Henrico County VA
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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: Katie Schwieder

On their 20th wedding anniversary, Katie Schwieder and her husband, Wylie, had an epiphany. She had spent her professional life as a banker and corporate trainer, he as a corporate executive. But with their four children finished or nearly finished with their public schooling, Schwieder said, “we decided it was time to give back.”

Top Teachers: Jill Morris

On her first day as a teacher, Jill Morris stood outside her classroom door, greeting children with a wide smile as they came down the hallway. One little girl stopped, looked up at Morris, then looked down. . . and threw up on Morris’ shoes.

It was an inauspicious start, to be sure, but it didn’t faze the young teacher.

Top Teachers: Emily Mason

Emily Mason felt a simple calling to life as a teacher.

“I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life,” she said.

Top Teachers: Lance Teillon

When Lance Teillon considered his next step post-retirement following 20 years in the U.S. Navy, he didn’t have to look far for ideas. His wife’s occupation – English teacher – provided ample inspiration. “It seemed like a worthwhile and fulfilling second career,” he recalled.

Top Teachers: Debbie Waldenmaier

As a sixth-grader in Brentwood, N.Y., Debbie Waldenmaier struggled with reading and had difficulty grasping some concepts that didn’t involve visual or audible elements. But her teacher spent extra time with her and helped create new ways for her to learn that eventually allowed her to thrive.

Top Teachers: Mesa Hinkle

Mesa Hinkle found her inspiration as a student inside a Henrico County elementary school. Today, she shares it with her own students inside a Henrico County elementary school. Hinkle has spent 29 years as part of the county’s public school system – 13 as a student at Trevvett, Brookland Middle and Hermitage High and 16 as a teacher.

Top Teachers: Samuel Turner

Growing up, Samuel Turner always assumed that he would follow the family military tradition and end up in a job in which he designed or built airplanes, tanks and helicopters, or perhaps joined the Military Corps of Engineers.

But a Saturday morning during his senior year of high school changed all that.

Top Teachers: Erin Bourne

Erin Bourne is willing to concede that the future employment opportunities of her current algebra students are unlikely to depend upon their abilities to solve quadratic equations on the spot.

But, they may depend upon their abilities to solve problems.

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Henrico's Top Teachers