Henrico’s Top Teachers – Nancy Niedermayer
Glen Lea E.S., kindergarten
As a student at VCU, Nancy Niedermayer was assigned to Glen Lea as a student teacher. A decade later, it’s still home. Though she taught second and third grade during her first few years at the school, Niedermayer has been firmly entrenched as a kindergarten teacher in recent years and says she loves it.
“It’s a lifestyle and very different from anything else,” she says. “It’s fast-paced. I find it completely entertaining. You can be having the worst day, and at some point in the day, they’re going to make you laugh or challenge you. It’s very hard to be in a bad mood in kindergarten.”
Glen Lea sits in the shadows of Richmond International Raceway and serves one of the most economically challenged regions of the county. But, one colleague wrote in a nomination letter, “Ms. Niedermayer never uses this as an excuse; instead, it motivates her even more.”
Niedermayer feels a strong connection with her students – even after they’ve left her classroom.
“I’m not just interested in them in kindergarten,” she says. “I’m interested in the all the way through. I just feel like when I go to school every day it makes a difference. I feel like there’s lots that I can offer, and the kids offer just as much back. I need them as much as they need me.”
Many students don’t have the type of basic resources at home that might be taken for granted elsewhere, so Niedermayer takes it upon herself to help out.
She has organized an “angel tree” program through her church (Christ the King Lutheran Church) for several years during the winter holidays, during which church members purchase gifts for students who otherwise might not receive any. She’s also partnered with her church to help provide food to students who might otherwise go without.
“Just this past week, I observed her sending one of her kindergarteners home with a bag of food because she knew he was not getting enough to eat,” a nominator wrote.
To Niedermayer, it’s all just part of the responsibility that comes with being a teacher.
“In one day’s time you can go from being teacher, to mom, to nurse,” she says. “You’re not only an educator – a lot of times the love, the stability that you can provide is just as important.”
Niedermayer created a program at Glen Lea called Character Cinema, which rewards students who consistently display good character with an afternoon trip to the movies as a group.
“It creates excitement, it shows that their good character doesn’t go unnoticed,” she says. “Sometimes we’re in an environment where we pay more attention to the bad behavior than the good.”
Niedermayer also has served as the school’s computer contact, assisting other teachers with technology issues on a daily basis, and as the head of the school’s social committee, helping to celebrate the successes of others. And she organized and compiled a staff cookbook to sell at school events, using the money to buy treats for students during SOL testing.
But despite all she does at the school, Niedermayer’s favorite moments are those that need no explanation: Watching students’ reactions at the moment when a lesson suddenly makes sense. Then, she can’t always hold back her enthusiasm.
“Sometimes I’ll do a little dance and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy, and I say, ‘You’ll get it one day.’”
Emily Francis (left) of Richmond Green Drinks and Cary Jamieson of The Steward School checked out the cherry tomato crop Aug. 20 at the school's Bryan Innovation Lab following a visit by members of Green Drinks. Jamieson, director of the Bryan Innovation Lab, was among the speakers who pointed out various sustainable features of the building and its surroundings, including geothermal, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems, as well as rain gardens and large storage cisterns (like the one pictured) to minimize groundwater pollution. > Read more.
For the third consecutive year, the Canterbury Recreation Association in Short Pump donated the most meals to the fourth-annual "Dunk Hunger" campaign, which raises money and food donations for FeedMore's Central Virginia Food Bank. Swim teams and community pools throughout the region combined to raise the equivalent of 77,404 meals this year, with the Canterbury group earning the Gold Medal, with 17,454 meals contributed.
CRA will earn a winners’ bash Aug. 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at its pool on Pump Road.
“Our pool has adopted Dunk Hunger into its culture with fun ways to raise food and funds," said Canterbury’s Dunk Hunger chairman Jack McSorley, a Freeman High School junior. > Read more.
Henrico County has a lot to offer this Labor Day weekend! Before summer ends completely, you’ve got to try some Virginia wines at Southern Season’s weekly event, Fridays Uncorked. Check out The Comedy Dad, Alex Scott, at the Richmond Funny Bone or put your thinking caps on and take on The Escape Room. This weekend also features a two-day event at Malvern Hill and Carrington Kay at The Tin Pan. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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