Education

Henrico School Board selects redistricting Option E


JUNE 23, 10:30 A.M. – The Henrico County School Board Thursday concluded its latest redistricting process by selecting a plan for middle school redistricting that will impact a number of students in the western and northern parts of the county, as well as a few in Eastern Henrico.

The process sought to reduce overcrowding at Hungary Creek Middle School, create room at Wilder Middle School for a gifted academy and address the poverty level disparity among some middle schools. It will impact about 775 students, according to school system officials.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Judith Fitzpatrick

Judith Fitzpatrick is a 10-year, fourth-grade teaching veteran at Short Pump Elementary who has a unique teaching philosophy centered upon the individuality of each student. She works to have students discover what types of learners they are.

Fitzpatrick grew up in Washington state and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in sociology. Upon graduation she traveled with her military-based husband and taught in Washington, Berlin, Germany and Korea, but she stayed primarily focused on her family and raising her four sons.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Winslow Goodier

Although Winslow Goodier spent years as a chef, and excelled at it, he seems to have found his true calling in his second career: sharing those culinary gifts with young chefs-to-be.

A former executive chef at The Tobacco Company in Richmond, he also served as a chef at Hermitage Country Club, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital and The Chamberlin Hotel in Hampton – in addition to being a team chef with NASCAR. Named among the top 10 chefs in Richmond in 1999, he won Chef of the Year awards from the Virginia Chefs Association in 1995 and 1999.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Lyn Lunsford

Lyn Lunsford thinks of herself as a “one-trick pony” – someone for whom teaching was her only true career option. If that’s the case, she’s certainly made the most of it.

Lunsford, a longtime second-grade teacher at the Steward School, traces her interest in the profession to her mother, who taught high school history. That fostered a love of ancient history in her that shows itself even in her classroom with young students, when she introduces units about Mesopotamia and ancient Greece and Rome.

Lunsford attended St. Catherine’s School in Richmond for 12 years and has taught in public school systems in New Jersey and Virginia, in addition to Collegiate School. She found a home, however, at Steward because it allows her the opportunity to spend lots of individual time with each of her students.

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Vonita Giddings

Vonita Giddings has been teaching in one capacity or another since educating her dolls as a child. Her students these days are a bit more receptive to her instruction, however.

Giddings, a biology teacher at Henrico High School since 2006, also taught previously at Virginia State University for six years and at Fairfield Middle School for three years. Her love of biology has been a lifetime affair.

“I think it’s an innate interest,” she said. “I was the one who was trying to figure out how to save the little bird or bring little animals home. I see biology in everything, in everything. It can be there when I’m just hanging out with my kids, watching a cartoon – just about anything.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Alexandra Mendez-Zfass

While some might point to the challenging situations many Highland Springs E.S. students face at home as reasons why they may struggle to succeed academically, fourth-grade teacher Alex Mendez-Zfass seeks points of common ground in order to ensure that they do. And she calls upon her own at-times curious academic struggles as a reminder that there’s more to every student than meets the eye.

Though she achieved mostly high grades overall at the Collegiate School, they came with much difficulty, many test re-takes and despite poor writing grades that resulted in frequent meetings with teachers.

“My fourth-grade teacher was very instrumental in building up my confidence and making me realize that my brain was special the way it was wired. That gave me the confidence to work through it.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Erica Kagan

Erica Kagan always loved school and working with children. As an undergrad at VCU, she traveled to a number of Spanish-speaking countries, and her love for the Spanish language and culture was solidified.

It’s no surprise, then, that she’s living her dream each day as a Spanish teacher at Tuckahoe Middle School.

“Spanish is such a fun class to teach,” she said. “[The students] really enjoy it. It’s not just sitting and taking notes – we show videos, we do dances, we use online programs, we do projects that are relative to their lives.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Beverly Brown

Inspiration can come at any time, and in any form. For Beverly Brown, it came in a fourth-grade classroom.

Her teacher that year rewarded the class by reading another chapter from Little House on the Prarie aloud each time students behaved well.

“That made me excited,” Brown recalled. “I went through school with a love of history – reading and history. I wanted to instill that in children.”

Henrico’s Top Teachers – Beth Tubb

Beth Tubb has taught at the elementary, middle and high-school levels, but kindergarten is where she found her greatest passion.

Tubb most recently spent seven years at Ashe Elementary, including the last two as a kindergarten teacher.

“I really loved teaching kids to read,” she said. “In kindergarten, when you see that lightbulb go off in their heads – I never got tired of that. I feel like knowledge is power, and kindergarten is the most important year of all the years. Without reading, what else are you going to be able to accomplish?”

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June 2017
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