Adult Learning Center
Edna Carr is a devoted tutor for a number of people struggling with low reading skills at the Adult Learning Center. She helps instill confidence by providing individualized attention and strategies to help students master reading skills. Her ability to demonstrate relevance for students makes her an asset at the ALC.
John Montheith, IV
Advanced Technology Center
John Monteith, IV is the dedicated ATC Engineering Technology alumnus who returns to offer mentor support to students. When not attending his own classes at Tidewater Community College, Monteith sets up labs and modules for daily lessons at the Advanced Technology Center. He is an invaluable volunteer for instructors and an inspiration for students at the ATC.
Alanton Elementary School
For the last two years, Lisa Mugler has volunteered to be the room parent for both her daughters' classrooms and to run copies for teachers at Alanton Elementary School. Thanks to Mulger, PTA Spirit Nights have been a huge success and raised more than $1,500 to enhance educational programs at the school. Mulger works tirelessly to make teachers and students feel appreciated and valued through special luncheons, recognition breakfasts and fifth-grade graduation celebrations.
Arrowhead Elementary School
Heather McKeating can be found working in the Arrowhead Elementary School store two days a week. When she’s not there, she spends quality time working in her son’s classroom assisting with reading. McKeating can be counted on to make Bingo Nights and other PTA events very special as she often donates Norfolk Tides game tickets and paraphernalia as prizes.
Bayside Elementary School
Bayside Elementary School’s volunteer and retired firefighter Michael Tomko holds a special place in the hearts of the Bayside family. His positive attitude and passion for making students’ lives better is apparent in the positive relationships he builds with students. He eats breakfast each morning with students, serves as a mentor for the young men, assists in small groups in classrooms and reads with several at-risk readers. Tomko exemplifies what giving back to the community is all about. He even jumped in to play “Elfis” in the school’s winter concert. This Volunteer of the Year makes it clear to every student that he is another caring adult who wants them to succeed.
Bayside High School
Kysha Jackson is Bayside High School’s athletic assistant extraordinaire and this year’s Volunteer of the Year. A former high school basketball player, Jackson has been giving back to her alma mater for seven and a half years. Along with her passion for coaching girls’ basketball, it is the personal time she invests in the students that is truly remarkable. She is a mentor for the girls; academically and personally. Her encouragement and dedication directly impacts the positive and lasting connection students develop with Bayside. These students mean much more to her than points on a scoreboard and they know it.
Bayside Middle School
Tamara Doss has been an amazing supporter of the Band Parents Association at Bayside Middle School for the past two years. She also helps to chaperone field trips and works concessions at many of the school events. Doss is a proud and power member of the “Raider Nation.”
Birdneck Elementary School
Birdneck Elementary School staff can’t sing the praises of their Volunteer of the Year Amy White loud enough. Not only is she a fulltime bus driver for Virginia Beach Schools, but she is a fulltime volunteer at the school. Always there to greet everyone with a big smile, she is the “second set of hands” for 15 teachers at the school. White helps to prepare materials and set up activities in classrooms allowing teachers to concentrate on planning innovative lessons and to work with students.
Brandon Middle School
Edna Yates is an extraordinary volunteer for Brandon Middle School. As a retired teacher, she knows what extra help can mean to a teacher but most importantly, what it can mean for students. She dedicates three days each week serving as a buddy reader and working with students during guided reading to assist at-risk readers. Through her motivation and praise, Yates is able to reach readers who have faced years of frustration. Thanks to her compassion, energy and expertise, students are making progress and meeting with success.
Brookwood Elementary School
Beverly Bilger is a huge asset to the students and staff at Brookwood Elementary School. At the beginning of the year, she aided the first grade teachers in screening the students and tested their knowledge of sight words. Currently, she works an average eight hours a week with students in first and third grades helping them decode, develop fluency and apply reading strategies.
Centerville Elementary School
Susan Grant is positively influencing the lives of students at Centerville Elementary School. A veteran volunteer with more than three years of service at the school, Grant helps third graders become more proficient in using technology. She is a favorite tutor and students love her warm, bubbly approach. Grant is one of the first people to volunteer to assist with PTA functions and to donate supplies or materials when they are needed.
