Top Teachers: Stephanie Tucker
Crestview E.S., preschool
Years spent working in the mortgage industry left Stephanie Tucker with a vacant feeling. During a drive past a Henrico school one day, she saw a sign inviting applications for an instructional assistant position. She interviewed and soon had a job at Crestview Elementary working in one of the school’s Head Start preschool classes (now known as Federal Programs Preschool).
“It was like a light bulb went on,” Tucker said.
Six years later, she realizes every day that she made the right decision.
“As a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. When I came back to that, I just knew this is where I needed to be.”
From her perch on the front line of preschool education, Tucker has seen the difference it can make for students.
“Preschool is such a critical age,” Tucker said. “You can turn on or turn off a child’s love of learning. If you’ve got a nurturing, safe environment, then you’re giving them one of the tools that they need to be successful.
“It’s really wonderful that the public is really embracing preschool as more than daycare.”
Though the program at Crestview, and those at other Henrico elementaries, pull students from different attendance zones, some of Tucker’s students have continued at Crestview. Several of her first students are now fifth-graders at the school whose continued development she has enjoyed watching.
“Mrs. Tucker rolls up her sleeves and brings joy and determination to the classroom,” one nominator wrote. “Her students are higher needs [students] but she does not see them as such. Her zest for engaging them is limitless.”
For Tucker, it’s a simple concept.
“Kids are kids, and their basic needs are that they want to be safe and happy, and they want to learn,” she said. “If you can provide that, then they’re successful.”
For the youngsters in her class, there is amazement in some of life’s simplest lessons, such as watching caterpillar larvae turn into butterflies or taking a nature walk.
“So many kids, depending on their background, that’s not happened in their life,” she said. “That’s a great experience. One of the neatest things about it is that kids that age are just ‘eyes wide open,’ unbiased about everything around them. Everything is exciting. I get so much from them by watching all those ‘ah-ha’ moments.
“One thing I think is important is that children absolutely deserve respect. They need to feel that they’re valued. Every child deserves that. Most times when you give a child respect, then you get that back from them.”
Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.
The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.
Beautiful fall weather is back this weekend! Don’t leave your favorite pooch at home – take the whole family to Canine Companions’ DogFest Walk ‘n Roll at West Broad Village or FETCH a Cure’s annual Mutt Strutt at Deep Run Park. Pets are also welcome at this weekend’s Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Halloween events taking place Sunday include the University of Richmond’s 18th annual Trick or Treat Street and Goblins and Gourds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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Oct. 20, 2016Click here to read the print edition.
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CalendarThe Henrico Education Foundation will present an “Evening with Henry Winkler” from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Glen Allen High School. The evening will include remarks and conversation with Winkler, coffee and dessert, a book sale and signing. Winkler is best known for his role as Fonzie on the popular 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” and his fictional young adult book series, “Hank Zipzer.” Individual tickets are $25 and tables of eight are $150. For details, call 652-3869 x3 or visit http://www.henricofoundation.org. Full text