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The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Leadership seek to recognize principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. Four principals are publicly recognized, one in each school district of the metropolitan area (i.e. the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the City of Richmond). Each award consists of a $7,500 cash grant to the principal and an additional $7,500 for school projects chosen by the principal.
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Peter Paul Development Center supports residents in the East End of Richmond and educates its students by equipping them to serve as positive contributors to their family, community and society. The grant will help complete the organization’s 5,000 square foot capital expansion campaign, nearly doubling the number of children served through its onsite academic program.
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Each year, as spring weather takes hold and the school year winds down, the R.E.B Foundation and The Community Foundation are proud to announce the latest recipients of the R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership. Four principals – one each from Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond Public Schools – are honored with grants of $15,000 in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to creating an exceptional learning environment through creative and engaging opportunities for their students, staff and community. Half of the award is designated for school projects, as outlined by the principal in their written proposal.
Congratulations to the 2017 winners:
Jennifer Rudd, Bellwood Elementary School, Chesterfield
To create a parent resource center within the school.
Caroline Harris, Oak Knoll Middle School, Hanover
To convert the traditional library into a “libratory” that includes designated space for hands-on learning, access to technology and flexible instruction space.
Melissa Halquist-Pruden, Glen Allen Elementary School, Henrico
To enhance the school’s outdoor learning space.
Indira Williams, Ginter Park Elementary School, Richmond
To create innovation stations to engage students in creative STEM activities.
The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership was created in 2004 as a complement to the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence, which has recognized more than 700 public school teachers from the metro Richmond region since 1988.
To learn how to nominate your favorite principal, check out the program overview.
PAST WINNERS (most recent listed first)
Sarah Fraher, Manchester Middle School
Deborah Marks, Clover Hill High School
Stephen Cunningham, Matoaca High School
Brenda Mayo, Cosby High School
Jaime Accashian, Chesterfield Community High School
Bessie Cooper, Bensley Elementary School
Peter Koste, Manchester High School
Joyce Lanier, Evergreen Elementary School
David Sovine, Monacan High School
John Titus, James River High School
Nancy Disharoon, Stonewall Jackson Middle School
Leah Finch, John M. Grandy Elementary School
Rhonda Epling, Pole Green Elementary School
Amy Woodword, Mechanicsville Elementary School
Debbie Arco, Chickahominy Middle School
S. Scott Baker, Chickahominy Middle School
Vincent D’Agostino, Atlee High School
Teresa Keck, Henry Clay Elementary School
Patricia Miller, Gandy Elementary School
Paul Vecchione, Patrick Henry High School
Katina Otey, Ridge Elementary School
Herbert Monroe, Lakeside Elementary School
Sharon Pope, Harry F. Byrd Middle School
Andrew Armstrong, John Rolfe Middle School
Elizabeth Armbruster, Hungary Creek Middle School
Pamela Bell, Jacob Adams Elementary School
Ingrid Grant, Ratcliff Elementary School
Tracie Omohundro, Varina High School
William Parker, Henrico High School
Aaron Spence, Deep Run High School
Kiwana Yates, Carver Elementary School
Rosalind Taylor, Woodville Elementary School
Brenda Phillips, John B. Cary Elementary School
Willie Bell, John Wythe High School
Thomas Beatty, former principal of Thompson Middle School
Beverly Britt, John Marshall High School
J. Austin Brown, Huguenot High School
David Hudson, Linwood Holton Elementary School
Michael Kight, Albert Hill Elementary School
Irene Williams, Fairfield Court Elementary School
The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership seek to recognize public school principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. Every year, four principals are selected for this achievement – one each from the Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and the City of Richmond school districts. They each receive a $10,000 cash grant and an additional $20,000 to support a project of their choosing to benefit the school. New in 2021, a runner-up from each district will also receive a $10,000 award to support their proposed school project.
The following principals were selected as the 2021 winners:
LaShante’ Knight, Salem Church Middle School (Chesterfield)
With her R.E.B. Award, Ms. Knight will create a Learning Lab for Teachers, providing a permanent professional learning space; a Resource Center for Parents where workshops such as Conversational Spanish and English will be offered and career support will be accessible; and a Real-World Connections Amphitheater for Students providing access to virtual field trips, student leadership conferences, and guest speakers.
Lisa Thompson, Washington Henry Elementary School (Hanover)
With her R.E.B. Award, Ms. Thompson will create a sustainable outdoor learning environment that will become a permanent footprint of Washington-Henry Elementary. A student “task force” will design the outdoor classroom plan to share with teachers and families, allowing input and feedback from multiple stakeholders.
