Adult Learning Center
For the past four years, Edna Carr has been a devoted tutor for a number of students struggling with low reading skills at the Adult Learning Center. Volunteering two days each week, she also finds time to be available to help students who need assistance in math, from manipulation of whole numbers to helping with geometry and algebra. Her individualized attention helps students gain confidence and master skills while her ability to demonstrate relevance for students makes her an asset at the ALC.
Advanced Technology Center
Lee Livingston has been a superb role model for the Cisco Networking Academy students at the Advanced Technology Center for the past 13 years. Not only does he personally work alongside students, but he is also instrumental in organizing, coordinating and enlisting the involvement of other business representatives and alumni. Together they volunteer as mentors to provide hands-on experiences and an opportunity for students to solve real-world networking problems. Thanks to Livingston’s efforts, several of these employers have hired ATC graduates.
Alanton Elementary School
Marnie Keogh has continuously stepped up to the plate to volunteer at Alanton Elementary School for the past four years. As a PTA Board member, she has been a strong, enthusiastic voice for children at the school. She took the initiative to create a digital repository of past documents, photos, and information for future volunteers to be able to assist them in their work at the school. Keogh also spearheaded the Girls on the Run program that instills self-respect and confidence in young ladies at the upper elementary level while teaching them conflict management and healthy living skills.
Arrowhead Elementary School
Yolanda White is Arrowhead Elementary School’s amazing Volunteer of the Year! She can be found assisting students in the classroom or volunteering in the library. According to librarian Kellee Kraft, “Yolanda is always willing to help wherever she is needed and is an asset to students and staff. Everyone is very excited to see her recognized for her dedicated efforts and continued service to our school.” If you are ever visiting Arrowhead Elementary School, be sure to stop by the library and “check out” this great volunteer!
Bayside Elementary School
Michael Tomko has a special knack for connecting with students, parents and staff at Bayside Elementary School where he has dedicated more than 10 hours weekly to volunteering. Tomko, whose adult children attended Bayside Elementary, arrives early each morning to welcome students and spend time talking to them at breakfast. Throughout the day he mentors students and assists with small-group classroom activities. “His willingness to step up is nothing less than spectacular,” said Principal Cathy Brumm. “Through his kind words, smile, listening or a pat on the back, Mike builds positive relationships with all students and makes it clear that he is another caring adult in their lives that wants them to succeed!”
Bayside High School
Bayside High School is grateful to volunteer coach Stan Ballard! Even though his son graduated years ago, Ballard devotes a great deal of time putting together fitness programs that provide strength and conditioning training for student athletes. “Coach Ballard lives the healthy lifestyle he promotes and because of this he is a true role model and our kids trust him. His efforts support student success and his commitment has inspired hundreds of Marlins through the years,” said David Kidd, Boys Cross Country coach.
Dona Leigh Caldwell
Bayside Middle School
Thanks to the dedicated effort and patience of Dona Leigh Caldwell, struggling readers at Bayside Middle School are building foundational reading skills and gaining a new appreciation for literature. With her support, students who have faced years of frustration are now growing as readers and learning the critical literacy skills. “Mrs. Caldwell’s sincere commitment as a volunteer has significantly improved the academic performance of students that she works with each week. She exemplifies the impact that stakeholders in the community can make in narrowing the achievement gap. My students are seeing the value of reading and this volunteer is changing lives!” said BMS Reading Specialist Maureen Stolte.
Bayside Sixth Grade Campus
Humberto Zuniga is not only an advocate for his child, but for all students attending the Bayside Sixth Grade Campus. Serving on the Community Advisory Committee (CAC), Zuniga helps advise the School Board of the educational needs of gifted students. That experience coupled with his positive demeanor make “Mr. Z” a great academic support for students. He is a dedicated reading buddy each week helping sixth graders realize the joy of reading. According to School Counselor Rob Lanz, “Mr. Z’s natural instinct for classroom instruction and his ability to identify and address student needs makes him well-liked and respected by students and staff. He is providing the support that will lead our students to a successful future.”
Birdneck Elementary School
Brandi Fiore is Birdneck Elementary School’s outstanding Volunteer of the Year. Volunteering four days each week, she helps escort visitors, sort mail and answer phones which allows office staff to focus on other tasks. Fiore has formed strong relationships with parents, students and staff and is always thinking of ways to make each day a positive experience for everyone at the school.
Brandon Middle School
Jenn Smith is the Volunteer of the Year and resident “snack queen” at Brandon Middle School. As the PTA concessions chairperson, she supplies, organizes and staffs the concessions stand afterschool and during school events. Part of the money raised from sales is used for monthly student recognition and year-end awards programs. Smith is a volunteer who is always willing to “lead the charge” for the Brandon Chargers.
Brookwood Elementary School
Christie Brokaw is a tremendous asset at Brookwood Elementary School. She not only helps create word walls and assists with classroom tasks, but she also puts together language arts and math games used in centers throughout the school. Thanks to Christie’s positive attitude and kindness, Brookwood students consider themselves lucky when they are selected to work with her one-on-one to complete assignments.
Centerville Elementary School
Susan McFarland dedicates five days each week to volunteering at Centerville Elementary School. On any given day, she can be found snapping photos for Special Me, taking orders for dolphin wear or simply helping teachers and staff with classroom an office tasks. McFarland has spearheaded the annual Secret Santa Holiday Breakfast and planned a full week of activities for Teacher Appreciation celebrations. Now in her eighth year volunteering at the school, McFarland’s Centerville Dolphin pride is evident in all that she does!
