Henrico’s Top Teachers – Molly Guerrant

Because she has always loved children, Molly Guerrant grew up knowing her career would involve working with kids.

At first, she assumed that she would become a classroom teacher. But while she was student teaching, Guerrant discovered that what she liked best was talking with students, encouraging them, and helping them with problems.

Today, after two years as school counselor at Arthur Ashe, Guerrant says, "I cannot imagine doing anything else. . . I not only have the awesome privilege of caring for these children, I also benefit from them. They teach me how to be a better person."

Guerrant is the first to tell you that the job is not without its challenges. Being a Title One school, Arthur Ashe has many children who come to school hungry, and are "pre-occupied with where their next meal is coming from." Other children are struggling with relationships or difficult home lives, or are dealing with the death of a family member. One student she counseled was fighting the urge to harm herself or even take her own life.

"There are many times I wish I could take their pain away," Guerrant says. "Being a school counselor can be emotionally draining – but it is oh so rewarding."

One of her more rewarding moments occurred after she counseled a student who felt isolated and was having problems connecting with his peers. The student eventually told Guerrant that he now felt comfortable coming to school – "because he knew he had a safe place to go, and that place was my office."

Guerrant also cherishes a long thank-you letter she received from the student who had been suicidal, after she moved on to middle school. "She was able to find a more positive perspective in an unfavorable home environment," Guerrant says, "and discover life was worth living."

An admirer who wrote to nominate Guerrant marveled that at 27 years old and in only two years at Ashe, the counselor has transformed the school. Partnering with Feedmore, she implemented a program that allows students who lack a consistent home food supply to take backpacks with them on Friday containing nourishment for the weekend.

To help the children who have trouble concentrating on schoolwork due to hunger, Guerrant began an open-door food pantry in her office. Students know that when in need of food, they can go to the pantry and take canned food, tuna packs, granola bars and fruit – no questions asked. Just before Christmas, she also rounded up food and small gifts for families in need and delivered them.

Her nominator notes that while the school and Feedmore help with funds for food programs, Guerrant often contributes her own money, and adds that in addition to mothering her "Ashe children," Guerrant is foster mother to a young girl. Another program she initiated is "Leader of the Month," which recognizes a student along with family members at a breakfast at the school. She has also implemented a yoga program with "mindful" minutes to help the students develop control of their emotions.

"I love getting to be creative and implementing new programs and ideas," says Guerrant, who is quick to credit "the unwavering support" of the school's principal, family advocate, fellow teachers and school community for the success of various initiatives. It is that community support that allows Guerrant to pursue what she sees as her calling: "to unmask the talents in every child – especially those who might fall through the cracks.

"I can say without any hesitation," Guerrant continues, "that I love my job and enjoy coming to work every day primarily because of the children. I feed off their energy and love them all as if they were my own."
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The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

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The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

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In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

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State honors EMS officials this week

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The Henrico Police Faith Community Coalition will meet from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Rd. The topic will be Home Safety & Security. All faith community leaders are welcome. No registration is required. For details, call 501-4838. Full text

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