Ryan Stein, Greenwood Elementary School (Henrico)
With his R.E.B. Award, Mr. Stein will enact KinderGator Camp, a 5-week summer in-person experience open to all rising 1st graders at Greenwood Elementary School. KinderGator Camp will aim to re-engage young learners to the in-person educational environment, where students will work with master teachers who provide a robust focus on connection, literacy, and social and emotional development.
Latonya Waller, T.C. Boushall Middle School (Richmond)
With her R.E.B. Award, Ms. Waller will create a Next Century School Learning Classroom that will offer a state-of-the-art learning space with augmented reality, video conferencing, and AV production capabilities. The complementary Next Century School Learning Lab will expand the small mobile MakerSpace cart into a full learning lab, designed to be highly interactive with all the materials that support true inquiry-based instruction and problem-based learning.
The following candidates were selected as runners up and will receive a $10,000 award to support their proposed school project:
Lindsay Porzio, Crestwood Elementary School (Chesterfield)
To construct a new greenhouse, pour a concrete slab and walkway to comply with the ADA, and install a safety fence around the area.
Leigh Finch, John M. Gandy Elementary School (Hanover)
To enhance the current House system to include sister school, Henry Clay Elementary School, as they prepare to merge into one school in the coming years. Assigning students to “houses” helps them develop relationships with other students and teachers in different grades.
Leigh Dunavant, Mills E. Godwin High School (Henrico)
To bolster continuous school improvement at Godwin High School, this award will support a partnership with New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning, providing a variety of professional learning opportunities to teachers and resources to conduct an all-faculty book study on Dive into Deep Learning: Tools for Engagement.
Tiawana Giles, George W. Carver Elementary School (Richmond)
To build capacity in science through the purchase of Science Foss Kits for all 4th and 5th grade teachers and science lab coats for teachers, as well as implement parent engagement nights focused on Science.
(RICHMOND, VA) – The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognize 30 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2016 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 102 nominations submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 17 winners and 13 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,850.
This year’s awards are bittersweet with the recent loss of the program’s benefactor, Rudy Bunzl. Together with his wife Esther, Rudy was a faithful champion for public education and believed that strong teachers are pivotal to its success. The R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence is among their most notable and continuous contributions in philanthropy, distributing $3.4 million in professional development grants to over 740 public school teachers since 1988.
“The Bunzls have touched countless lives through this unique program,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and CEO of The Community Foundation. “In a profession that is often under-recognized, their vision has made dreams come true. By gifting opportunities of a lifetime through travel or continued education, teachers return to the classroom with innovative ideas and a renewed sense of energy that inspires both their students and fellow educators.”
This year’s recipients will build on the lasting legacy of Rudy and Esther Bunzl. Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of the 2016 awardees will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
Hanover County Winners
LIST OF 2016 WINNERS
Sarah Anzelmo-Steele, Lucille Brown Middle School (RI)
$11,000 to explore the classic tale, Anne of Green Gables, including a visit to Poland where Anne played a significant role in the Polish Resistance.
Whitney Wells-Cornfield, John M. Grandy Elementary (HA)
$10,500 to explore the rich culture and landscape of New Zealand while capturing images of fractals for use in math and science lessons.
Mindy Dobrinski, Holman Middle School (HE)
$11,000 to explore the diverse climates, cuisines, and cultures of the four corners of the United States.
Alfonso J. Favale, Springfield Park Elementary (HE)
$8,000 to create a series of videos that compare and contrast the cultures, landscapes and ecologies of Alaska and Hawaii.
Tiffany Floyd, James H. Blackwell Elementary School (RI)
$12,000 to travel to Finland during the winter season.
Lisa Grossman, Maude Trevvett Elementary School (HE)
$8,000 to explore of the furthest corners of Virginia – from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia to the Valley, the small towns of Southwestern Virginia and beyond.
Micheal Harvey, Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (CH)
$9,800 to learn about alternative and emerging energy sources through visits to various plants in the United States including the Hoover Dam, Copper Mountain Solar Facility and Kodiak Electrical Company’s wind turbines.
Terry Lautzenheiser, Chesterfield County Technical Center (CH)
$11,000 to study hybrid and heirloom breeding techniques and explore community-supported agriculture by touring community gardens, small farms and markets.
Lisa R. Mitchell, William Fox Elementary School (RI)
$12,000 to travel to Portugal and England to experience and research the food traditions of her ancestors through cooking classes and food workshops.
