteer work or his hobby: performing as an amateur magician at local libraries.

Although he recalls no “light bulb moments” of inspiration to be a teacher, he does have fond memories of all his elementary teachers – from the first grade teacher who was also a neighbor and the second grade teacher who instilled a love of music to later teachers who taught him to love reading and writing.

What’s more, he admits that teaching is probably in his blood, since his father (who went on to become a principal and superintendent) was his physical education teacher while he was growing up.

Today, as a fourth grade teacher, he finds the toughest classroom challenge is engagement, which he describes as “finding fun ways to get your point across so that it will be understood and retained by everyone.”

A long-time Ridge Elementary parent who has had a child in his class calls Broderick’s teaching style “amazing” and says he excels at getting his point across and at engaging his students through conversation.

Not only does he display genuine interest in what interests students, wrote the parent in her nomination, but he also taps that knowledge in ways that inspire them to succeed.

“Mr. Broderick is never one to be comfortable with his technique,” she said. “He is always looking for new strategies and technologies to make sure that each child is reached.”

Her own child learned from Broderick how to use creative writing to express herself, said the parent, and also acquired a love of Virginia history that has enhanced the education of the entire family.

“We often take day trips,” said the mother, “to places she has discovered through her learning in school.”

The student’s mother also observed as Broderick’s patience and firmness with a difficult classmate of her daughter’s turned that student around. Although the boy’s behavior was “erratic” and a source of frequent disturbances, she said, “[Broderick] held the bar high and yet taught the child that he had the ability to reach it.

“Mr. Broderick learned what interested him and used it to motivate the child to learn. I saw this boy develop and grow with every visit I made as a volunteer in class.”

Not only does he inspire youth, added the parent, but Broderick also serves as a mentor to fellow teachers and future educators through volunteering as a lead teacher for VCU practicum students, serving as a representative for county and state professional organizations, and participating in mentor-buddy programs.

Over the years, he has also served on committees charged with such tasks as framing the science curriculum, reviewing discovery science and social studies scope and sequence, writing curriculum for fifth grade social studies and developing a fourth grade pacing guide. In addition, he has served as a team leader and as sponsor of the safety patrol, and participated on the school-wide Title I committee and the principal’s advisory committee.

To top it off, she added, Broderick attends every school event and often helps with PTA programs, from emceeing auctions and talent shows to performing in skits and magic shows.

And what does Broderick receive in return?

Like any teacher, he enjoys seeing the “ah-ha” moments when students make a connection -- shifting from a blank stare at hearing “400 yards” to the glimmer of understanding when he explains the distance as four football fields long. “It’s rewarding to see it sink in,” says Broderick.

Another teaching moment that never fails to warm his heart, he says, is when students grasp the concept that “work ethic is tied to success – and then apply it in class.”

Finally, as the parent of a new kindergartner who enjoys seeing his daughter go eagerly off to school, he especially likes to hear from a parent that their child enjoys coming to school.

“Teaching is its own reward,” says Broderick. “It is important not only to like kids, but also to like making a difference in their lives.

“There is a distinction.”


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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Henrico's Top Teachers