What do Teachers of the Year say about their jobs?

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Chesterfield County will celebrate outstanding educators on Oct. 9

Chesterfield County Public Schools asked its Teachers of the Year, “What do you enjoy most about your job?” Here are a few of their responses:

  • Sherry Nyquist, who teaches kindergarten at Wells Elementary: I love seeing life through a child’s eyes. Children still believe in magic, always consider each person they meet a friend and can find joy in little things. Kindergarten rocks!
  • Barrie Owen, special education teacher at Evergreen Elementary: The thing I enjoy most about my job is walking into school each morning and feeling this amazing sense of community. Each child’s smile represents his or her own “aha!” moment that has been achieved, shared and celebrated by everyone (staff members, administration and parents), regardless of whose classroom that student is in. I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to be a part of this each day!
  • Allison Couillard, who teaches science at Robious Middle: Two of my favorite things about teaching are the “Ohhhhh!” sounds that occur when something has clicked for a student and the “Cooooool!” that often accompanies science experiments. That’s when I know I’ve pulled students that much further into becoming lifelong learners.
  • Jan Collins, reading specialist at Thomas Dale High: I love seeing a non-reader become a reader. It is absolutely the best when a sophomore who has never read a book cover to cover comes sleepily into my room, drops the book he stayed up all night to finish on my desk and says, “I need another one like this!”

Chesterfield County Public Schools will honor its 2015 Teachers of the Year from elementary, middle and high schools at a Gold Star Gala sponsored by the Chesterfield Public Education Foundation. Members of the Chesterfield County School Board will attend the 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 9 event at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 1021 Koger Center Blvd.

Each spring, every Chesterfield County school selects a Teacher of the Year for the next school year. Chesterfield County Public Schools selects from those honorees an Elementary School Teacher of the Year, a Middle School Teacher of the Year and a High School Teacher of the Year, then chooses a countywide Teacher of the Year from those three honorees:

  • Tara Brunyansky is Chesterfield’s Teacher of the Year, as well as Chesterfield’s High School Teacher of the Year. Also, the Virginia Department of Education in mid-September selected Brunyansky as the regional Teacher of the Year. She and seven other regional Teachers of the Year will find out Oct. 10 which of them will be Virginia’s Teacher of the Year. Brunyansky teaches chemistry and forensic chemistry at James River High. She has taught in Chesterfield County Public Schools since 1996; she began her career at Thomas Dale High, then moved in 2006 to James River High. Brunyansky earned a bachelor’s degree from Brock University, a master’s degree in secondary education from Canisius College and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences/forensic drug chemistry from the University of Florida.
  • Charles Rhode is Chesterfield’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year. He teaches music at Watkins Elementary. Rhode has taught in Chesterfield County Public Schools since 1985; he began at Chalkley Elementary, then moved in 1992 to Watkins Elementary. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University and a master of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
  • Deborah Bailey is Chesterfield’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. She teaches civics and economics at Carver Middle. After graduating from Thomas Dale High School, Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, then returned to Thomas Dale as a teacher in 1984. The next year, she moved to Chester Middle where she taught until joining the Carver Middle faculty in 2010.

Also Chesterfield County Public Schools annually recognizes outstanding teachers who are just beginning their careers. Winners of the Beginning Teacher Awards are

  • Kelly Bedard, who teaches fifth grade at Providence Elementary
  • Alyssa Shevchuk, who teaches English at Falling Creek Middle
  • Stephanie Hubbard, who teaches English at James River High

Here are the 2015 Teachers of the Year from Chesterfield County Public Schools:

Elementary schools

Charles Rhode is Chesterfield’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year and Watkins Elementary’s Teacher of the Year.

  • Bellwood — Kimberly Bender
  • Bensley — Dianna Jones
  • Beulah — Nichole Niemaseck
  • Bon Air — Shannon Murray
  • Chalkley — Emily Shields
  • Marguerite Christian — Amy Tirrell
  • Clover Hill — Rhonda Blake
  • Crenshaw — Kelly Jones
  • Crestwood — Christy Jeter
  • Curtis — Judy Kibiloski
  • Davis — Jennifer Jones
  • Ecoff — Meredith Booth
  • Enon — Elizabeth Molter
  • Ettrick — Stephanie Haines
  • Evergreen — Barrie Owen
  • Falling Creek — Tiffany House
  • Gates — Shelley Loker
  • Gordon — James Wright
  • Grange Hall — Rachael Pifer
  • Greenfield — Diane Barrett
  • Harrowgate — Frederick Klevinsky
  • Hening — Dawn King
  • Hopkins — Tonya Coleman
  • Jacobs Road — Meghan Whitney
  • Matoaca — Angel Froggatt
  • Providence — Brenda Starr
  • Reams Road — Barbara Bing
  • Robious — Allison Ferguson
  • Salem Church — Anne Palisano
  • Elizabeth Scott — Tracey Curcio
  • Alberta Smith — Evelyn Oakley
  • Spring Run — Stacie Sydow
  • Swift Creek — Susan Wyman
  • Watkins — Charles Rhode
  • Bettie Weaver — Christine Payne
  • Wells — Sherry Nyquist
  • Winterpock — Amy Majetic
  • Woolridge — Jacquelyn Scates

Middle schools

Deborah Bailey is Chesterfield’s Middle School Teacher of the Year and Carver Middle’s Teacher of the Year.

  • Bailey Bridge — Katherine Page
  • Carver — Deborah Bailey
  • Elizabeth Davis — Sherrie Waddill
  • Falling Creek — Cecelia Smith
  • Manchester — Ellen Staton
  • Matoaca — Kayla Jensen
  • Midlothian — Kerri Bilthuis
  • Providence — Valerie Dieter
  • Robious — Allison Couillard
  • Salem Church — Janine D’Elia
  • Swift Creek — Jonathan Ferguson
  • Tomahawk Creek — Lisa Hudson

High schools

Tara Brunyansky is Virginia’s Region 1 Teacher of the Year, Chesterfield’s Teacher of the Year, Chesterfield’s High School Teacher of the Year and James River High’s Teacher of the Year.

  • Bird — Lamar Banister
  • Chesterfield Career and Technical Center @ Courthouse — Robert Gangwer
  • Chesterfield Community — Erin Peebles
  • Clover Hill — Amanda Berneche
  • Cosby — TuRhonda Morrison
  • Thomas Dale — Jan Collins
  • James River — Tara Brunyansky
  • Manchester — Margaret Jackson
  • Matoaca — Susan Hester
  • Meadowbrook — Jeffry Clevenger
  • Midlothian — Badr Sharobim
  • Monacan — Clare Tilton

New teachers

Beginning Teacher of the Year Awards recognize the accomplishments of brand-new educators.

  • The Elementary School Beginning Teacher of the Year is Kelly Bedard of Providence Elementary.
  • The Middle School Beginning Teacher of the Year is Alyssa Shevchuk of Falling Creek Middle
  • The High School Beginning Teacher of the Year is Stephanie Hubbard of James River High.