Robert Motrynczuk, Spring Run Elementary School (CH)
$11,000 to travel to Hawaii and New Zealand to study and experience the math and science of extreme sports by Heli-boarding, Kiteboarding, and Bungee Jumping.
Amy Petersen, Midlothian High School (CH)
$11,000 to journey to Southern France where she will participate in an immersion language course and tour ancient sites related to the Roman expansion in Gaul.
Richard (Paul) Rozecki, Atlee High School (HA)
$8,000 to attend the 2017 Spirit of America Visual Design Retreat and study Pyware and Pygraphics, which will help him design new and innovative band drills.
Tonya Sikkar, South Anna Elementary School (HA)
$11,000 to participate in the MOVE Program, an international program that focuses on movement as a way of life for individuals with disabilities.
Eugene Streett, Cosby High School (CH)
$11,000 to visit Rome, Istanbul and Jerusalem – three cities at the intersection of history and religion.
Kevin Trent, Patrick Henry High School (HA)
$10,800 to explore history and culture of South America by connecting with a former exchange student in Brazil and visiting the family of an Argentine friend in Argentina.
Sara Vogt, Glen Allen High School (HE)
$10,000 to participate in the High School Teacher Program at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, and to travel to Southeast Asia.
Kyla Zabala, Highland Springs High School (HE)
$10,000 to tour historical theatres to compare current and historical trends by focusing on the lives of several famous poets and playwrights.
All finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.
Learn more about the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence
(RICHMOND, VA) – The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognize 30 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2017 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 112 nominations submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 16 winners and 14 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $180,800.
The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. For Minh Jergens, an 6th grade history teacher at Bailey Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield, an R.E.B. Award of $10,000 will allow her to return to her home country of Vietnam, which she left to come to the United States with her father at the age of 9. While there, she will visit war sites to deepen her understanding of this chapter of American history that affected millions of lives, including her own.
Christine Muse, the lead teacher at Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy, is driven to expose her students with significant cognitive disabilities to activities and experiences that will help prepare them for fully independent lives beyond the classroom. With her award of $9,500, Christine will research entrepreneurial opportunities for her students by visiting a business that employs individuals with intellectual disabilities in North Carolina, traveling to Grenada to explore an emerging program of the Grenada Downs Syndrome Association, and attending the 2018 World Downs Syndrome Congress in Glasgow, Scotland.
Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all the 2017 awardees will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
2017 Henrico County Finalists
Tiana Addai-Mensah, Miles Jerome Jones Elementary School (Richmond)
$12,000 to visit libraries across the globe with the purpose of exchanging ideas to elevate students’ love of reading for pleasure.
Helena Agnew, Cosby High School (Chesterfield)
$12,000 to study Native American crafts at the Taos Art School in New Mexico by taking classes taught by renowned Hopi, Navajo and Acoma artists.
Heather Andre, Cosby High School (Chesterfield)
$12,000 to travel to Italy and England, where a cappella music originated, to gain a greater appreciation for and understanding of how to teach and perform this popular style of choral music.
Karen Barber-Olajuwon, George Mason Elementary School (Richmond)
$12,000 to attend workshops in the U.S. and Barbados that promote the art of poetry writing, the use of poetry as an instructional tool, and poetry as a constructive outlet for traumatic experiences.
Alicia Broughton, Laurel Meadow Elementary School (Hanover)
$10,500 to explore the ancient civilizations and architecture of Greece and Rome to make relevant elementary STEM connections; and to attend the 2018 ISTE conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Michaela Dismann, Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (Chesterfield)
$12,000 to gain perspectives from former students and experts at rural colleges, universities and places of rural employment to encourage student interest in large animal veterinary careers; and to gain hands-on experience with stockmanship at a Wyoming Working Ranch.
Jerome Fleming, Short Pump Middle School (Henrico)
$10,300 to explore America’s historic cities and create a photo/video diary of each city to illustrate the culture and history that has made America into the diverse nation it is today.
Eliza Gemmill, South Anna Elementary School (Hanover)
$8,500 to participate in conferences, tours and interviews to learn how companies encourage innovation and how educators can connect business frameworks and philosophies to educational strategies.
Jennifer Gradwell, Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Home School (Chesterfield)
$11,400 to explore the connections between poverty, education and students’ hope for the future in Niger, Uganda, and Kenya; and to gain perspective through stories of resilience in parts of Africa with the lowest literacy rates in the world.