Christopher Farms Elementary School
Ross Guins is the kind of person that sees a job that needs to be done and tackles it. For the past eight years, he has been a builder, a food server, dish washer and valet at Christopher Farms Elementary School. According to Principal Teri Breaux, “Mr. Guins’s roles and responsibilities may change, but one thing does not - his positive willingness to complete a job with a smile.”
College Park Elementary School
College Park Elementary School’s Michelle Wood has volunteered at the school for the past three years. As the Volunteer in Education Coordinator she helps create opportunities for parents, grandparents and community members who would like to be involved in schools. Wood is also known for the special attention she gives to holiday activities to ensure that every student has a memorable experience.
Cooke Elementary School
Thanks to the invaluable leadership of PTA Treasurer Kevin Gardiner, Cooke Elementary School is able to provide students with much-needed resources and enrichment programs. He works closely with the PTA, administration and teachers to assist with grant funding. But, it is Gardiner’s professionalism and genuine interest in people that make the real difference at Cooke. “He exemplifies the ideal traits of an exceptional volunteer in every way,” says PTA President Jackie Warren.
Corporate Landing Elementary School
Volunteer Melissa Puckett’s dedication to Corporate Landing Elementary School is unparalleled. Not only does she work in the library five days each week, but she has organized 10 events during the school year, bringing more than 30 additional volunteers to the school. Puckett is willing to come in early and stay late; whatever is needed to complete a task. At CLES, Puckett is the epitome of volunteerism.
Corporate Landing Middle School
Corporate Landing Middle School’s Melissa Grimes comes to the school on a regular basis to do whatever she can to save valuable time for teachers. As a former teacher herself, she fully understands the precious commodity of time for educators. She has contributed almost 100 hours making copies, helping with inventories, assisting with school projects and afterschool events and chaperoning field trips. Grimes is a true gem at Corporate Landing Middle School.
Cox High School
Cox High School’s Sheila Gunter is the perfect example of a volunteer who goes above and beyond her job description. As co-chair of the PTA Ways and Means Committee, Gunter helps coordinate the annual book fair which includes setting up donation boxes in the community, collecting and storing books in the storage shed, setting up for the sale, coordinating volunteers, advertising, selling and take-down. The proceeds of the book sale, totaling more than $4,000 this year, fund the Cox Scholarship program.
Creeds Elementary School
Creeds Elementary School’s outstanding volunteer Lynn Dove lends her expertise to ensure that the Fall Festival, afterschool tutoring Program, math club, book fair and Creeds Fun Run all go off without a hitch. When Principal Robin Davenport asked her about her tremendous involvement at the school, Dove said, “It is my sincere hope that I will say or do something while I am with our children that they will carry with them the rest of their lives that will help them grow into healthy, happy adults.”
Dey Elementary School
Volunteer Kevin Moorehead is a “go-to” fundraiser at John B. Dey Elementary School. In fact, the Fall Festival and Fawn Shop wouldn’t be the same without her. This year, Moorehead completely restructured the Fawn Shop which gives students with limited funds the opportunity to buy holiday gifts for family members. It’s efforts such as this that make students, staff and parents feel valued and appreciated at the school.
Diamond Springs Elementary School
Bob Rawls, volunteer of the year at Diamond Springs Elementary School, is a problem-solver. When a need arises in a classroom or club, Rawls is on hand with supplies and resources. When the school launched its Distinguished Young Gentlemen’s Club to teach manners and social skills to almost 300 students, Rawls was once again on hand to help. He and other members provided the placements and meals for a dining etiquette lesson. According to Principal Gloria Coston, “Mr. Bob Rawls is certainly making a difference in the lives of our children and staff!”
Fairfield Elementary School
Angie Phillips works tirelessly to support a number of school fundraisers, special events and festivals at Fairfield Elementary School including the winter music program. When she is not putting her organizational skills to good use at an event, Phillips can often be found assisting with classroom activities. “Angie Phillips is one of the most valuable additions to our Bold Gold Team this year,” says fifth-grade teacher Linda Fitte.
First Colonial High School
First Colonial High School’s Volunteer of the Year Monica Larsson has been instrumental in the success of the school’s Booster Club for the past six years. In addition to working at football and basketball games, she helps the cheerleaders with concessions at spring track meets. The task of maintaining inventories, coordinating volunteers and cleaning the stands after games are all part of Larsson’s volunteer duties. She sets a good example for the students at FC by demonstrating the importance of sharing time and talents for the good of others.
