Henrico’s Top Teachers – Julie Richardson
Godwin H.S., social studies
Julie Richardson has a way with her students, said a colleague who nominated her, that draws them to her and makes them want to keep in touch well after they have graduated.
A teacher of social studies at both the honors and AP levels, she is known as one of the best teachers at Godwin – respected by both students and faculty.
"She holds the students to a very high standard," said her colleague. "She challenges them and they come away better writers, thinkers and people.
"The impact she has on her students is profound."
Among those who had a similar profound effect on Richardson were her history teachers at Huguenot High School, who helped instill in her the love of the subject that made her want to teach.
"I wanted to be able," Richardson said, "to share that love with students." She also cited a number of college professors who influenced her, including Harold Greer, Rosemary Gallaher, Kathy Fuller, and Hussein Mustafa at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Richardson had no hesitation in naming her most formidable challenge as the pressures imposed on her schedule – especially by standardized testing. Under the testing time frame, she said, it can be extremely challenging "to teach in a meaningful manner."
But she has clearly met the challenge successfully – as her former students tell her often.
"On a daily basis I get emails from former students thanking me for preparing them for college," she said. " I just got one last week, bragging about how much better she is doing in college because I required them to complete many writing assignments. "
A colleague noted that with one student in particular, Richardson did more than just prepare him for college; she had a life-altering effect on his reactionary attitudes.
"One of her students she had as a freshman was from an overtly racist family," wrote her fellow teacher. "Julie is black, and she may have been the first, if not one of the few, black people he had interacted with."
Now serving in the US Navy, the student gradually changed his views and came to respect and admire Richardson. "With her patience and personality, she was able to replace ignorance with appreciation and knowledge," wrote Richardson's co-worker. "She is one of the only teachers he comes back to visit when he is on leave.
"Julie was a major influence on shaping this young man not only academically," the teacher wrote, "but in overcoming a viewpoint that would have shaped his life in such a negative way."
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
The Innsbrook Rotary Club, which is celebrating its 25th year in 2015, has completed a number of volunteer projects this year and raised thousands of dollars for various organizations through three events.
The club's annual rose sale, benefit for youth live auction and Virginia Fire Games competition, combined with individual and corporate donations, have raised nearly $70,000 – money that the club contributes back to the community.
FeedMore is the beneficiary of the club's 25th anniversary project, which provides refrigerated trailers to be used for the distribution of food throughout Central Virginia. > Read more.
Chef Bryan Voltaggio will host a special three-course dinner event July 21-22 at his Willow Lawn Family Meal restaurant. The menu will consist of his favorite dishes and offer diners the chance to purchase a signed copy of his newly released book, HOME.
Voltaggio will attend and cook at each dinner, as well as share stories that inspired recipes for the book. > Read more.
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Jun. 18, 2015Click here to read the print edition.
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