Henrico’s Top Teachers – Doug Wright

Doug Wright took up teaching as a second career, after working as a musician for several years.

He considered becoming a probation officer instead of teaching, since he had gotten to know some criminals in the music industry.  But eventually, he says, he ended up studying French – “because it sounded like music to me.”

Wright credits some special college professors for steering him into teaching –  and 29 years later, it’s evident the career he chose is a fitting one.

“When students tell me they are thinking about being a teacher, I tell them it’s the best job you’ll ever have,” he says.  “And it’s the worst job you will ever have.”

While the difficult moments include sharing the pain of children struggling with abusive family members, low self-esteem, and grief, to Wright the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.  He says he especially enjoys seeing a struggling student finally mastering a difficult concept, and watching shy children grow into confident young men and women.

He cites among his favorite memories the night he took a group of students – most of them low-income – to dinner at a French restaurant, and one student took half his dinner home to show his mother.

“He and his family had never been to a restaurant before,” says Wright.  “It was quite touching.”

Wright adds that like most teachers, he also cherishes the chance encounters with grown-up former students and hearing that he made a difference in their lives.  “It’s special,” he says.

A parent who nominated Wright indicated that at least one current sixth-grader is sure to be part of that future fan club long after she has left Short Pump M.S.

“My sixth grader does not love going to school,” wrote the parent – but noted that Wright’s classes are the exception.

“[His classes] are the only classes my daughter ever talks about when she’s at home . . and in each and every instance she is smiling [as she does],” said the parent.  “That is not the case in most of her other subjects.”

Wright uses different voices, tells stories, and truly engages students as he brings the subject to life.  “[He] makes learning easier and fun – and my sixth-grader is all about fun!” wrote the parent.

“I’m thrilled because each and every day my child who typically doesn’t want to go to school gets up and goes with excitement because . . . Mr. Wright connects with her.”

Of course, as Wright will attest, connecting with students is not always about making lessons fun; there are also times when his charges require discipline and “stern redirecting.”

When those students respond by claiming that he is not their friend, Wright’s reply neatly sums up his philosophy that teaching is about taking the long view.         

“That’s right,” he tells the student in need of discipline.  “I’m not your friend, I’m your teacher. Your friend only cares about today.

“Your teacher cares about the rest of your life.”
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Henrico Schools to host College and Career Night Nov. 1

Students of all ages are invited to investigate options for life after high school at Henrico County Public Schools’ 2017 College and Career Night. The annual countywide event offers a chance to talk with representatives of more than 100 universities, colleges and professional programs, as well as about 50 representatives of career options such as businesses and branches of the military.

College and Career Night will take place Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Henrico High School, 302 Azalea Ave. > Read more.

Business in brief

Henrico-based nonprofit Commonwealth Autism recently received the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing its accreditation program. Commonwealth Autism voluntarily opened itself to analysis by a peer review team during the last 18 months that examined the organization’s compliance with the “Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.” These standards cover areas such as: mission, strategy and evaluation; leadership – board, staff and volunteers; legal compliance and ethics; finance and operations; resource development; and public awareness, engagement and advocacy. Commonwealth Autism was one of six organizations in the Richmond region to be recognized and the first in the region to achieve full accreditation. In addition to this accreditation, Commonwealth Autism is recognized as an Accredited Charity with the Richmond Better Business Bureau and holds accreditation from the Code of Ethics for Behavioral Organizations (COEBO). > Read more.

Purify Infrared Sauna opens at GreenGate

Purify Infrared Sauna recently opened its second Henrico location at GreenGate Shopping Center in Short Pump.

Owner Mary Woodbridge opened her first Purify location on Patterson Avenue in July 2015. The new store is located at 301 Maltby Boulevard, Suite C, west of Short Pump Town Center. > Read more.

Henrico Master Gardener training program accepting applications through Oct. 27

The Henrico County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for its next volunteer Master Gardener training program, which provides instruction in all aspects of horticulture.

Applications for the 2018 training program will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 27. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 16 through March 22. > Read more.

Henrico Schools to host Oct. 30 job fair

Henrico Schools will host a job fair Oct. 30.

The event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fairfield branch library, is designed to attract potential full-time and substitute registered nurses, instructional assistants, bus drivers and school nutrition workers. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

October 2017

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ChamberRVA Henrico will hold a breakfast meeting from 7:15 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Reynolds Community College Workforce Development & Conference Center, 1651 E. Parham Rd. The featured speakers are Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw and Director of Henrico Career & Technical Education Mac Beaton. They will update the business community on Henrico schools with a special focus on the county's efforts in workforce development and career readiness. To register, visit http://tinyurl.com/ChamberRVAbreakfast. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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