Henrico County VA
Henrico's Top Teachers - 2011

Honoring 20 who make a difference

Teachers are a special breed. They are driven by a love of learning and a desire to impact young lives.

They spend countless hours devising lesson plans, working individually with students before and after school. They volunteer their time to assist with school activities and often spend their own money for supplies or rewards for a job well done. They make personal sacrifices of time, money and sometimes family to do what they do.

Top Teachers: Todd Ritter

It was a circuitous path that led Todd Ritter to his job teaching drama and technical theatre at Henrico High.

But after 11 years, he still views it as “the best job in the world.”

Top Teachers: Ryan Stein

There’s been a revolution at Pinchbeck Elementary. Take a moment and let the fourth-grade parents tell you about it:

“My daughter always complained about going to school until this year,” said one. “Now she can’t wait to go and she is so excited about what she is learning.”

Top Teachers: Matt Togna

All teachers have their share of embarrassing moments, and Matt Togna is not shy about sharing a memorable one of his – which occurred during his first months of teaching.

Top Teachers: Chris Tickle

In Chris Tickle’s class at The Steward School, students can never be sure who might show up to teach a lesson.

One day it might be “Augustus Porcularis,” an ancient Roman pig farmer who teaches Roman numerals.

Top Teachers: Annette Hodges

As a student teacher in inner-city Philadelphia, one of Annette Hodges’ first assignments was to work with a Spanish-speaking youngster named Oscar.

“They sent him to me and said, ‘If you can just teach him a couple words of English, great.’ And I thought, Why only a couple?”

Top Teachers: Blair Flynn

Parents of students in Blair Flynn’s second-grade class at Nuckols Farm Elementary don’t have to wonder what their children are doing during class – they just need to check their e-mail inbox.

There, they’ll often find updates and photos of their kids that Flynn has snapped through the Photo Booth program on her laptop and e-mailed to their parents.

Top Teachers: Philip Riddle

As a child, Philip Riddle noticed that many of the adults he knew spoke of work as if it were a burden.

At the same time, he noticed that many of his teachers relished their jobs – radiating joy in the way that they interacted with students, presented subject matter and provided extra help to those who needed it.

Top Teachers: Janet Givens

Officially, Janet Givens teaches first grade at Echo Lake Elementary School. Unofficially, she teaches creativity.

Givens’ classroom is a wonderland of ingenuity, a place where students learn the same lessons in a multitude of different ways. Students often lead their peers in lessons on her classroom Promethean board or create scrapbooks from field trip experiences. Mind-bender games challenge their knowledge.

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Henrico's Top Teachers