Great Neck Middle School
Christine Wilson is no stranger to the classroom. A former VBCPS teacher, she now works for a nonprofit organization which provides scholarships to military dependents. In addition to serving as PTA president at Great Neck Middle School, Wilson also volunteers to make college preparedness presentations to students across the school division. Given her job experiences, Wilson brings a unique understanding of the demands on teachers and the many ways a school community can support military-connected students.
Green Run Collegiate
Green Run Collegiate’s first Volunteer of the Year is William Hornsby. Hornsby is also GRC’s first PTSA President. He serves as a mentor and takes students twice each week to the Tidewater Community College Joint Use Library for tutoring. Without this special type of commitment, some of these students may not have realized their academic potential. According to IB Coordinator Rianne Particio, “It is parents like Mr. Hornsby that inspire the faculty and staff to be more involved not only with each student but the school community itself.”
Philip Russo, Jr.
Green Run Elementary School
Not a week goes by that Philip Russo, Jr. isn’t seen patiently waiting for his mentees’ lunch break at Green Run Elementary School. He takes time from his law practice to join students in a loud and crowded school cafeteria. This small act shows the students that Russo is not only interested in their academic success, but that he also values the time that they spend together. He listens to what students have to say and connects with them in meaningful, relevant ways.
Green Run High School
Teena Vogel has brought new found energy and enthusiasm to the Green Run High School PTSA. In her first year as president, she has organized numerous fundraisers including a Community Marketplace in the spring. Vogel can often be found cheering on athletic teams at away games and working the concessions stand at home games. She even baked cookies for the football and basketball teams when they made it to the regional playoffs. Vogel is a model of “Stallion Pride” and most deserving as the school’s Volunteer of the Year.
Hermitage Elementary School
Shawna Williams is the “best of the best” at Hermitage Elementary School. She goes above and beyond on Workday Wednesdays to assist a number of teachers with projects. What’s more, Williams trains other parents and community members as they join the Hermitage family of volunteers. Thanks to her incredible efforts, PTA activities like the Winter Festival are an overwhelming success.
Holland Elementary School
During Molly Buehl's three years at Holland Elementary School, she has volunteered at least 10 hours each week and has never missed a single school event. When the PTA President position opened at the beginning of this year, Buehl was a natural choice. In addition to planning school events, she can be found welcoming visitors in the office, assisting in the cafeteria, shelving books in the library and supporting students and teachers in classrooms. Everyone at Holland Elementary is grateful for her dedication to the school.
Independence Middle School
Independence Middle School’s Volunteer of the Year Chantal Jean-Louis commits more than a full day each week to help with ticket and cookie sales, to support events and clubs and to monitor the halls. This outstanding volunteer even washes team uniforms. Now that’s dedication!
Indian Lakes Elementary School
Kim Richman has worked her volunteer magic at Indian Lakes Elementary School for the last 24 years! She organizes student recognition events, book fairs, guest speakers and field days. Richman, along with members of her church group, buy food and pack 30-50 Beach Bags each month for students who may otherwise not have enough to eat on weekends. She also provides turkey dinners and food baskets for 20 Indian Lakes’ families during the holidays. Richman puts her heart and soul into making a tangible difference in the lives of others.
Kellam High School
Stormie Henley is the mother of three, works outside the home and still finds time to volunteer at all three of her children’s schools. She has single-handedly increased the PTSA membership at Kellam High School through her constant visibility in the building and attendance at countless events. Her superior organizational skills and impeccable record-keeping have served KHS well.
Kemps Landing Magnet School
Kemps Landing Magnet School’s Volunteer of the Year Debbie O’Connell has served as the PTA Treasurer for two years. When faced with a challenge, she always ensures that “what’s best for children” is the focus of any solution.
Kempsville Elementary School
Carol “Grami” Pauley has been a tireless advocate for children and public education during her 15 years of volunteer service at Kempsville Elementary School. Throughout the years, she’s always had a smile to share at back to school activities, holiday breakfasts and the annual book fair. Pauley also supports teachers and students in the classroom by reading with individual students and small groups. When asked why she does so much, she said, “…because children are precious, teachers are wonderful and we all have our part to do!”
Kempsville High School
Carole McCullough is an active volunteer in the student activities office at Kempsville High School, serves on the All-Night Graduation committee and is a member of the PTSA. McCullough’s organizational skills and ability to work with others makes her an outstanding volunteer coordinator. She continually puts the needs of the school and students first.