Christopher Farms Elementary School
*2015 Citywide Elementary Volunteer of the Year* - Christopher Farms Elementary School is grateful to have volunteer Denise Hoffman as part of the school family. In addition to serving on various committees, chairing the teacher appreciation committee and implementing the WATCH D.O.G.S program this year, Hoffman also leads the school’s Beach Bags program. Thanks to her work efforts to collect donations from area businesses and pack weekly Beach Bags, nearly 30 students at the school are provided nutritious food for the weekend. “As with most great Samaritans, very few people know the ‘true angel’ behind this project. Denise slips in to do her good deed each week and wants no public recognition for what she does,” said Principal Teri Breaux.
College Park Elementary School
College Park Elementary School’s Carla Maringo is a great example of the wonderful parents who support students and staff each day. She assists with PTA events such as the school movie night, chaperones field trips, helps the SCA and volunteers in classrooms. Knowing there is strength in numbers, Maringo tirelessly works to engage additional parents as volunteers. She is nurturing and caring toward students and welcoming and supportive of parents and staff. What more could a school ask for in a volunteer?
Cooke Elementary School
For the past five years, Kelly Lambroff has been a dedicated and dependable volunteer at Cooke Elementary School. Lambroff owns her own business and still manages to serve as the room parent in her son’s class run the school store every morning. She has been an integral part of the Buddy Reading program, coming in weekly to read with students. This is such a fun time for students that they often ask, “Is it Mrs. Lambroff’s day?” She attends all PTA and schoolwide events and often coordinates programs/projects for the PTA. Her dedication to the Cooke community is immeasurable and she epitomizes the value of giving back.
Corporate Landing Elementary School
Volunteer of the Year Melissa Puckett’s dedication to Corporate Landing Elementary School is unparalleled. Always willing to be inconvenienced, Puckett will come to the school early and stay late to complete a task. She works in the library five days each week, and has organized 10 events during the school year. Thanks to her efforts and welcoming nature, 30 new volunteers now donate their time to the school. All of them are happy to follow the great example set by Puckett.
Corporate Landing Middle School
Catherine Morse has been an invaluable volunteer for the past two years in the music department at Corporate Landing Middle School. She has chaperoned field trips, attended rehearsals, provided extra fruit and snacks during afterschool practices and helped to transport stage sets for the annual musical. When students and staff hear that Morse is involved with a project, its music to their ears!
Cox High School
Geri Kubicki has been a dedicated volunteer at Cox High School for the past eight years. This year alone, she has donated more than 15 hours each week to organize and manage the PTSA’s book sale which helps fund the school’s All Night Grad Fest, Falcon Fest for rising 9th graders and scholarships. Kubicki’s creativity is also reflected in PTSA bulletin boards, signs and displays. Over time, she has volunteered with the Cox Coquettes dance team and assisted at the concession stand at sporting events. Thanks to Kubicki’s hard work, the Falcons soar.
Creeds Elementary School
Creeds Elementary School is grateful for the many ways their Volunteer of the Year Kelly Faulkner has touched the lives of students and staff for the past two years. Kelly makes sure that monthly spirit nights are well attended and lots of fun for the entire family. She is the coach for the Battle of the Books and serves as room mom for both her son’s and daughter’s classrooms. She even finds time to organize staff appreciation breakfasts and lunches. Kelly’s personal touch and caring nature make her a trusted and respected parent and a shining example of the positive difference parental involvement can make.
Dey Elementary School
Volunteer of the Year Cindy Becker could give Bill Nye a run for his money at Dey Elementary School! She has created both a physical science laboratory and a well-organized science lab program for the more than 800 students at the school. She has worked with each of the grade level chairs to customize 2-3 STEM labs per grade level each school year. She also spearheaded the Lego Club for the past nine years and serves as an afterschool math tutor for students who need to be challenged. This amazing volunteer knows no limits when it comes to creating opportunities for students to think critically and experience higher level learning!
Diamond Springs Elementary School
Retired teacher Mona Elliot is helping struggling readers find success at Diamond Springs Elementary School. Thanks to her valuable teaching expertise and excellent rapport with teachers and students, the children have made tremendous progress and enjoy working with Elliot. She dedicates two full days each week to consistently work in classrooms with up to six students. According to Principal Gloria Coston, “She looks like a teacher, talks like a teacher and works hard like a teacher. The children love her and respect her as a teacher and Mrs. Elliot is making a difference in the lives of students and staff at Diamond Springs!”
Fairfield Elementary School
Rosemary Flamman has volunteered for 22 years at Fairfield Elementary School where she dedicates more than 15 hours of her time and talent to support all school and PTA activities. In addition to serving as a mentor to the PTA Board, she assists with the school’s Green Team and Wee Falcons program (library visits for preschoolers and their parents), manages the Battle of the Books team and helps with the SOL carnival and multicultural night. “Rosemary Flamman leads by example and volunteering is not what Rosemary does, a volunteer is who she is,” said third-grade teacher Kathy Hagerty.
First Colonial High School
*2015 Citywide High School Volunteer of the Year* - First Colonial High School’s outstanding volunteer is Tracey Parr. Whether it is the role of PTSA secretary, VIE coordinator or GradFest co-chair, Parr’s commitment over the past eight years has been second to none. When she wasn’t at her fulltime job or assisting the school’s sports teams and clubs, she was busy ensuring that fundraising activities were a huge success. “She is one of the most dedicated and involved parents I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” shared Assistant Principal Dr. David Judge. “Her enthusiasm and professionalism have made a powerful impact at our school.”
Glenwood Elementary School
Cara Varela has volunteered for several years at Glenwood Elementary School where she always has a smile on her face and sets a good example for children. She assists the kindergarten teachers on a weekly basis, helping to build a strong foundation for our youngest students. Her positive attitude, coupled with her respectful, good nature makes her an ideal volunteer at the school.
