Henrico’s Top Teachers – Danny Nicholas

Danny Nicholas was about the same age as his current middle school students – and having a rough go of it – when he experienced first-hand the positive impact that a caring teacher can have on a troubled adolescent.

"My parents had just gotten divorced," Nicholas recalls, "and I had a lot of anger issues that resulted from so many new changes."

Although he was failing many of his classes, his English teacher reached out to him, helping him see that he was capable of doing the work. His grades improved that year, he says, largely because of Ms. Bryant. "She really made me believe that I could achieve anything, and that nothing was wrong with me but my confidence."

At the end of the year, the teacher gave him one of his favorite books from the Choose Your Own Adventure series. It was inscribed with the words, “To my little genius."

"That really affected me," Nicholas says.

Today, a big part of his job is encouraging students just as Ms. Bryant encouraged him. His biggest challenge in the classroom, he says, is getting students "to realize their own potential, and believe they can shape a world that at times seems so big."

A nominator wrote that Nicholas is passionate about his belief that every student can learn, and notes that his students' accomplishments are a testament to the fact that he goes "above and beyond" in his work.

Despite his many duties (in addition to teaching, he assists in bus administration, and has worked to streamline afternoon bus dismissal), Nicholas is never too busy for students, the nominator says. He always has time to help them with problems both personal and academic, and often gives students a hug or pat on the back for a job well done.

Nicholas calls becoming a teacher "one of the best decisions I have ever made concerning myself and my life" – even if, like most teachers, he is never truly away from the job.

"Teachers are teachers 100 percent of the time, not just from 8:00 to 3:30," he says. "They are constantly planning, thinking about the kids they teach, looking for new ideas to bring to the class, and worrying about the ones they feel they can’t reach."

Anyone going into the profession, Nicholas believes, should accept that it can be all-consuming – because "a true teacher touches every part of a young person’s life, not just the history or math part."

After 13 years at Wilder, Nicholas occasionally hears from students he has touched, and enjoys getting hugs, smiles and updates from WMS students who have gone on to college. Last year, he had an especially memorable encounter while at Kings Dominion with some eighth graders. He was hailed by a student he had taught and coached seven years ago, who told him that he'd thought about Nicholas and his class long after middle school – and that the experience inspired him to major in history.

"He loved how much fun we had learning new facts and concepts about the world, and decided he wanted to do the same.

"That," says Nicholas, "made me feel on top of the world."
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

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.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

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.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

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

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

May 2017

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The American Legion Post 233, 8088 Recreation Rd. in Varina, will host a free Music Jam at 5 p.m. every fourth Thursday of the month. Featuring country gospel and bluegrass music. Anyone is welcome to play or sing. Food and drinks are available for purchase. For details, call Wayne Gilbert at 572-3124. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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