Kempsville Meadows Elementary School
Kelly Kinnear is the PTA president and volunteer of the year at Kempsville Meadows Elementary School. She is that hands-on leader who goes out of her way to make every event at the school an engaging family experience. A volunteer for the past five years, the school values the parent perspective that Kinnear readily shares as a member of the School Planning Council.
Kempsville Middle School
Eileen Sullivan is Kempsville Middle School’s Volunteer of the Year. Although new to the Braves’ family, Sullivan already dedicates more than 10 hours each week to support the PTA concessions program which helps fund grants and scholarships for deserving seniors. Most impressive is Sullivan’s ability to engage students in all community service and leadership activities.
King's Grant Elementary School
Renee Wian has volunteered at King’s Grant Elementary School for the past four years. During that time, she’s served on the PTA Board and managed the school store. She has selflessly dedicated hours each week to helping students and staff wherever she is needed. This year, Wian is also the fourth grade assistant and makes copies for teachers and stuffs Thursday folders each week.
Kingston Elementary School
PTA President Beth Royle has contributed more than 30 hours a week at Kingston Elementary School this year. In addition to planning this year’s Family Fitness Night, she was also instrumental in the success of the “Student Development” program in which every grade level developed a community service project to support a charity or organization. Royle has always stressed the importance of parents and adults modeling the behavior and qualities they wish to see in students.
Landstown Elementary School
Ronnie Concepcion devotes numerous hours each week, after leaving the shipyard, to volunteering at Landstown Elementary School. He can often be seen updating the PTA display case, organizing closets, setting up for PTA events, snapping photos for the yearbook or assisting faculty and staff. The children of LES love “Mr. Ronnie.” His bright smile, positive attitude and dedication make him a treasure for the Dolphins.
Landstown High School
Landstown High School has had the good fortune of working with volunteer Kimberley O’Neill for the past eight years. She has played an important role in chairing the concessions committee and serving as the PTSA Treasurer. O’Neill has helped with the “All Night Grad Party” and the distribution of senior yard signs. Thanks to her organizational skills, the concessions fundraiser brought in money to support recognition and celebration activities for students and staff.
Landstown Middle School
Freelance novelist Dina Sleiman gave students and staff at Landstown Middle School a reason to sing and dance. Sleiman volunteered her time to choreograph the school musical, Kamp Kaos. On hand for every rehearsal, she taught 13 song and dances numbers to 60 students in the cast. “Dina Sleiman has the heart of a teacher and the patience of a saint,” said PTA President Carla Smith. “Landstown students are lucky to have the best role model ever!”
Larkspur Middle School
In addition to working fulltime at TCC, Lakiesha Jones is one of the amazing women of Wave City Care. She volunteers at Larkspur Middle School to facilitate ShineGIRLS, a self-empowerment program for sixth through eighth graders. She helps girls to recognize their potential, further develop their integrity and recognize their responsibilities. School counselor Stefanie Hall says, “She really motivates the girls. They are maturing, using good judgment and are on a positive path.”
Linkhorn Park Elementary School
Deedra Dills has volunteered in the school division for eight years. This year, she served as PTA Vice President at Linkhorn Park Elementary School. Under her leadership, membership increased more than 40 percent allowing the PTA to reach its goal of 100 percent membership for the first time in six years. Also this year, Dills launched a weekly PTA newsletter and website. Her next project is a parent directory to help connect families and increase parent involvement in the school.
Luxford Elementary School
Luxford Elementary School is grateful for the long list of prep work tasks that volunteer Jill Stuart completes for teachers each week. She organizes content-related flashcards by units, collates SOL folders, makes math games – including classroom sets of beaded number lines – and personally cuts out hundreds of word study sorts. Stuart helps to ensure that learning is fun and engaging for all Luxford Dragons.
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 together materials, preparing items for the Literacy Lab, attending field trips and teaching crafts to students in her son’s class. Bertges attends every PTA event at the school and even finds time to serve on the School Planning Council.
Lynnhaven Middle School
Kemberly Rosario is the queen of recognition according to staff at Lynnhaven Middle School. As the staff recognition committee chair for the past two years, Rosario has put a great deal of time and energy into researching tokens of appreciation for staff and teachers. She uses her creativity to find fun items and present them in interesting ways. The PTA frequently receives heartfelt thanks from staff members who say they feel valued for all they do for students.
