Henrico’s Top Teachers – Michael Jiancristoforo

As a student athlete (swimmer and soccer player) growing up in Pennsylvania, Michael Jiancristoforo was inspired and motivated by a number of coaches and teachers.

At home, he was influenced by family members who were educators as well, and who helped develop his deep appreciation of the impact teachers can have on students’ lives.

Not surprisingly, those positive experiences with school and sports inspired a desire to have a similar impact on others – and motivated Jiancristoforo to become a teacher and coach himself.

In his 14 years as an educator, he has challenged himself to make his classroom “relatable” for all his students – despite their varying backgrounds and life experiences.

He believes that one of the most important roles he plays as a physical education teacher is showing students how to use their knowledge of health and exercise to reduce stress and cope with adversity. Whenever possible, he has his students participate in hands-on experiences – such as lab exercises demonstrating the impact of exercise on academic performance – to illustrate principles.

Another important role, he said, is teaching students skills that will help them outside of the academic world – abilities such as self-evaluation, and working as part of a group or team. “Athletics of course require [teamwork],” he said. “But in our society this is also a life skill that, when honed, can help lead to success.”

Among the rewards of teaching, he mentioned the short-term satisfaction of seeing certain concepts “visibly click” in students – as well as the excitement of seeing students adopt habits that will enhance their success long-term.

“I am inspired when my students are motivated to make changes in their lives,” he said, citing the example of students who build time into their day to exercise – not only to promote physical health, but to reap benefits such as stress management, and improving the ability to focus on their studies.

Despite his hectic schedule (which includes teaching at Tucker and Glen Allen high schools, coaching two soccer teams, serving as adjunct faculty at VCU, coordinating academic advisory at Tucker, and raising four children ages one through eight) Jiancristoforo is pleased when students stay behind after class and ask for feedback about issues such as decision-making and time management.

And while he concedes that finding time to stay in touch with former students is challenging, he makes a point of doing so as they move on through life. He enjoys the fact that alumni students “keep me engaged with their successes and challenges for many years beyond the classroom setting.

“If we all think about our own successes and life experiences,” he added, “so many of us would truly not be where we are today if it wasn’t for a good education and motivating teachers. Fundamentally, I feel it is very important to help shape the life of a young person by serving as a positive role model.” A Tucker student who nominated Jiancristoforo as a Top Teacher called him not simply a positive role model, but a “phenomenal” one.

“Coach J is always there for his students; he worked so hard to help me and my classmates adjust to high school,” wrote the student, noting that Jiancristoforo makes sure students learn not only course information but “information for life.”

“He gives the absolute best advice in all categories: school and life,” said the student, adding, “He is an inspiration . . . and a second dad.”
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

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The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

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In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

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.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

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> Read more.

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May 2017

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The Mega Challah Bake will come to the Chabad Community Synagogue at 212 N. Gaskins Rd. from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Join women of all ages for an evening of Jewish unity, pride and inspiration. Experience the holy, ancient art of Challah braiding and bake delicious Challah bread together. No experience or baking skills necessary. All ingredients and utensils provided. Ages 12+. Cost is $18 to $25. To register, call 740-2000 ext. 0 or visit http://www.chabadofva.org. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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