Henrico’s Top Teachers – Joseph Palen

During Joseph Palen’s time at Deep Run High School, his ability to  transcend subjects and reveal the universal language of mathematics to his students, paired with his genuine enthusiasm for the subject, has turned math into something his students become excited about.
“He has made his students understand mathematics in a way that no common core/standardized teacher could,” wrote one former student in a nomination letter.  “He has impacted every single person I know that has taken his class because he has shown that everything is connected together. He has shown that even though you hate a subject, the subject deserves respect because it delves deeper than anyone will ever understand.
“He uses each student’s mistakes, not in a humiliating way, but to teach others and the student who made the mistake.”
Palen holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan. Although he never intended to be a teacher, when an opportunity to teach arose during undergrad, he took it. Palen soon discovered he enjoyed teaching, and his students seem to enjoy the way he teaches.
“Dr. Palen is the explicit definition of an excellent teacher,” his former student wrote. “His genuine love for teaching, paired with his visible excitement upon seeing his students not only learn and succeed, but excel in mathematics creates an ideal learning environment. He teaches for the sake of real education rather than just a standardized test. In his class, you genuinely want to try unlike some classes in which you just do busy work – not work that will benefit you.”
While at Michigan, Palen was introduced to the school’s version of “reformed calculus,” a curriculum that stressed group work and problem solving, which has helped shape his way of teaching. Most of his instruction today is a blend of the competing styles from that time.
When the College Board modified the AP Calculus exam, it was with beneficial effects, because Palen’s training aligned perfectly with the way the AP questions were asked.
“When I teach, I  see myself as a tour guide, showing students great works of mathematical art,” Palen said. “I hope that students remember class fondly and in college smile at how well prepared they are. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘An education is what’s left after you’ve forgotten everything you learned.’ I hope that even if they forget me and all the formulas and skills they learned, that what stays with them are the methods and approach used in mathematics, and they remember the elegance and the beauty in mathematics.”

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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.
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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.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer

The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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Henrico Business Bulletin Board

May 2017

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ChamberRVA's Henrico Business Council will honor Community Leader of the Year Dan Schmitt at its annual awards breakfast at the Westwood Club, 6200 West Club Ln., from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Schmitt, president and founder of RMC Events, has not only guided RMC since 1999 but also has led growth and revitalization efforts of the Glen Allen Youth Athletics Association. Due to limited space, advance registration for the breakfast is required. Tickets are $35 for ChamberRVA members and $45 for non-members. For details and registration, visit http://www.chamberrva.com or contact Geoff Zindren at 783-9316. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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