Malibu Elementary School
Retired serviceman Gordon Lader volunteers every Friday at Malibu Elementary School to help teachers with a variety of copying, cutting and sorting tasks related to creating hands-on lessons for students. In addition, Lader volunteers in the computer lab with kindergarten classes and patiently guides them through lessons. His warm, friendly demeanor makes him a bright, positive force at the school.
New Castle Elementary School
Jackie Collins is a dedicated volunteer at New Castle Elementary School where she currently serves as the second Vice President of the PTA. She is also holds the position of PTA Secretary at Old Donation Center as wells as the First Vice President position for the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs. Jackie has been volunteering for more than 10 years and is the person to go to for any and all PTA questions. Her wealth of PTA knowledge certainly came in handy this year as she has helped to raise almost $17,000 to support student programs.
Newtown Elementary School
Christa Hall is dedicated in her volunteer efforts at Newtown Elementary School. She comes to the school every day and stays all day, eager to assist teachers wherever she can. She helps monitor the cafeteria, prepares instructional materials for teachers and makes dismissal a pleasant experience at the school. Students and staff love their Volunteer of the Year.
North Landing Elementary School
Inspired by her grandfather’s love of gardening, Kari Hill mobilized a team of volunteers to revitalize the Rams Outdoor Campus at North Landing Elementary School. She transformed weeds and dirt beds into an area featuring a vegetable garden and refurbished picnic tables. Her passion “grew” on members of the school’s garden club as well. The students sold their first harvest at this year’s Fall Festival. Hill’s love of the outdoors energized teachers and students who now use two of the school’s compost bins as a tool for teaching and learning.
Ocean Lakes Elementary School
Tiffany Forbes at Ocean Lakes Elementary School is the kind of volunteer every school needs. She assists with Wednesday folders, teaches enrichment classes and helps with every PTA event and fundraiser. Forbes is the room parent coordinator for the school and is personally the room parent for four classrooms. Amazingly, she finds time to do all of this while serving as the ombudsman for her husband’s command and owning her own business.
Ocean Lakes High School
Ocean Lakes High School sure got a boost when Jim Gillies started volunteering. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Math and Science Academy’s Parent Booster Club (MSAB). It was no easy feat to establish a nonprofit organization, draft the bylaws and budgets or recruit members, but the booster club did it! Under Gillies leadership, the group raised enough money to expand student recognition at the annual Senior Medallion Ceremony as well as scholarship opportunities.
Old Donation Center
Anna Feliberti is the “can-do, go-to” volunteer at Old Donation Center. She does everything from serving as the PTA Vice President of Membership and managing the school’s PTA website to leading a Destination Imagination team. Feliberti also volunteers at her church and is a Girl Scout leader. ODC Principal Dr. Kelly Hendrick shared, “Behind her list of activities, leadership roles and accomplishments is a genuine and humble individual whose work at ODC is the hallmark of unselfish service to our school community.”
Parkway Elementary School
Scott Kell’s dedication to the students and staff at Parkway Elementary School is unbeatable! Raised by a single mother and not being the most exemplary student himself, Scott realized the importance of strong male role models for children and he vowed to be the positive difference in a child’s life. He serves as the PTA treasurer, volunteers his time as a member of Watch D.O.G. S. (Dads of Great Students) and is the “behind the scenes” guy making sure students have what they need to succeed. His laid back, easy style helps students to easily relate to him and his guest appearances as the Grinch at Cocoa with Santa put him at celebrity status. “Mr. Scott is truly a rock star at Parkway Elementary!”
Pembroke Elementary School
Wayne Anderson and his therapy dog Mike is making a world of difference for young readers at Pembroke Elementary School. “Team Anderson” comes to school every Friday to help struggling second grade readers. Students are engaged as they share their stories with Mike, who always has his ears perked so not to miss a single word. Anderson and his furry friend are a special volunteer team helping grow fluent, literate readers at PES.
Mary Jo Robins
Pembroke Meadows Elementary
Eight-year volunteer Mary Jo Robins has done it all at Pembroke Meadows Elementary School! During that time, she has built mazes for the Fall Carnival and helped with the Pastries for Panthers program. In the classroom, Robins has worked alongside first graders in activity centers and helped construct educational materials and personal story books with third graders. Her “Panther Pride” is evident in everything Robins does!
