Henrico County VA
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Education

Whither the Book Bowl?

Parents petition to reinstate popular fifth-grade event
Parents are frustrated, an online petition has garnered almost 500 signatures, School Board members have voiced their concerns, and now there are plans to hold a public meeting the week after spring break to discuss a contentious issue.

The Henrico County Book Bowl has many in the community up in arms – specifically, the recent plan to discontinue the program after 24 years.

So what exactly is the Book Bowl?

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Bev Lanier

Bev Lanier was two years removed from college with a degree in English and a strong desire to teach. But despite sending applications to a number of local school systems, she’d heard nothing back. So one August afternoon, she picked up the phone and called Henrico County’s Central Office to ask if there were any vacant positions.

“The person told me to hold on, and then somebody got back on the phone and asked if I could come in three hours for an interview. Of course I said yes.”

The only problems: Lanier had nothing formal to wear and didn’t own a car. She borrowed her sister’s car, drove to Carytown and bought a dress in time for the interview.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Amy El-Khouri

Amy El-Khouri’s passion for singing and music began early in her childhood when she sang for church choirs, played piano and even ran rehearsals in high school when her teacher was absent. At 37 years old she has transformed her passion into an impactful career that allows her to use her talents and be surrounded by what she loves as the choral director at Deep Run High School.

“Music and choir was the place I felt most connected,” said El-Khouri. “I had some really fantastic music teachers that helped me grow and gave me confidence, and I wanted to give that to other people. If you’ve been performing long enough, you realize teaching is just a different type of performance.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Skip Stevens

You might say that teaching runs in Lewis “Skip” Stevens’ family. So does athletics. And coaching.

Stevens, a physical education teacher at Holman Middle School, is a product of Henrico County Public Schools whose mother, Penny Stevens, has taught P.E. at Godwin High School during two separate stints. His older sister, Stacy Hilton, is a third-grade teacher at Maude Trevvett Elementary School, and her husband, Eric Hilton, teaches fifth grade there.

And Stevens’ brother, Bucky, teaches business at Byrd Middle School.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Darla Perry

Darla Perry has been fascinated by the way people communicate since meeting a classmate in high school who had a stuttering problem. Her desire to help those in similar situations, coupled with her love of children, led her to a lengthy and varied career as an educator, which has included time as a consultant, direct care provider and educational trainer, as well as a teacher.

She landed in Henrico County eight years ago when a position at Rivers Edge Elementary School’s Social Integrated Services Program opened. The program is one of a handful of elementary “hubs” in Henrico for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. Perry works with 10 students in kindergarten, first and second grades, helping them to transition from life at home to a new environment in school.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Dawn Nadeau

In Dawn Nadeau’s free time she gardens, paints and fixes old furniture. As someone drawn to the beauty of watching things grow, adapting along the way and making an impact creatively, it is a reflection of her true passion of teaching children.

"I always knew teaching was something that I wanted to do,” said Nadeau. “My whole family was teachers, and I come from a long line of educators, principals and counselors, which has been a drive for me. I just absolutely love children, and I kept getting pulled towards teaching.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Brandon McFarling

An avid guitarist from the age of 15, Brandon McFarling originally thought he might go into musical theater as a career. Not only did he enjoy playing in a band as a teenager, but he was able to use his musical talents to academic advantage. One notable high school teacher, Sharon Conner Hayden, allowed him to perform a song about Catcher in the Rye instead of submitting a paper – and gave him an A on the assignment.

It wasn't until he worked for the Boys and Girls Club in Martinsville that he began to consider teaching. Not only were the young children at the Club excited about learning – which sparked his interest in ways to make learning fun – but he also saw that he could influence young boys in particular.

Deep Run marathon dance raises record $254,221

The eighth annual Deep Run Marathon Dance may have exhausted the hundreds of high school students who participated, but it provided an invigorating boost to 12 charities. The 27-hour Deep Run High School event raised $254,221, bringing its eight-year fundraising total to $1.36 million. The amount is a new one-year record for the dance. The Deep Run Marathon Dance ranks no. 2 nationally in fundraising for such events.

Participating students checked in on Friday night, March 14 and left 27 hours later. The participants take breaks and have the option to sleep for two hours.

HCPS assistant principal named to national “20 to Watch” list

Byrd Middle School Assistant Principal Jennifer Maddux recently was named to the national “20 to Watch” list of prominent education technology leaders by the National School Board Association (NSBA). The annual award goes to educators who “inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions” and increase efficiency, according to the NSBA.

The organization said Maddux has “brought life and energy” to Byrd. The judges cited her experience as an instructional technology resource teacher, which equipped her to create a suite of online resources and coach teachers in creating engaging, student-centered instruction.

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