Great Neck Middle School
Diana Trimble is Great Neck Middle School’s amazing Volunteer of the Year! She can be seen helping in many capacities at the school from the concession stand to overseeing Spirit Nights which help to raise thousands of dollars for scholarships for former GNMS students. Trimble coordinates dances and assists with special projects, even working alongside students for community service activities. “Perhaps Diana’s greatest contribution is that she is an outstanding ambassador for Great Neck Middle, touting the teachers, students and the quality of education achieved by parents and staff working collaboratively. She and her husband are excellent models of volunteerism for their own children as well as those in the community,” said Principal Gene Soltner.
Green Run Collegiate
Green Run Collegiate’s Volunteer of the Year is Kim Scholl. Her enthusiasm and tireless energy not only motivates students and staff but her “let’s do this” attitude has made her instrumental in signing up new PTA members and recruiting family members to volunteer at the school. Scholl donated her summer home in the mountains for a staff retreat. “Her thoughtful treats for staff each week have been a constant reminder to teachers that they are appreciated for what they do and has made our year brighter and better,” said GRC Head of School Barbara Winn.
Green Run Elementary School
Will Barrett, a junior and member of the ROTC at Landstown High School, has been volunteering at Green Run Elementary School for more than three years. He comes to the school every week to assist in classrooms, help in PE and attend afterschool and evening programs. Barrett also works with the STEM Club as a mentor for younger students. According to Assistant Principal Joe Whiteside, “Will brings out the best in students through his positive words of encouragement. His presence in the class allows for more individualized attention for teams of students constructing STEM robots and his knowledge of electronics and soldering of circuits has made him an invaluable asset in the learning process for students.”
Green Run High School
Caroline Reese brings an infectious energy and enthusiasm to the Green Run High School basketball and football games. An amateur photographer, she is constantly snapping professional quality photos of players in action and posting them to the school’s Facebook page. And, since 2013, she has provided framed photos to all senior players on Senior Night. Reese’s efforts have greatly impacted the school as she helps to promote the accomplishments of GRHS’s outstanding student athletes.
Hermitage Elementary School
Bradley Croteau donates 16-20 hours each week in the clinic at Hermitage Elementary School. He assists the nurse with student height, weight, hearing and vision screenings. He lends a hand to help students who are being sent home due to illness and his warm demeanor has been a huge comfort to students staring the school year. What’s more, Croteau’s studies of multiple languages has come in handy when non-English speaking students need to identify letters or follow directions for auditory screenings.
Holland Elementary School
PTA president Michelle Brooks has found many ways to help make school fun for students and teachers at Holland Elementary School. She has spent countless hours organizing school programs and events and facilitated fundraisers to ensure that all students have needed supplies. She has also found time to lend a helping hand in any classroom where she was needed and volunteers regularly in her son’s classroom. Whether working with teachers or PTA members, assisting with snacks or chaperoning field trips, Holland is grateful to have Brooks as a member of the Huskies family.
Independence Middle School
Karen Joynt has been a constant, welcoming presence at Independence Middle School for the past three years. She serves as a member of the PTA Board and has been the driving force behind the implementation of the PTA cookie bake sale which has proven to be one of the most successful fundraisers the school has ever had. The proceeds from the weekly sales have funded teacher grants, scholarships for graduating seniors and member attendance at the annual PTA Leadership Workshop. She also coordinates PTA meetings and activities, chaperones field trips and assists with afterschool activities. Joynt continuously looks for ways to assist students and staff and demonstrates all the qualities of an exceptional volunteer.
Indian Lakes Elementary School
Danielle McFann’s presence is evident in every area of Indian Lakes Elementary School. As the PTA Ways and Means chairperson, her efforts have been instrumental in raising thousands of dollars to support high quality educational programs. But she is best known for her ability to transform ordinary spaces into underwater aquariums, to create 3-D bulletin boards (fully embellished with glitter, sequins, ropes and fabric) and to design eye-catching posters featuring scientists, inventors and local celebrities. “She is all about making school the happiest place in town and showing kids that schools are a part of greater communities, inside and outside the classroom,” said Principal Jennifer Born. “Indian Lakes wouldn’t be the same place without her special touches and caring, compassionate example!”
Kellam High School
With three children passing through Virginia Beach schools, Shelly Hughes is a pro at volunteering and Kellam High School is grateful for the many ways she is making a difference for students and staff. Knowing the importance of being involved, Hughes has been actively engaged in the PTA/PTSA for 12 years. As the hospitality chair, she makes sure that teachers and staff feel appreciated. From decorations and homemade meals during Teacher Appreciation Week to senior picnics, staff breakfasts and special recognitions, Hughes makes teachers happy. Her philosophy- happy teachers make happy students!
Kemps Landing/Old Donation School
Engineer Russell Torrisi has been a vital part of the PTA for the past eight years at Kemps Landing/Old Donation School. He tutors pre-algebra students and maintains detailed notes of strengths and weaknesses to better assist them. Beginning this year’s volunteer service in early July, Torrisi was also instrumental in planning a successful welcome event for rising sixth graders. In addition, he helps in the library, provides baked goods and serves as PTA Vice President in charge of membership. In fact, thanks to Torrisi, there is an up-to-date database of all members and a current list of parent and community volunteers available at any given time.
Kempsville Elementary School
Kelley VanDyke’s volunteerism knows no boundaries at Kempsville Elementary School. Thanks to her budgeting knowledge, the PTA implemented a new budget format which streamlined the scholarship process and through her contact with colleges and universities, monies were directly deposited into recipient accounts. She chaired kickoff events to involve KES families as well as other events including a Spaghetti Day which brought retired teachers and other volunteers together with families to introduce parents to the volunteers who would be assisting their children this year. Parents know her as a valuable resource to them and she is an invaluable asset to the students and teachers in the school.