Plaza Middle School
Staff at Plaza Middle School can’t keep track of the number of projects that volunteer Deborah Billing has chaired or assisted with. Working five days a week at the school, Billing has donated countless hours constructing props and working behind the scenes to make the spring performance of the Wizard of Oz a success. In addition, she has coordinated school dances, helped with Box Tops for Education and other PTA fundraisers and lined up vendors for the fall craft show. “One thing I most admire about Mrs. Billing is the unassuming ways she does everything,” said Student Activities Coordinator Beth Wydra. “She takes no credit for the many jobs she does so well, instead she gives credit and praise to others around her. Humility is truly a virtue to treasure.”
Point O'View Elementary School
Mary James started volunteering at Point O’ View Elementary School at the beginning of the school and by the end of the first semester; she had contributed nearly 200 hours of volunteer time. As if that was not enough, James can still be found assisting in her daughter’s reading class, helping students at all grade levels who need some personal one-on-one attention and working in the library. There is no limit to this volunteer’s service!
Princess Anne Elementary
Susan Badorf has been volunteering on a weekly basis at Princess Anne Elementary School for many years. She began this school year by developing a new community sponsorship program which raised more than $3,000. Her other volunteer efforts have included serving as the PTA Recording Secretary, coordinating spirit wear fundraisers, working in the school library and supporting events such as the talent show, Open House and annual Founder’s Day auction.
Princess Anne High School
Princess Anne High School can’t thank their Volunteer of the Year Kristin Byerly for all of the ways she has helped the athletic department and their athletes over the past three years. She has run the concession stand at every meet and coordinated the parent duty schedule. Despite her exemplary managerial skills, she is the first to arrive and the last to leave every event. “Kristin Byerly is what all volunteers should strive to be,” said teacher and Head Wrestling Coach Martin Erickson. “She is a dedicated volunteer and a wonderful person.”
Princess Anne Middle School
“Bobbi Vinsand has found her niche with her Volunteer in Education Coordinator position at Princess Anne Middle School,” said PTA President Janine Sarach. She communicates weekly with her volunteers to find everyone an opportunity to be a part of the school’s community. Vinsand helps teachers connect with tutors, finds monitors for hallways and provides needed school supplies and food for the pantry. Her passion for helping others is admired by all Panthers at PAMS.
Providence Elementary School
Christin Neels is a tutor, lunchroom monitor, teacher aid and a positive presence at Providence Elementary School where she volunteers five days each week. Thanks to her eye for detail, the front foyer and the school gardens are welcoming sites for visitors and families. Additionally, she spends time mentoring students, sewing costumes for music performances, preparing artwork for display and creating posters for guidance counselors. She is especially helpful in supporting military families as they transition to the school.
Red Mill Elementary
Lynn Lutz is a tremendous asset to Red Mill Elementary School! She assists students in classrooms with activities, volunteers in the library and lightens the teachers’ workload by making copies and helping to create materials for interactive lessons. She is also the person responsible for scheduling and overseeing the Volunteer in Education program at the school. Red Mill feels extremely lucky to have such a generous and enthusiastic volunteer.
Lancelot James epitomizes the words commitment, compassion and leadership. His optimistic outlook makes him an exceptional role model for students at Renaissance Academy. An advocate for children, James first visited Renaissance Academy as a guest speaker. Based on his interaction with students, he now visits monthly; mentoring young men. His philosophy that each person must positively impact the community is brought to life every day by his actions.
Cheri Miller has been a devoted volunteer at Rosemont Elementary School for the past 11 years. She volunteers in kindergarten classrooms and helps students as well as teachers throughout the building with their daily tasks. She helps create a positive environment that makes families want to come out to support events like the fall and spring book fairs which she organizes each year. According to Assistant Principal Linda Morrissey, “Cheri is the picture of what it means to be the best volunteer you can be - one with a giving heart and not feeling that it is an obligation, but rather a blessing to serve our students and teachers.”
Rosemont Forest Elementary School
Brenda Green is the patient hands-on volunteer that most schools dream about. A seven-year volunteer at Rosemont Forest Elementary School, Brenda helps teachers gather and create materials for instruction, organizes books in the library and works with individual students who are struggling with academics. On any given day, she can be seen reading and practicing skills with students. She has a special way of making each child feel like the “Smartest Kid in the World!”