Minh Jurgens, Bailey Bridge Middle School (Chesterfield)
$10,000 to visit war sites in Vietnam to deepen the understanding of a chapter in American history that impacted millions of lives.
Jonathan Lauder, Mills E. Godwin High School (Henrico)
$6,500 to explore the ideas of the Enlightenment and the social and political revolutions brought to the western world by travelling to Paris, Vienna, Munich, and Philadelphia.
Christine Muse, Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy (Richmond)
$9,500 to study entrepreneurial opportunities for people with disabilities by visiting and networking with other organizations in North Carolina, Scotland and Grenada.
Lindsey Pantele, Glen Allen High School (Henrico)
$12,000 to study the Heroic and Classical Greek, Renaissance, and Modern literary periods through visits to several European cities.
Todd Ritter, Henrico High School (Henrico)
$10,600 to participate in Commedia Dell’arte and mask-making workshops in Florence, Italy and to visit several theatres spanning from ancient Rome to modern day.
Frenishee Smith, J.E. B. Stuart Elementary School (Richmond)
$9,000 to visit schools across the country that use innovative ways to engage students living in poverty; and to attend The International Conference on Urban Education in Nassau, Bahamas.
Gregory Townsend, Douglas Freeman High School (Henrico)
$12,000 to explore the culture, archaeology and geology of Central and South America while learning the Spanish language in an immersive setting.
This week, the R.E.B. Foundation and the Community Foundation announce the recipients of the 2018 R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership. The following four individuals were identified through a nomination process and were selected as winners because of their ability to reach beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional learning environment for their students, teachers and surrounding community. In recognition of their accomplishments as outstanding educational leaders, they will receive cash grants of $15,000 each – half for unrestricted purposes and half for school-based initiatives of their choice.
Edward Maynes, Elizabeth Davis Middle School (Chesterfield)
Edward Maynes did not start out as an educator, but quickly found it to be his passion. As principal of Elizabeth Davis Middle School, Mr. Maynes believes strong relationships lead to student success, involving parents and the community to enhance learning experience. Mr. Maynes also boosts teacher morale by making himself accessible, listening to their needs and encouraging them to take risks. He assisted staff to apply for and receive a significant grant to create a MakerSpace, which allows students to benefit from cutting edge technology. With his R.E.B. Award, Mr. Maynes will make the MakerSpace available to the surrounding community and enhance it with updated technology.
Cheri Beth Fisher, Cold Harbor Elementary School (Hanover)
Cheri Beth Fisher is a product of Hanover County Public Schools and views Cold Harbor Elementary School as a community school. Dr. Fisher believes that literacy should not be defined in terms of reading only, but also through students articulating their thoughts, conversing, reasoning and writing. Dr. Fisher will use her R.E.B. Award to provide ongoing opportunities for students to access places and experiences to enhance their literacy through virtual and on-location experiences. She will purchase virtual reality technology for in-school use, as well as arrange field trips for students who otherwise may not have an opportunity to visit local destinations.
Nicole Henderson, Laburnum Elementary School (Henrico)
Nicole Henderson was tasked with creating a culture change at one of the most challenged schools in Henrico County. She set high expectations for her students and staff and created an environment where they know they can learn. Mrs. Henderson encourages positive behavior and family engagement and it is not uncommon for her to knock on student doors. Community events and weekly update calls to parents are just some of the ways that she connects with families. To avoid the summer slide, Mrs. Henderson will use her R.E.B. Award to make books more accessible to her students and the surrounding community. She will also expand the Toddler Tuesday program to encourage early literacy for families with young children.
J. Austin Brown, Richmond Community High School (Richmond)
Richmond Community High School is a specialty school focused on college prep; however, this school does not seek the highest achievers. J. Austin Brown is looking for students with ‘grit’, ones who will persevere in the face of a challenge. Mr. Brown fosters a family-like environment and encourages students to take the lead. With his R.E.B. Award, Mr. Brown will renovate the school’s greenhouse in partnership with Embrace Richmond and Groundwork RVA. The completed greenhouse will serve as an additional classroom where students will grow native plants and study environmental issues faced by Richmond City.
The R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership involves an intensive selection process, in which representatives of the school community and the public at-large submit nominations. The nominations are narrowed down by a committee in each school district, and from a pool of eight finalists, winners are selected by a committee that consists of the four school district superintendents, representatives of each of the two foundations and one community member.
The R.E.B. Foundation, in partnership with The Community Foundation, launched the R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership in September 2004 as a complement to the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence, which has celebrated outstanding public school teachers for 30 years.
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