Henrico’s Top Teachers – Roxanne Buff

Don’t make plans with Roxanne Buff on Labor Day afternoon – she’ll be busy, regardless of which year you had in mind.

Buff will be spending her time on the phone that day, calling the parents of each of her incoming kindergarten students on the afternoon before a new school year begins.

“This family is sending me their most prized possession, their greatest gift, and they’re trusting me to care for that child for the next five months,” Buff said. “I call all my parents just to make sure they don’t have any last-minute questions. I can only imagine – especially with the first one and the last one – how emotional it is for those parents.”

Buff concludes each call by speaking her with her soon-to-be students.

“I tell them, ‘Don’t let Mom and Dad come to school yet – we want to have all the fun!’”

The calls hold significant meaning for many of the parents on the other end.

“It was such a scary and exciting time,” one wrote in a letter nominating Buff, “and this just really added a personal more comfortable touch to it. She even made a relaxing, cute, and thoughtful care baggie for the parents to open after the kids were off to school on the first day.”

For Buff, who has taught for more than 20 years at several schools in the region (including the last 15 at Springfield Park Elementary), students are her “precious people.” With no children of her own, she focuses all of her efforts on them.

“This is my love,” she said. “I love these kids. They come in, they love school, their eyes are just wide open to the world. They just absorb everything you say.”

She sends each incoming kindergartner home from a summer open house event with a bag of “magic confetti” to put by their beds the night before the first day of school, promising that it will help calm their nerves and excitement so they can fall asleep.

Buff, a product of Henrico County Public Schools, got her start as a teacher partly by accident. While trying to decide where to attend graduate school, following her graduation from Randolph Macon College, Buff worked as a part-time assistant in her mother’s kindergarten class at Luther Memorial School. She ended up staying for four years while completing a master’s degree in education instruction at VCU.

Her class at Springfield Park incorporates music, imagination and lots of fun. This month, they’ve watched with wonder as baby chicks hatched, tadpoles turned into frogs and butterflies emerged from cocoons.

On the last day of school each year, Buff reads her students Love You Forever, a book that exemplifies how she feels about them.

“I cry through the whole thing,” she said.

Last year, as she read it and told her students that it was the last day of school, one little girl looked up, bewildered.

“She said, ‘What? It’s over? We didn’t do any work all year!’ They were having so much fun, she didn’t realize they were learning,” Buff said.
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June 2017
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Lavender Fields Herb Farm, 11300 Winfrey Rd. in Glen Allen, will offer the class “Lavender Wand” at 10 a.m. June 9-10. Use fresh lavender from the field to make a lavender wand. As your wand dries, you will continue to enjoy its beautiful look and smell. The class is approximately one hour and is designed for adults. Cost is $20. For details, call 262-7167 or visit http://www.lavenderfieldsfarm.com. Full text

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