Kempsville High School
Kempsville High School cannot sing the praises of volunteer Jennifer Franklin loud enough! Franklin has not only stepped up to serve as the PTSA President at the school when needed, but she also worked with others to increase PTA membership by 10 percent for the second year in a row. Thanks to her unyielding dedication, more scholarships are now available for graduating seniors, the school’s All-Night Grad Fest is a well-attended, and parent involvement at the school is at the highest level it has been in years.
Kempsville Meadows Elementary School
Working a fulltime job that requires Kim Maxwell to be on call at some unusual hours has not stopped this PTA president and volunteer of the year at Kempsville Meadows Elementary School. She has been instrumental in reinvigorating and growing the WATCH D.O.G.S. program. In addition, she volunteers at the Back to School Breakfast, Fall Family Costume Dance, Valentine Carnation Sale, the Saturday Holiday Magic Show and all PTA-sponsored assemblies. Her valuable insight, from a parent’s perspective, is also shared as she serves on the School Planning Council.
Kempsville Middle School
Christin Neels is an incredible volunteer at Kempsville Middle School who has not missed a single day of school since her daughter was enrolled. She assists in the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) classroom, organizes and chaperones school events and field trips, supports chorus classes and uses her creative talents to design bulletin boards and make posters. Neels has launched initiatives to fund a STEM-based library for eighth grade English and science teams. “When striving for the quintessential team player, one need look no further than Christian Neels,” said Principal Patti Jenkins.
King's Grant Elementary School
Jenn Ramiro has two sons who attend King’s Grant Elementary School where she is a constant presence at the school each week. She assists teachers with copying, manages the Box Tops for Education program and runs the school store on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She also assembles Thursday folders and is an active room mom. No job is too big or two small. “When we lost heat in part of our building one Friday, it was Jenn who brought in two large boxes of piping hot Starbucks coffee for the entire staff. Her kindness and winning smile make her a welcomed asset at our school and the King’s Grant Lions are grateful,” said Principal Lisa Hannah.
Kingston Elementary School
Joy Battafarano has been a dedicated volunteer at Kingston Elementary School for the last decade. Donating nearly 10 hours of service to the school each week, she assists with the PTA Reflections luncheons, helps with the thrift store, organizes the All-American Run and provides an extra set of hands during math lessons and science experiments. This super star room mom knows each of the students in class very well and her assistance helps foster a love of learning among them all.
Landstown Elementary School
Gregory Montgomery is a highly engaged father who devotes numerous hours each month to Landstown Elementary School. He runs the WATCH D.O.G. S. program, creating monthly schedules, holding meetings with volunteers and communicating with the PTA and school staff to accommodate the areas of need. Thanks to Montgomery’s dedication, positive attitude and strong leadership, the Landstown Dolphins have numerous male role models to work with students. “He has helped to bridge the relationship between our school and the community we serve,” said Principal Ivy Wroton. “I cannot adequately express my gratitude for all the time he spends helping our students and creating a sage environment by having caring dads in our building.”
Landstown High School
Landstown High School staff has had the good fortune of working with volunteer Lisa Nady who serves as president of the Landstown Eagle Athletic Association (LEAA). She has been instrumental in fundraising and coordinating sports banquets and scholarships which are awarded to four deserving seniors each year. She also finds time to support the Landstown SCA and is credited with helping the school attain state and national Council of Excellence status. Nady’s efforts are leaving a lasting impression on the school and community.
Landstown Middle School
PTSA President Carla Smith is on a mission to actively engage all students, staff and parents at Landstown Middle School. In addition to coordinating programs like an afternoon movie for students or Friday breakfast for teachers, she is working to beautify the school. Smith worked with the Technical and Career Education Center and the LMS art department to have benches built, painted and decorated by student artists. Now she is collaborating with the PE and science departments, the SCA and various partners in education to construct an outdoor classroom and garden. This learning environment will teach students about sustainability and healthy living habits. SCA students will tend to the garden while earning community service hours.
Larkspur Middle School
Chris Westerman has been an exemplary role model for students, proudly supporting the Lions at Larkspur Middle School for the past three years. He has been a mentor and academic tutor, and has worked with one young man for the last two years as part of the Lion’s Pride Mentorship program. Not only has the student gained tremendous confidence thanks to Westerman’s steadfast support, but he is making positive strides academically and is focusing on his career path.
Jill van de Mortel
Linkhorn Park Elementary School
Jill van de Mortel, PTA Vice President at Linkhorn Park Elementary School, donates more than 20 hours of volunteer service each week as the hospitality chairperson, finding ways to make everyone at the school feel appreciated. She is also the “Book Fairy” who anonymously purchases books for students at the annual Book Fair and often takes multiple tags off the holiday giving tree. In addition to her kind heart and limitless energy, van de Mortel creates amazing experiences for students and families who attend events such as the Monster Mash, Winter Wonderland and the Family Valentine Dance. According to Principal Barb Sessoms, “She is truly an outstanding ambassador and the kind of volunteer who helps our school function ahead of the curve.”
Luxford Elementary School
Luxford Elementary School is grateful to school volunteer Karan Fisher. Through a partnership with the Tidewater’s Quilters’ Guild, the Luxford Dragons transformed a collection of Dragon t-shirts from over the years into the Luxford School Community Quilt. Students in intermediate grades and their parents worked with Fisher and school staff to learn about the art of quilting. Together they created an 80’ x 80’ project to hang in the school. “From an educational standpoint, students were immersed in history, practiced real world math skills when measuring, looked for symmetry and geometric patterns in the fabrics and used artistic expression to create this work of heart,” says Principal Joanne D’Agostino. “Thanks to Karan’s generosity, our students and families were able to proudly share our Luxford history with the community.”