Salem Elementary School
Toni Boone is a relatively new volunteer who is taking Salem Elementary School by storm. In less than a year, she has sponsored the Battle of the Books team, coordinated the Family Dance Night and worked weekly in the library. Equally amazing is the work she and her family put in to clean up the school courtyard. The area is now a welcoming space for students and staff.
Salem High School
Jan Rucinski has volunteered for seven years at Salem High School. During that time, she has facilitated one of the greatest concession stands in the division, raising $18,000-$20,000 each year to support athletic programs and fund senior scholarships. Her commitment is never-ending. By the end of the first semester, Jan had donated more than 340 volunteer hours of service to Salem while balancing a fulltime career and serving on the Planning Commission for the city.
Salem Middle School
Retired school choral director Virginia Shearin hasn’t missed a beat since she began volunteering at Salem Middle School. Since 2002, Shearin has helped music students with rehearsals and productions of four concerts a year. Sharing her love of music, she has played the piano for events, chaperoned field trips and assisted the music department in countless ways. “Her love for music, our students and Salem’s program is seen in all that she does,” says Choral Director Anna Sully. “We are very lucky to have Ginger in our lives!”
Dr. Sandra Cohee
Seatack Elementary School
Seatack Elementary School is delighted that Dr. Sandra Cohee finds time each week to work with students. A retired principal with 32 years of experience, Cohee knows a thing or two about education. As a mentor she not only is she able to reinforce classroom learning, but she also helps students build confidence in their own abilities. She is a mentor extraordinaire!
Shelton Park Elementary School
Mike Bennett starts and ends every Tuesday and Thursday with students at Shelton Park Elementary School. He reads with first and fourth graders, assists in art classes and serves as the cafeteria monitor. No matter what he is doing, students can’t wait to share their stories or show “Mr. Mike” what they have accomplished.
Strawbridge Elementary School
Patricia Coulson put the “grand” in grandmother. She began volunteering at Strawbridge Elementary School four years ago, when her granddaughter started kindergarten. Since then, she’s worked each week in the school library and main office. She has cheerfully checked out thousands of books, processed and labeled hundreds of materials, worked at every book fair and helped with annual inventories. When the library needed to be packed up over summer break and unpacked in time for the first day of school, Coulson was the first to volunteer. “I personally love the fact that Mrs. Coulson is a Strawbridge grandma who sets an outstanding example for other families on how giving a few hours a week can make a huge impact on our school and children,” says PTA President Danica Eberly.
Tallwood Elementary School
Carol Hernandez is the consummate volunteer at Tallwood Elementary School where she has helped out for the past 21 years. She not only assists with musicals, concerts and helps preschoolers, but she prepares materials for teachers and works in centers with students facilitating fun educational activities.
Tallwood High School
Henry O’Neal is an actively engaged, well-accomplished senior at Tallwood High School. He not only serves as Vice President of the SCA, co-captain of the football team, President of the Men of Excellence, but he volunteers as a mentor each week at College Park Elementary. He has an impressive history of community involvement and leadership skills, supporting underprivileged youth, participating in the Adopt Highway clean campaigns, collecting and delivering food to local homeless shelters and food banks and assisting with the African-American Male Summit and is a member of the school’s Cultural Diversity Club. O’Neal is a model teen and a true example of student achievement through volunteerism.
Dr. Alvin Anderson
Technical & Career Education Center
Dr. Alvin “Andy” Anderson, began volunteering in the Technical and Career Education Center’s Outdoor Power Equipment Class three years ago at the age of 80. He arrived on the first day of school and has worked every day for 7.5 hours. Anderson has a special way of communicating and helping students, especially those with special needs. As a retired educator with 32 years of experience, his one-on-one, hands-on approach has benefited many; including teachers who often gain valuable insight in the way they teach their classes. Did we say that he drives almost 100 miles a day from his home in Suffolk to assist TCE? This world is a better place because of Andy Anderson.
Thalia Elementary School
Robin Berns, the mother of nine, is a powerhouse volunteer at Thalia Elementary School, works in two classrooms weekly and works tirelessly behind the scenes at the annual student talent show as well as serving as the Fifth Grade Graduation chair. Berns has volunteered at the school for the past 11 years and continues to light up the school with her sweet spirit and genuine care for teachers and students while promoting strong parental involvement in education.
