Henrico’s Top Teachers – Lynne Norris

Years spent in the corporate world convinced Lynne Norris that what she really wanted to do wasn’t crunching numbers or clawing her way through middle management.

“I had said for a number of years that if I could do anything and money wasn’t an object, I would go teach high school,” she recalls.

Eventually, though, she dropped the financial condition.

“I quit my job, went to get my teacher certification and haven’t looked back,” she says.

The decision was an easy one for Norris, who is in her third year as department chair of Deep Run High School’s Center for Information Technology, which draws students from throughout the county. As a parent of two teenage sons herself – and as someone who found motivation from her high school teachers – there was little question where Norris wanted to be.

Deep Run’s program engages students in cutting-edge technology, helping to prepare them for college and careers in the field or as engineers, among other paths. The program counts 100 students among its ranks, and Norris says each one demonstrates skills and knowledge that impress her each day.

“I tell my students that in many ways they’re much smarter than I am, because they grew up with this [technology] and I didn’t. It’s part of who they are – they just take off and run with it.”

Norris requires each of her tenth-graders to become the class’s “consultant of the week” once, a role that asks them to become an expert on a new technology topic, then teach the class about it.

“Some of the topics they come up with are just amazing,” she says.

She also created a senior “Capstone” course that exposes students to four topics (information technology management, database design, network security or game design), during its first nine weeks, then allows them to choose one, study it in depth and write a research paper about the topic.

Norris fully involves herself not only in the center and her classes, but the students and the school community as a whole.

“Students enter her classroom eager to learn in a professional atmosphere where they are given up-to-date opportunities to discover, research and learn about the latest advancements in technology,” a colleague wrote in a nomination letter. “She serves on several committees, always volunteers for tickets sales, attends school events, speaks before community groups about the center and mentors new teachers in the center. She is also the advisor to the Computer Club and mentors girls in information technology. She must have a cape somewhere in her wardrobe.”

To Norris, her students make the job enjoyable and rewarding. They also keep her honest. “Being real with the students is really important, because they know when you’re not,” she says. “Putting it out there when I make a mistake, or if I don’t know an answer, I think they respect that. And because of those things they trust me.

“I love these kids and I tell them that regularly. I don’t have to care about these kids, but I really do. I care how they’re doing in all of their other classes and activities. They’re really willing to open up and do lots of things when they realize that people really do care.”
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Therapeutic healing


In a room labeled the garden room, a bright space with lavender-colored walls and pebble-gray chairs, art therapist Becky Jacobson might ask her patients to imagine a safe place, but she doesn’t ask them to describe it to her — she wants them to draw it.

The patients are free to draw whatever they envision, expressing themselves through their colored markers, a form of healing through art therapy.

“Some people might not feel safe anywhere because they have had hard things happening to them, and I have the background to help that person reground and feel safe in the group,” Jacobson said. > Read more.

Eight’s enough? Crowded race for 56th District develops


Following the retirement of Delegate Peter Farrell [R-56th District], a number of candidates have thrown their hats into the ring to vie for the open seat in the Virginia General Assembly district, which contains a portion of Henrico’s Far West End.

Democratic challengers include Lizzie Basch and Melissa Dart, while Republican contenders include George Goodwin, Matt Pinsker, Graven Craig, Surya Dhakar, Jay Prendergrast and John McGuire. In addition to a section of Henrico, the district also includes portions of Goochland and Spotsylvania County, as well as all of Louisa County. > Read more.

On the trail to Awareness


Twenty-five teams, composed of some 350 participants, gathered at Dorey Park in Varina April 8 for the Walk Like MADD 5k, to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving Virginia. The event raised more than $35,000, with more funds expected to come in through May 7. > Read more.

Leadership Metro Richmond honors St. Joseph’s Villa CEO


Leadership Metro Richmond honored St. Joseph's Villa CEO Kathleen Burke Barrett, a 2003 graduate of LMR, with its 2017 Ukrop Community Vision Award during its annual spring luncheon April 6.

The award honors a LMR member who demonstrates a purposeful vision, a sense of what needs to be done, clear articulation with concern and respect for others with demonstrated action and risk-taking. > Read more.

Glen Allen H.S. takes second in statewide economics competition

Glen Allen H.S. was among six top schools in the state to place in the 2017 Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance.

Taught by Patricia Adams, the Glen Allen H.S. team was runner-up in the Economics division, in which teams faced off in a Quiz Bowl. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

April 2017
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The Henrico Branch of the NAACP will sponsor “Substance Abuse: A Way Out” from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church, 2705 Harman St. The program agenda includes an overview on substance abuse, prevention, HIV, information about the Virginia Recovery Foundation, a legislative update on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s response to the opioid crisis, and more. The event is free and open to the public. For details, call Marcus Randolph at 273-9900. Full text

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