Lynnhaven Elementary School
Retta Bertges is making a positive impact at Lynnhaven Elementary School! She can be found in the workroom three days each week, helping the math specialist put materials and manipulatives together. She also helps by preparing items for the Literacy Lab, attending field trips and teaching crafts to students in her son’s class. Bertges is a great volunteer who attends every PTA event at the school and even finds time to serve on the School Planning Council.
Lynnhaven Middle School
Nancy Hansson, Volunteer of the Year at Lynnhaven Middle School, is always looking for ways to support teacher and classroom needs. Thanks to her drive and ingenuity, the PTA has established a competitive teacher grant program. Math programs to support struggling students, a hydroponics lab for seventh grade science classes and a field trip to the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium for a cross curricular learning experience have been funded to date. According to Principal Violet Hoyle, “Nancy is a phenomenal parent who takes part in every aspect of school life and her commitment can be felt throughout the school and community.”
David R. Kern
Malibu Elementary School
Retiree and grandfather David Kern volunteers every Friday at Malibu Elementary School where he helps in the library, assists with all PTA events and serves as a mentor to a kindergarten student. He is respectful, courteous and cheerful and classroom teachers rave about the impact his presence has in the classroom. This modest volunteer even asked that the “thank you” basket awarded to him be given to someone more deserving. He truly makes the school a better environment for everyone.
Cindy L. Tomlin
New Castle Elementary School
Cindy Tomlin has served as the Volunteer in Education Coordinator at New Castle Elementary School for three years and has gone above and beyond to secure volunteers to chair events. She’s filled in in their absence and created event binders as a record and resource for future planning. Tomlin has never been afraid to get her hands dirty and even cleaned and maintained the PTA closet and shed at the school. She’s always been on the lookout for how something could be improved or made more interactive and exciting for students. As a result, her genuine concern for the school makes her a positive light for all who know her.
Shelia Thomas Adams
Newtown Elementary School
Retired grandma Shelia Thomas Adams is the consummate volunteer at Newtown Elementary School. Her warm smile and friendly nature make her a welcomed addition to the Newtown family. She can be found assisting students in the library or helping students with their math skills in the classroom at least four days each week. On many occasions, this loving grandmother can be found eating lunch with students. While she is enjoying getting to know them better, she’s giving them the caring interaction they often seek.
North Landing Elementary School
Cortha Pringle has a gift for helping others and North Landing Elementary School is thankful to have her as a volunteer in the school. Pringle comes in a few times each week to support, encourage and work with students to improve their reading skills and help out in the library. She is also extremely active in the monthly PTA events and is the committee leader for the fall festival gift basket silent auction and spring plant sales at North Landing. She is a dedicated volunteer throughout the community and has a calling to serve where she is needed.
Ocean Lakes Elementary School
Robin Spencer is an exceptional parent volunteer and programs coordinator at Ocean Lakes Elementary School. Parents, staff and students appreciate all her hard work throughout the year. She’s a dedicated volunteer who is willing to spend long hours at home and at school assisting with projects. Her contributions helping in classrooms, at school events/activities, stuffing student folders, at the book fair, and setting up spirit wear have helped the school tremendously. She’s always willing to go the extra mile to help parents, students and staff and even created an amazing OLES parent webpage. Her outstanding efforts and professional approach make the school at better place for all to enjoy.
Ocean Lakes High School
Lisa Pascanik can be found volunteering in one capacity or another more than 40 hours each week at Ocean Lakes High School. A volunteer for the past five years, Lisa has served as the PTSA President and Treasurer, chaired many committees and has served as an AP Testing administrator or proctor. She has created several new initiatives including Dolphin Dollars (a stress-free fundraising alternative), a weekly electronic PTSA newsletter, an informational program for parents of freshmen and sophomores and numerous community service events. “Lisa is the heavy lifter on many projects and there are so many ways that her influence has contributed to the overall success of our PTSA and (ultimately) our students,” said Principal Cheryl Askew.
Parkway Elementary School
Although she doesn’t have children or grandchildren in VBCPS, retiree Becky Thomas always puts well-being of the students at Parkway Elementary School first. She happily works behind the scenes to make sure teachers have the materials they need. And, when she isn’t at Parkway, Thomas is packing Beach Bags to ensure students who may not have enough to eat over the weekend get a healthy meal. Not only has Thomas dedicated time to this worthy endeavor, but she has recruited others to join her as well. According to PTA President Scott Kell, “Becky truly understands the challenges that some of the students in our Title I school face, and her huge heart and passion for making a positive difference are doing just that. She is an extraordinary person and sets an example for others.”
Pembroke Elementary School
Pembroke Elementary School is grateful to their humble volunteer Tim Jennison. He can be counted on every day to assist students with special needs on and off the buses. His warm, gentle mannerism is appreciated by students who look forward to seeing him. Jennison can also be found out on the school’s adaptive playground where he helps supervise students at play. When a volunteer is needed to help with field trips, he is the first to volunteer. Pembroke’s “Tim the Tool man” also constructed a drying rack for the art room, repainted bookshelves, built learning center dividers and helps maintain the weeding and watering of the butterfly garden. “His mere presence elevates morale,” said Volunteer Coordinator Pinrecko Artis.
Pembroke Meadows Elementary School
College student Chanell Carrington makes Pembroke Meadows Elementary School a better place to work and learn. Volunteering in fourth grades classrooms, she helps remedial students with their reading skills. The extra practice and gentle “push” to get them where they need to be has made a significant difference in their fluency and confidence. Whether spending time with. Carrington reading, playing academic games or working in small groups to reinforce content, students respect and enjoy her and are proud of what they have accomplished.
