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Announcing Recipients of 2021 R.E.B. Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership

MARCH 30, 2021 — 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.