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.’”
The Central Virginia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosted its annual Walk Like MADD fundraiser April 12 at Dorey Park in Varina. More than 20 teams of walkers raised money from individual donors by participating in the walk, and in total the event generated more than $26,000 in donations for the organization. > Read more.
The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.
The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)
The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.
The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.
Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise
Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.
They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.
As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.
Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.
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