Education

Middle school redistricting process to be delayed


The start of a redistricting process that could alleviate crowded conditions at Hungary Creek Middle School is on hold for another seven months or so while Henrico County Public Schools officials first consider the possible implementation of new instructional programs at the middle school level.

The Henrico School Board had hoped to begin the redistricting process this fall, but Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Beth Teigen told the board last week that it wouldn't make sense to start yet. That's because officials are weighing the possibility of establishing special "academies" at some middle schools to provide focused instruction in several topics – potentially including leadership, coding and/or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Lauren Byrd

Outside Lauren Byrd’s classroom, it’s not uncommon to hear laughter through the door.

Byrd, 47, is a coach, facilitator, lecturer and comedic relief for her seventh- and eighth-grade English students at George H. Moody Middle School. Byrd brings the subject to life through a learning style that relies heavily on exposing students to classics, highlighting universal human themes and engaging interdisciplinary units with literature, history and media.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Shamiya Bell

Shamiya Bell fell in love with the idea of teaching when she was in third grade in Tennessee. Her teacher, Mrs. Casey, pushed her to do her best and encouraged her. She was strict, but fun.

“I just never forgot that grade – or her,” Bell recalled recently. “I always wanted to teach third grade.

So when Bell graduated from VCU as an education major with a master’s degree in the field as well, there was little doubt about which grade she would teach.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Rebecca Morrish

It’s no surprise that Rebecca Morrish’s office is a classroom.

“I always wanted to be a teacher ever since I knew what a teacher was,” she said. “Every year since kindergarten, I pretty much fell in love with my teacher and said ‘I’m going to grow up to be just like you.’”

But it was her geometry teacher in high school in New York, Mrs. Seasley, who inspired her ultimate career path.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Ann Marie Benson

Ann Marie Benson began her journey at Weinstein JCC as a parent volunteer and has transformed into a 19-year preschool teaching veteran who also serves as the early morning childcare coordinator. At the JCC, she is able to combine her passion for working with children and her faith.

Benson is a graduate of Wilkes University but believes her education will never be complete when it comes to teaching. She learns something new every day from her children, co-workers, workshops, lectures and conferences and continues to take college courses each summer in early childhood education.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – David Savino

David Savino, 38-year teaching veteran at Hermitage High School, created a legacy when he started a 20th Century history class in 1986 that aimed to teach students the story of the 20th (and 21st) centuries and provide them with context for current events. The course is now taught in every high school in the county, viewed as an important supplement to the U.S. history SOL exams, and has remained one of the most sought-after and popular classes at Hermitage High School despite not being required for graduation.

There’s a reason why.

For many of Savino’s students, it’s simply his ability to make history interesting and relatable.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Erica Whiting

Erica Whiting, 27, followed the family tradition and became a preschool teacher like her mother. Whiting teaches at Glen Lea Elementary School, where she works with eager and energetic preschoolers who are ready to soak up everything.

Whiting graduated from James Madison University in 2011 with a degree in early childhood education and credited her time there with developing her knowledge.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Robin Ricketts

Rare is the teacher with 30 years of experience who actively embraces the newest forms of technology. Rarer still is the teacher with such credentials who thrives on such advances.

Robin Ricketts, then, is something of a teaching unicorn. As the director of JK-12 technology at the Steward School for the past five years, she has overseen the integration of technology into the course loads of every Steward student. She also teaches technology from junior kindergarten through third grade.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Kofi Acheampong

As a young teen growing up in Ghana, Kofi Acheampong taught his mother English. Little did he know that the experience would prepare him – in two ways – for his own future.

Acheampong’s family moved to the United States when he was 15, settling in Alexandria. Though the adjustment was a significant one, it was made easier by his proficiency on the soccer field, where he excelled.

“That was my way of making new friends,” he recalled.

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