Clover Hill High School

Chesterfield County Public Schools

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Congratulations to Amanda Berneche – 2021 R.E.B Awards for Teaching Excellence winner

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Amanda Berneche of Clover Hill High won $13,200 to study photography in remote locations while chasing the northern lights in Iceland.

Amanda Berneche has taught in the same art classroom for 13 years. She calls it Photowonderland — a safe place for imagination, creativity and just a bit of mischief. As Berneche says, “What may appear as chaos is carefully crafted, project-based lessons that not only teach meaningful skills but also challenge students to think and create beyond their perceived limits. No wrong answers, no mistakes, just growth from each project to the next.” Her students create, critique, write and discuss their own artwork, which encourages growth. But the skills they learn can also lead to growth in other areas. She knows her teaching goes beyond her walls when she hears things like, “I got an A on my science fair presentation because I used design techniques I learned in photo class.” Her students are doing more than just creating artwork: They are learning to think differently.

Her nominator observed that Berneche makes sure every child has the information and materials they need to learn and grow to their full potential. She empowers her students to be free thinkers who are not afraid to take creative risks but also fosters a sense of community by encouraging students to work as a team. Her nominator states, “Ms. Berneche is something this world needs more of right now. She is a shining example of what teaching should be.”

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