Hopkins Elementary teacher recognized for work with special needs students

Hopkins Elementary special education teacher Vickie Van Nest was Chesterfield County Public Schools’ winner of the Outstanding Educator Award at the annual “From PossAbilities to Practical Applications” education conference in Richmond.

The award is a partnership between the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Department of Counseling and Special Education and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond.

Van Nest was nominated by a parent on behalf of her child and was selected for the award because of her outstanding dedication as an educational professional and focus on her student’s educational success.

“Exceptional teachers believe all students can learn,” said John Erbach, who represents Hopkins Elementary as the Dale District School Board member. “This award recognizes Vickie’s work to help students turn disabilities into possibilities, and we are proud to celebrate her efforts.”

Van Nest was one of two Richmond-area teachers to receive the honor.

“Vickie is a dedicated educator who consistently provides a safe and welcoming environment for each of her students,” Hopkins Elementary Principal Dr. Lisa Hill said. “She seeks to identify strengths of her students and uses those strengths to increase student achievement for all.”