Thoroughgood Elementary School
The staff at Thoroughgood Elementary School would have a difficult time listing all the ways that Tiffany Long supports the school. This former preschool teacher’s leadership helps to bring parents into classrooms as room parents, to work in the library, to assist with supplies and to help make learning materials for classes. ”The most impressive thing about Mrs. Long is her positive attitude and desire to help ALL students,” says Principal Cheryl Zigrang. “She is an ambassador of the school and an advocate for children.”
Three Oaks Elementary School
Three Oaks Elementary School thinks STEM Robotics volunteer Nate Winesett rocks! He assists the fourth and fifth grade STEM Club weekly and has an uncanny way of conveying his knowledge and love for technology. Students respond positively to the hands-on approach he uses to make STEM fun while helping them to perform tasks which can be challenging. He has even inspired students so much so that one of the young ladies requested a soldiering iron for a gift. Winsett is not your average volunteer. He has that special way of touching the minds and hearts of children.
Trantwood Elementary School
Karen Witham is Trantwood Elementary School’s Volunteer of the Year. She serves as the school’s Volunteer in Education Coordinator to facilitate volunteer opportunities for parents and the community. Witham has excellent communication skills and has a way of helping people understand the importance of volunteering when most feel that they just don’t have time “for one more thing.” They are grateful for the chance to make a difference and TES is more than appreciative of Witham’s dedication to the school and its students.
Virginia Beach Middle School
Courtney Graves, a mother of three, including twin daughters in the eighth grade, has been an extraordinary volunteer in the division for the past nine years. Not only does she work a fulltime job with the Virginia Department of Education, but this mover and shaker’s dedication to Virginia Beach Middle School for the last three years has certainly impacted the school in a number of positive ways. Graves’s warm, welcoming demeanor helps to involve the student body, staff and community in all activities to support the Seahawks. When she isn’t interacting with students to provide some fun academic support, she is organizing family nights like the Elf on the Shelf, Math Carnival and Young Author’s Night. “Just listening to Courtney about volunteering,” says Volunteer Coordinator Louise Battaglia, “you feel like you are missing the chance to be involved in one of the most enriching experiences in a child’s life if you aren’t participating at the school, too.”
White Oaks Elementary School
Pepper Hallberg commits 15 or more hours in the library at White Oaks Elementary School each week. There so often, she’s been mistaken as a staff member on numerous occasions, Hallberg helps students find just the right book for their needs and encourages a love for reading. In addition to helping with weekly library lessons, she also chairs the annual book fair. Hallberg is the model of what a parent partnership with a school looks like.
Williams Elementary School
Sue Fitzgerald’s commitment to help others can be seen in everything she does as a volunteer at Williams Elementary School. She has a unique ability to connect with students and a genuine concern for their development and success. Fitzgerald routinely provides food, clothing and supplies to needy students and families. She is instrumental in securing tutors, mentors and resources to support students and staff alike. Fitzgerald is a role model and inspiration to all she meets.
Windsor Oaks Elementary School
A six year veteran volunteer, Joan Loomis is like family to the students and staff at Windsor Oaks Elementary School where she donates her time five days each week. Loomis not only assists with fundraising, volunteers in the cafeteria, library and classrooms, but she also stays after school to assist with clubs and has directed weeklong rehearsals for school performances celebrating Black History Month each year. In addition, her famous baked goods have been served at numerous celebrations to recognize student achievement, provide incentives for good behavior and encourage students to do their very best.
Windsor Woods Elementary School
Veronica Jackson works a fulltime job, helps coach her children’s softball teams and works concessions but she still finds time to volunteer at Windsor Woods Elementary School. Now in her fifth year on the PTA Board, she chairs numerous committees and is the “FUNdraising pro.” Jackson is the backbone of the Windsor Woods PTA and her contributions create positive relationships between home and school to promote student success.
Woodstock Elementary School
Anne Kay does everything at Woodstock Elementary School from making copies to putting up bulletin boards and helping students achieve mastery of skills in small groups. But she doesn’t stop there; she still gives countless hours to the PTA. Kay currently serves as the school’s PTA Secretary but goes above and beyond the call of duty and steps in wherever there is a need. She not only organized the Fall Fundraiser, but thanks to her diligence, it was a huge success.