Plaza Middle School
Even 15 years after retiring from Plaza Middle School, Myrtle Brown-Kinard shows up like clockwork, every week at the same time. She helps inventory the library and mans the front desk. She is an extra set of eyes, ears and hands and the library media specialist and her assistant believe she is the reason why the team functions so efficiently. Perhaps her greatest contribution is the help she provides struggling readers. Her assistance with literacy skills has significantly improved their performance in the classroom and on SOL tests. According to school media specialist Catherine Taylor, “Myrtle embodies all the traits that an ideal volunteer should have. She treats all students with the utmost respect and she truly values them.”
Point O'View Elementary School
Rick Kearney is the consummate volunteer at Point O’ View Elementary School. He works tirelessly organizing special PTA functions such as the fifth grade picnic and graduation and lends a hand at all other events. In fact, he includes his entire family in volunteering at the school as well, modeling collaboration and doing your best to help others. This soft-spoken gentleman embodies the ideals of the PTA, never seeking public recognition for his efforts. He is an extremely generous volunteer, parent and friend to all at POES.
Princess Anne Elementary School
Volunteering almost 30 hours each week, Christine Sullivan is Princess Anne Elementary School’s outstanding volunteer! She served as PTA President this year and incorporated several new events, including before and after school activities. The “Fire up Your Feet” before school exercise program provided students with 40 minutes of activity three times each week. Not only did Christine lead the activities, but she also pursued the awards offered by the statewide program and earned $1,800 for the continued enrichment of the physical fitness program. During an afterschool program, “Reflections University,” students were taught by local professionals and teachers about topics of special interest including dance and photography. The guided sessions were designed to increase participation in the PTA Reflections program by creating a positive, exciting environment for students.
Michael and Joanne Palmer
Princess Anne High School
Princess Anne High School is celebrating an exceptional husband and wife volunteer team! Michael and Joanne Palmer have always been active in the PTA and that continued even after their son graduated in 2014. Joanne serves as the PTSA Secretary and Mike is the All Night Graduation Party chairman. The old adage, “Two heads are better than one” has definitely proven true in this case. While Mike handles most of the public speaking and email communications, Joanne works behind the scenes on organizational tasks. One of their greatest accomplishments is the creation of the Senior Package which saves families money by bundling senior expenses. Their genuine interest in the students, staff, and community of Princess Anne High School is evident in all they do!
Princess Anne Middle School
*2015 Citywide Middle School Volunteer of the Year* - Kim Wells can be seen almost anywhere at Princess Anne Middle School helping teachers, dropping off donations, copying papers for the entire sixth grade, stocking the food pantry, organizing volunteers, working at school events or running the concession stand. Her genuine dedication and caring attitude for PAMS students and teachers shows in everything she does! “Kim knows our schedules are extremely busy and can be stressful. Mrs. Wells makes a sincere effort 100% of the time to take things off our plates to free our time to work with students. We could never repay her for all the time and commitment that she has given to all of us at the school. I am proud to be associated with such a great person,” said sixth-grade teacher James Arnett.
Providence Elementary School
Despite a busy schedule, Peggy Garfield has found time to volunteer at Providence Elementary School for the past seven years to organize bags of books for first graders. Part of the Take Home Reading Program, Peggy collects books read, organizes them by DRA levels and redistributes them to excited young readers twice each week. Students practice their leveled books at home and come to school ready to share with reading buddies. Personal reading logs are included in each student bag and notes are shared between teachers and parents. According to bookkeeper Karen Duggan, “Peggy Garfield is the grandmother everyone would want to have in their lives.”
Red Mill Elementary School
Retired teacher Wendie Hale has worked tirelessly to support school PTA events at Red Mill Elementary School for the past seven years. Not only is she the PTA’s First Vice President in charge of membership, but she has chaired the Fall Festival, Founder’s Day and Hospitality committees. She often stays after school to help teachers with projects or to set up activities. Second-grade teacher Katy Hare said, “Wendie kept my classroom decked out each month with a new theme. If I needed assistance on a project, I simply called her to discuss my idea and she cheerfully worked her magic! Our school is lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer and parent.”
Jerrold Lattimore positively impacts the middle school students at Renaissance Academy as a facilitator of the Wave City Care STRENGTH mentorship program. The male students benefit immensely from Lattimore’s relatable stories of similar situations he experienced when he was their age and how his choices shaped his life. “I have personally witnessed the commitment, compassion and leadership he dedicates to the students in our school,” said Kay Thomas, Renaissance Academy Executive Director. “He is highly respected and is helping our students aspire to greatness.”
Rosemont Elementary School
Melissa Sue is a classroom volunteer who assists with the afterschool STEM program, creates unique and inviting works of art in the school showcase, helps with the book fair and is a tremendous supporter of all PTA events at Rosemont Elementary School. She does an excellent job of working with teachers to help meet the needs of students and is especially passionate about working with younger students and those with disabilities. She has a natural way of getting kids to open up and often gets their ideas for events or programs they would like to see at the school. Sue is also known for reaching out to the community to involve parents in meaningful ways at the school.
Rosemont Forest Elementary School
Bonnie Murdoch is a multitalented volunteer at Rosemont Forest Elementary School. A professional illustrator and martial arts instructor, Bonnie has a way of helping students realize their talents. While demonstrating the authentic work of a community artist, she encourages students to shine in their area of interest and creativity to participate in the PTA Reflections Contest. She also assists with fifth grade chorus rehearsals and performances and is a cheerful motivator and advocate for students. Music specialist Martha Roberts said, “Bonnie is not only a joy to work with, but her professional feedback has made a dramatic difference in our school’s musical performances.”
