Outstanding teachers to embark on worldwide adventures and continued study

November 14, 2011

R.E.B. Foundation awards $163,150 to 32 public school teachers

(RICHMOND, VA) – The finalists of the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence are among the best in their field.  These exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while continuing to inspire the hearts and minds of their students. In addition to being educators, the selected finalists are also mentors, coaches, and encouragers to their students.

For Mary Williams, an 8thgrade Algebra teacher at Midlothian Middle School, an R.E.B. Award of $9,000 will provide inspiration for engaging mathematical lessons involving real life situations. Specifically, Mary will attend the Winter Iditarod Educator’s Conference in Anchorage, Alaska and become a part of the race itself by participating in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Tour. For several years, Mary has used the Alaskan Iditarod race as an example in her classroom.  Her students track the speed and location of their chosen musher on a GPS and calculate the amount of food and supplies needed for each leg of the race.  During the first part of her trip, Mary will learn from experts in her field and have the chance to share her ideas with other educators.  And as a live participant in the race, Mary will have the opportunity to take photos and video of the mushers and their dogs competing and then blog about the experience for her students. Upon her return to the classroom, Mary will also share her experiences at the CITE (Chesterfield Information Technology Expo) and with International Baccalaureate sister schools in hopes to engage and inspire other teachers worldwide.

The 2011 class of winners were announced last night at The Library of Virginia. Selected from 127 teachers nominated by students, parents, and colleagues, 15 winners and 17 finalists were awarded a total of $163,150.  The finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.

Jamie Bird                                         Cosby High School (CH)                                              $12,000
To study film and editing techniques at the Adventure Film School to enhance his skills in the field of digital communications.

Samara Booker                               Clark Springs Elementary School (RI)                      $9,600
To explore technology in mathematics instruction and brain-science research by attending the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics conferences, as well as the Kagan Summer Academy in Orlando.

Beverly Brown                                 Echo Lake Elementary School (HE)                          $8,800
To honor the veteran experience by visiting sites where veterans served to protect our freedom including the beaches of Normandy, London for Armistice Day and the Annual Veterans Conference in Washington D.C.

Mary Bruner                                    Mills E. Godwin High School (HE)                             $6,000
To study the development of American literature by visiting the homes of great writers like Twain, Alcott and Hawthorne, and to attend Literary Week in New York and the Piccolo Spoleto Literary and Theatre Festivals in South Carolina. 

Christopher Calfee                         Swift Creek Middle School (CH)                                $9,000
To visit the site of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand and experience the landscape's beauty by completing the 60Km Kepler Challenge ultra-marathon.

Jacqueline Coffey                           Ettrick Elementary School (CH)                                 $12,000
To explore the flora and fauna of Australia and New Zealand, to visit classrooms in those countries that focus on balanced literacy, and to take courses towards a Masters Degree in Special Education at VCU.

Carl Early                                           James River High School (CH)                                    $12,000
To experience the ways in which individuals with intellectual disabilities are educated, incorporated, supported and encouraged to demonstrate independence in various countries and cultures.

Vincent Hughes                               Tomahawk Middle School (CH)                                $11,000
To earn certification in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by attending the Maker Faire in San Francisco and the Advance Space Academy at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Melissa Lehman                              Laurel Meadow Elementary School (HA)               $12,000
To visit outdoor learning environments in both the United States and the Galapagos Islands.

Shannon Majeski                           Bon Air Elementary School (CH)                               $10,000
To explore gardening and nature by attending the World Horticultural Expo in the Netherlands and participating in a course at the Occidental Arts Ecology Center in California.

Danica Millner                               Thomas Jefferson High School (RI)                        $12,000
To travel to Hawaii to experience the development of a STEM related business, Pacific Biodiesel, and investigate the latest technology in alternative fuels; and to pursue a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. 

Jamie Mullenaux                            Mechanicsville Elementary School (HA)                 $8,000
To visit the Galapagos Islands to observe and study wildlife and volcanic formations and to attend the National Association for Single Sex Public Education Conference.

Susan Nagel                                     Clover Hill Elementary School (CH)                          $8,000
To visit New York, Egypt and the Red Sea to enhance the fifth grade curriculum. 

Manuel Rios                                     Midlothian Middle School (CH)                                $11,000
To experience firsthand the geography, history and culture of Turkey and Greece, and to establish professional networks with other humanities teachers through those experiences.

Mary Williams                                 Midlothian Middle School (CH)                                $9,000
To attend the Winter Iditarod Educator's Conference and participate in the Alaskan Iditarod race.


About the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence

The awards program, which is a partnership between The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia and the R.E.B. Foundation, recognizes excellence in public education by awarding direct cash grants to outstanding public school teachers from the City of Richmond, the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover, and the Department of Correctional Education.  Since its inception in 1988, the program has awarded $2.6 million to over 600 public school instructors as recognition for their outstanding classroom performance.