Henrico’s Top Teachers – Karen Clements

Karen Clements became a Henrico County teacher by stepping outside her comfort zone. Now she challenges her students at Byrd Middle School to do the same each day.

Clements, Byrd's gifted enrichment teacher, works with gifted sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students, engaging them with projects designed to hone their talents while expanding their creative minds.

"A lot of people think it's very easy to be gifted, but I don't think it is, because people have such high expectations," she said. "[Gifted students] have this pressure, because they feel that school should be easy. I don't think it is."

Clements, now in her 30th year as a teacher, was born in England to "very proper" British parents and quickly developed a love for English.

"I was expected to take a book everywhere I went," she joked.

After the family moved to the U.S., Clements attended college in New York with aspirations to become a teacher. She eventually landed in the Richmond region with her husband and began teaching English at Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield, where she remained for 17 years.

"I went in because I loved books and language and writing so much," Clements said, "but I fell in love with the children."

She applied to work in Henrico several times in those years and finally was interviewed and offered a position in Henrico High School's International Baccalaureate program.

"I was a little bit nervous because I had been in the same place 17 years," she conceded. But she took the job and spent eight years at Henrico. Then she followed former IB program chair Sharon Pope when Pope became the principal at Byrd Middle.

"I had never taught middle school," she said, "but I thought, well, it's an adventure."

And her five years there have been exactly that.

Her classes provide students with big-picture concepts to explore. Sixth-graders, for example, "form" their own advertising agencies, researching how actual agencies operate and devising their own business plans. Eighth-grade students "create" restaurants – and develop and design menus, marketing plans and even functional websites for their fictional businesses.

"Karen involves the students in amazing group projects and engages them as young adults, not simply 'middle school kids,'" one nominator wrote. "The work is always interesting and thought-provoking and taps into the creative spirit in the children. Her words and actions have inspired, instructed and comforted my son."

Clements takes great satisfaction from helping students who may otherwise have been bored or frustrated in school develop their passions. She recalled talking with a sixth-grader whose test scores indicated that she was gifted – but whose classroom performances were poor – and being surprised when the girl told her, "There is absolutely nothing in my class that is relevant to me."

Being able to challenge students in similar situations with meaningful real-world concepts keeps Clements' own motivation high. And she hasn't stopped learning herself, either. Since arriving in Henrico, she's taken a number of continuing educating courses funded by the county.

"Henrico County invests an awful lot in teachers," she said. "They've sent me everywhere to learn."

Although she is closer to the end of her career than the beginning, Clements is still energized by her students and the daily experiences she has with them in class.

"I just love the part where you make a connection with somebody and you can give them a hope and a promise that reflects back to them what's wonderful about them," she said. "As long as I feel like the children welcome me. . . then I want to stay."
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

New utility services number for metro area

Richmond city, Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover county natural gas customers have a new number to call for their utility services.

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has replaced its old number, (804) 646-7000 as well as 311, with it's new number, (804) 646-4646 for all calls relating to utilities. Utilities include natural gas, water, sewer, storm-water and electric street-lighting. > Read more.

Henrico County property transactions, July 10-16


A sample of property transactions during this period appear below:

3714 Pemberton Ave.- $105,000, 720 SF (built in 1957), from William F. Patton Jr. to Jessica Garcia.

510 Besler Ln.- $121,000, 964 SF (built in 1986), from Joseph and Coral P. Bolden to Taneen Marlow.

3502 Westcliffe Ave.- $140,000, 1,564 SF (built in 1947), from Benny H. Wilson Jr. to Benjamin A. Nyannor. > Read more.

FirstComp Insurance Company, Markel Corp. named top insurance carriers


Two Glen Allen-based insurance carriers have been named among the top such companies in the nation.

Markel Corp. and FirstComp Insurance Company (now owned by Markel) are among 38 carriers recognized on the Insurance Business America list of the top insurance carriers in the country. > Read more.

Walmart honors Citizen’s ‘Top Teachers’ during grand opening


The much-anticipated new Walmart Supercenter in Eastern Henrico opened to busy crowds last week, and company officials welcomed a special group of shoppers, too. > Read more.

‘It’s such a blessing’


On Independence Day, a Brazilian-born Henrico resident took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance on the steps of the Virginia Historical Society and felt peace finally settle around her.

Jeanette Hamlett’s journey to U.S. citizenship is a story of faith and love, which she told with her husband, John Hamlett, by her side. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

July 2017
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The Jammin’ on the James concert series at Wilton House Museum, 215 S. Wilton Rd., continues with Another Level from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring a picnic dinner and your favorite lawn chair for family-friendly music on Wilton’s scenic terrace overlooking the James River. There will also be complimentary tours and children’s activities. Rain or shine. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. For details, visit http://www.wiltonhousemuseum.org/event/jamminjuly. Full text

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