Salem Elementary School
Salem Elementary School is grateful for volunteer Celia-Luella Farr who took the lead to breathe new life into the Reading Rams volunteer reading program that helps to promote literacy and a love for books. She personally recruited, trained and managed volunteers as well as found creative ways to ensure interesting books were available to all students. “Because of Celia’s focused commitment to this reading program,” said volunteer coordinator BreAnn Forkner, “the program is thriving and students see reading as a fun and rewarding experience!”
Salem High School
A six-year volunteer at Salem High School, Charlene Hershberger contributes nearly 24 hours each week to assisting students in the Visual and Performing Arts Academy. She is responsible for creating the Bylaws and Incorporation for the Friends of the Academy (FOTA) that helped establish them as a nonprofit organization eligible to apply for corporate and foundation grants that support the arts. Hershberger also coordinates fundraisers for the Instrumental Strand and finds time to serve as the timer for varsity swim meets. Her professionalism, dedication and support of teachers and programs at Salem has earned her the respect of all who know her. She is a positive role model for others to emulate.
Salem Middle School
Dana Smith is one of the newest volunteers at Salem Middle School, but she came in like a whirlwind. This mother of three is credited with the huge success of this year’s book fair. Smith spent countless hours ordering books and other items she knew would appeal to middle school students. At the book fair, she interacted with students, checked in volunteers, counted proceeds and chipped in some of her own money to ensure all students would benefit from the sale. It was so well done, that when students asked her if they could have another book fair this year. She happily made the unprecedented decision to host another one in the spring.
CS2 James Onuska
Seatack Elementary An Achievable Dream Academy
Seatack Elementary An Achievable Dream Academy can’t sing their praises loud enough for their incredible volunteer CS2 James Onuska. Affectionately known as “Mr. O,” Onuska, a culinary specialist with NAS Oceana Master Jet Command, spends two hours each morning greeting students with a smile and handshake and encouraging everyone to make it a special day. Then he works in math classes with second graders leading calendar activities and helping students with morning seatwork, often quizzing them on their facts during breaks. He was instrumental in organizing a field trip on the base in honor of Veterans Day which closely aligned with their social studies objectives. Seatack teacher Valerie Respass said, “He radiates a high octane level of energy, and the students and faculty love him! He has shown students how to properly wear their uniforms, the military stance and how to turn, remarking they perform better than some of his sailors. Students stand tall and proud in his presence.” Onuska plans to return to school to pursue a teaching degree and hopes to return to the division as a middle school social studies teacher.
Linda "Sunny" Fox
Shelton Park Elementary School
Linda “Sunny” Fox has been a “remarkable gift” to Shelton Park Elementary School, according to administration, staff and families at the school. She is the kind of person that makes people strive to be the best than can be. She has combed the community for donations to fund programs and activities, to provide food for events and to purchase equipment. A cancer survivor, Fox makes every day count and everything revolves around learning, community service and making people smile. Whether organizing a schoolwide Family Fun Run for the school’s Running with Pride program, instituting the first formal Family Fall Ball to salute the military families or finding new ways to challenge students to be physically fit or exemplary readers, Fox is inspiring all who have the honor to know her.
Strawbridge Elementary School
Christine DeRoner began volunteering at Strawbridge Elementary School two years ago and has dedicated nearly 30 hours every week since to serve as Hospitality Chair, head the Audit Committee, handle Red Ribbon Week and Fall Festival activities, run Turkey Bingo and assist with holiday shopping at the school’s Elf Shelf Shop. She is the spirit behind the Spirit Wear Campaign, assists as a room mom and leads the Wednesday Work Day when volunteers get together to do copying, work on interactive classroom activities and help teachers prepare for the next week of instruction. “Christine is one of those special volunteers that asks what needs to be done and sees it through. I don’t know what we would do without her,” said fellow PTA member and Volunteer in Education Coordinator Andrea Aquilino.
Tallwood Elementary School
Contributing nearly 30 hours to Tallwood Elementary School each week, Michele “Missy” Jacquet has become known as the “Yes, I’m here to help” volunteer. She spends much time in and around the library assisting with classes, shelving books, helping students with research and projects, and pulling and delivering materials to teachers to be used for instruction. She is also the amazing mom who came to this year’s book fair every day. Jacquet serves as a room mom for her first-grader’s class and has been a huge help with PTA fundraising and attending all events.
H. Jerome Howard
Tallwood High School
Volunteer coach H. Jerome Howard, invests more than 30 hours each week to assist the Boys’ Varsity Basketball team at Tallwood High School. Recognizing that his duties extend beyond supervision of strength and conditioning programs and skill development, he stresses the importance of education and regularly checks grades of student athletes. He also makes himself available to all players who request academic assistance, providing them with resources and tutoring. Dedicating more than 475 hours of volunteer service to date, Howard makes every effort to encourage self-discipline, respect and a sense of altruism in students. “His disposition and affinity to connect has led to treasured relationships that will be remembered by all who come in contact with him. His passion and dedication is unparalleled,” said THS Boys’ Varsity basketball coach Tom Gunsalus.
Technical and Career Education Center
Amy Sawyer, a graduate of the Technical and Career Education Center’s Early Childhood Education Program, commits 10 hours each week to serve as a volunteer classroom assistant at her alma mater. In addition to preparing high school students for careers in the field of early childhood, operating a preschool for children ranging in age from 3 to 5 years old can be a daunting tasks for teachers without the assistance of dependable and enthusiastic volunteers like Sawyer. She sets up preschool activities, organizes and prepares snacks, creates bulletin boards and interactive learning games as well as works with small groups of children. Her kind, nurturing attitude has attributed to the great rapport she has developed with students. Early Childhood education instructor Theresa Cole said, “She is an exemplary volunteer and deserves more accolades than I could ever hope to bestow.”
