Henrico County VA

Kindergartners offer thoughts on Thanksgiving

In preparation for Thanksgiving, the Citizen asked several Sandston Elementary School classes to answer questions about the holiday. Their responses appear here. (Special thanks to the school, Henrico County Public Schools and the teachers and administrators at Sandston E.S. for their assistance in this effort.)

Henrico’s Top Teachers – James Milcarek

Looking back, James Milcarek will tell you that the seeds of his teaching career were planted when he was a fifth-grader in a suburban Pittsburgh, Pa. school – and his world seemed to be falling apart.

"My parents were divorcing. It was ugly. My grades were up and down," Milcarek recalled.

But two special teachers made school a haven for him.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Gardner Mundy

Thanks to his father, who took him on weekend adventures exploring historic sites, Gardner Mundy acquired an early interest in history. An English history teacher and a cross country coach in high school also had considerable influence in his decision to become an educator.

After obtaining a degree in history from Virginia Military Institute and a masters in history from University of Richmond, Mundy taught and coached at Wyoming Seminary and Fork Union Military Academy. He also served as assistant to the superintendent at VMI before joining The Steward School faculty in the fall of 2004.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – John Jeter

John Jeter didn’t need any help finding his classroom on his first day as an exceptional education teacher at Tuckahoe Middle School six years ago – he’d attended class in it as a gifted and talented student at Tuckahoe years earlier.

“It is unusual coming back to your school,” he said, with a chuckle. “When I came back [as a teacher], there were four or five teachers here that I had had as a student, and one is still here.”

But the return has been a meaningful one for Jeter, who spent six years teaching exceptional education at Fairfield Middle School before moving to Tuckahoe.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Elizabeth Clark

Elizabeth Clark decided she wanted to become a science teacher in seventh grade. She traces her motivation to the influence of some excellent teachers she had as a youngster – and also to some who were less than stellar.

“I had some absolutely wonderful teachers that I really looked up to and still keep in touch with today,” she said, “and some terrible teachers who made me want to go into the field too, thinking, ‘Boy, I’ve got to be able to do it better than you can and make science fun.’”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Cheryl Waite

Cheryl Waite starts every day by hugging a group of bright-eyed and eager kindergarten students at Glen Allen Elementary – something she never would have expected.

“I would have never dreamed I would be a teacher,” Waite said with a laugh. “I was always the kid that was fine with flying beneath the radar and did fine in school, I was kind of content with going by with ease. Teaching kind of found me.”

After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in health sciences, Waite wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her career.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Kathryn Costley

Kathryn Costley turned a career as a social worker into one as a teacher who works with special needs students.

Costley, who is in her first year as a Henrico teacher, works with exceptional education students at Highland Springs High School who have mild to moderate physical or intellectual disabilities. She previously taught special education in Charles City County for more than a decade, following a career switch that occurred unexpectedly.

“I was in a master’s/doctoral program to get my degree in social work and started substitute teaching, fell in love and was offered an emergency teaching certificate,” she said. Fourteen years later, she knows she made the right choice.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Angela Brittingham

Angela Brittingham is a 16-year teaching veteran of fourth-grade at Pemberton Elementary, who has established a well-known presence and made an impact with students, teachers and faculty as she fulfills her goal of being the best teacher she can be.

“Growing up I never really had a favorite teacher,” said Brittingham.”I wanted to teach because I feel like I could be better than what I had and do things differently. I have two children, and I try to be the teacher I would want them to have. That’s my driving force to keep my attitude right and how I treat my students.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Anne Lundberg

Anne Lundberg’s goal every day as a Latin teacher at Glen Allen High School is to push students to realize the real world context that the language she loves can offer.

While attending Catholic School in Illinois, Lundberg enrolled in a Latin class that was taught by the principal of the school. Although she was nervous about the course, he taught the language in a way that sparked a desire for her to learn more.

Lundberg attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and continued taking more Latin courses. When an advisor suggested she teach Latin, she agreed.

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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