Two educators are named the best in Virginia

This spring, two Chesterfield County Public Schools educators were named the best in their fields in Virginia and are now in the running to be named best in the nation; winners of the national titles will be announced in the fall of 2016.

Jackie Slemaker, NBCT, of Jacobs Road Elementary School

Photo shows Jackie Slemaker at Jacobs Road Elementary.Jackie Slemaker, school counselor at Jacobs Road Elementary, has been named Virginia Elementary School Counselor of the Year by the Virginia School Counselor Association. Also, she was selected as a semifinalist in the American School Counselor Association’s awards process and is now in the running to become the National School Counselor of the Year (www.schoolcounselor.org).

Here is how Bryan Carr,  instructional specialist for school counseling for Chesterfield County Public Schools, describes the work of this “terrific professional” who has won multiple awards and recognition: “She truly makes a difference in the lives of many children, colleagues, parents, and supervisors. Jackie is the rare professional who takes her work seriously but not herself. … Despite the lofty titles and accomplishments Jackie is selfless, humble, and most engaging. She is the first to help a colleague in need of a professional resource or a shoulder to lean on; the last to leave a meeting in order to find out more from a speaker or to advocate for a student; … and the professional in a gathering to reinforce the boundaries of a school counselor’s appropriate role. In short, Jackie is … fearless, challenging, professional, creative, intelligent, savvy, and always child-centered. … Students are different in a positive way because of the work Jackie provides.”

Jackie Slemaker has worked in Chesterfield County Public Schools for seven years (all of them at Jacobs Road Elementary) and achieved National Board certification in 2013.

Nicole Winter, NBCT, of Cosby High School

Photo shows Betsy Barton, history specialist for the Virginia Department of Education, presenting award to Nicole Winter (on right) on June 6.Cosby High’s Nicole Winter has been named Virginia’s 2016 History Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Department of Education, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America. She received her award June 6 during a presentation at Cosby High School and is now in the running to become the National History Teacher of the Year (GilderLehrman.org/nhtoy).

At Cosby High, Winter teaches Advanced Placement and collaborative levels of U.S. history and an elective on historical research. Her resume includes multiple honors and awards, including being selected as the Teacher of the Year for Chesterfield County Public Schools in 2008 and going on to be named central Virginia’s Teacher of the Year.

Here is how Chris Averill, social studies department chair at Cosby High, describes his colleague: “Nicole is the consummate theorist, implementer and communicator. From bell to bell, students are engaged and challenged. There is no wasted time, everything is planned and executed with almost perfect efficiency.”

Nicole Winter has worked in Chesterfield County Public Schools for 24 years (at Cosby High since 2006 and at Manchester High before that). She achieved National Board certification in 2003 and renewed her NBCT in 2012.

This YouTube video by the Virginia Department of Education shows the June 6 ceremony at Cosby High School: www.youtube.com/watch?v=10oFeT8kHjU.