Thalia Elementary School
Felicia Anderson is a full-time college student yet still finds time to volunteer at Thalia Elementary School four days each week. She assists with all PTA activities, stuffs Thursday folders as a room parent, runs copies and orchestrates classroom activities as needed. Anderson’s energy and creativity has a way of making all events special, including the 100th Day of School celebration and the fifth-grade Colonial Day. She brings creative ideas to meetings and does not hesitate to do whatever is needed that will benefit students. Anderson is an inspiration to all who know her.
Thoroughgood Elementary School
Not only has Lane Mueller been an exemplary PTA President at Thoroughgood Elementary School but she has been a remarkable room mother, outstanding leader of the Destination Imagination Teams and true advocate for families of children with disabilities. As the parent of a child with disabilities, she has created a network of support to guide families as they seek ways to provide the best education possible for their child. She is a shoulder to lean on and a wealth of knowledge. Lane never misses an opportunity to read weekly with students and has been an invaluable asset in recruiting and coordinating volunteers throughout the year. Principal Dr. Cheryl Zigrang said, “Lane makes our school a better place for students, families and staff. She is an amazing leader!”
Three Oaks Elementary School
Retired VBCPS special education teacher Norma Meligonois has found a special place in the hearts of third graders at Three Oaks Elementary School. Each week, she works with individual students who need extra assistance in reading and math. Teachers provide her the concept or skill, and Meligonois plans the instruction to assist struggling students. “Students that work with her are more confident and are making great strides academically,” shared teacher Marilyn Jernigan. “She brings such a positive attitude to my class and the children are excited to work with her.”
Trantwood Elementary School
Krista Booth is a valued member of the Planning Council at Trantwood Elementary School and a hard working volunteer attending all PTA functions and events. Thanks to Krista, the annual Snowflake Breakfast was a big hit with families and the largest fundraiser of the year. This amazing volunteer not only coordinated 40 vendors selling crafts, filled a gymnasium with games, crafts and other fun activities for students, organized all the volunteers for the breakfast and collected silent auction items, all while toting her toddler. Says Principal Dr. Jeanne Crocker, “Krista embodies the best of the best in Virginia Beach and because of her, Trantwood families thrive.”
Virginia Beach Middle School
For the past five years, staff and students at Virginia Beach Middle School have had the pleasure of seeing the positive attitude, enthusiasm of volunteer Sheila Horne. Currently serving on the PTA Board at VBMS and Cox High School, Horne manages the school’s Box Tops Education initiative and collects Farm Fresh receipts and Campbell’s labels. She has made these fundraisers fun by creating student contests that have dramatically increased overall participation. Horne is always willing to help before or after school and is involved in numerous activities to support VBMS.
White Oaks Elementary School
LaTara Britt volunteers in the library every day at White Oaks Elementary School. Not only does she assist staff with checking books in and out as well as shelving them, but she created an inviting entrance to “the castle” complete with the school’s dragon mascot to celebrate Reading Month. Her gentle tone and smile seem to draw students to her who need a little extra assistance finding just the right book.
Williams Elementary School
For the past four years, Trevin Curtis has made a positive impact in the lives of many students attending Williams Elementary School. President of the League of Extraordinary Men, a partnership with Norfolk State University, Trevin engages with more than 50 African-American male students in grades 4 and 5 each week. He participates in all family engagement activities, field days, field trips and assists with afterschool clubs. Curtis is an example of responsibility, respect, dignity and excellence that the Eagles at Williams want to emulate.
Windsor Oaks Elementary School
Alicia Hanaczewski, a Green Run High School senior, is also a Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow intern at Windsor Oaks Elementary School. Not only is she an exemplary role model who has an outstanding rapport with her students, but she has gone above and beyond the call of duty to volunteer before school at the school store. She also assists with the two largest afterschool clubs, the SCA and the Ecology Club, working with more than 100 students. Her leadership skills and general exuberance so impressed the SCA advisors that they asked Alicia to serve as the keynote speaker at the Installation of Officers ceremony. “As she leaves us to pursue an education degree, we know her genuine spirit and desire to contribute to the welfare of children will make her an excellent teacher,” shared SCA adviser Corinne Wolfe-Cornwell.
Windsor Woods Elementary School
For more than seven years, Tonya Boulier has volunteered weekly at Windsor Woods Elementary School even after her last grandchild left for middle school three years ago. She assists the entire third grade with tasks such as coloring, cutting, laminating and hole punching to create special hands-on learning activities for students. She is always eager to assist knowing she is providing teachers with valuable time needed to enhance their lesson plans or meet with students. Whether working in the learning garden, preparing for science experiments, assembling math folders or organizing books for guided reading groups, Boulier supports learning experiences for students at Windsor Woods.
Woodstock Elementary School
Thanks to the creativity of volunteer Amber Sheffield Woodstock Elementary School students have had more hands-on learning activities available to reinforce concepts and skills being taught in the classroom. She also creates eye-catching hallway displays, promotes the WATCH D.O.G.S. program and finds unique, fun ways to display student work. Sheffield serves as a student mentor, modeling behaviors and providing additional adult support. “Amber values our teachers’ hard work and realizes that a volunteer’s time and effort can go a long way to improve student achievement. When volunteer tutors were needed to assist with math remediation, Amber brought in the team. Our teachers and students know they can count on her and we are all grateful to have her as a part of our Woodstock family,” said Principal Amy Hedrick.