Four Educators Honored for Teaching Excellence

Four Educators Honored for Teaching Excellence
Posted on 11/14/2022
Hanover County Public Schools LogoTwo Hanover County Public Schools teachers have received the 2022 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence and another two were finalists for the esteemed award, which recognizes them as outstanding teachers who demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches, and champions for their students.

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, announced each winner and finalist of the distinguished award at their school during faculty meetings over the past two weeks. Combined, the two winners will receive cash grants of $21,000 to travel the world to continue their own learning and bring it back to the classroom. Nominated by students, parents, and colleagues, the educators are among 16 winners from across the Richmond region chosen by the Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation as being considered among the best in their field.

“As a school division, we pride ourselves on our Tradition of Excellence, and our teachers are on the frontlines of upholding that long-standing tradition, providing our students with a top-tier education to ensure they are life-ready. I am incredibly proud of this group of teachers for their nomination for this prestigious award. Their passion for and commitment to educating students represents the very best of Hanover County Public Schools,” said Dr. Gill. “The experiences they will encounter thanks to these grants will allow them to provide even greater learning opportunities for our students.”

Madison Horne, a third grade teacher at Rural Point Elementary School, received $7,500 to travel to the roots of children’s literature in England, visiting a variety of literary destinations focused on everything from Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter, from Roald Dahl’s museum and story center to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s secret garden. She will share her new experiences and knowledge with her students with the goal of further improving their creative writing skills.

“It is a great honor to be recognized with the R.E.B Award. It validates my passion for teaching, and it is exciting to be encouraged and supported by those in the teaching field and beyond,” Horne said. “The idea of being a life-long learner is something we, as educators, work to instill in our students. To be given an opportunity to lead by example and immerse myself in an experience that will offer personal and professional growth is absolutely thrilling.”

Said Rural Point Elementary School Principal Brooke Andriliunas: “Mrs. Horne’s colleagues describe her as an ‘outside of the box thinker’ and her natural creativity is seen in many small ways throughout her classroom. Her ideas, such as ‘Books with Friends’ book clubs and using technology to put students on the cover of books from the classroom library, have helped her generate a culture of literacy in her classroom and foster students’ love of reading. This creativity, combined with Mrs. Horne’s energetic personality excites students about coming to school and learning each day.”

Erik Leise, who teaches graphic design and Advanced Placement 2D Design at Atlee High School, received $13,500 to travel to study the development and evolution of alphabets and type design over time, with a trip to Egypt to study hieroglyphics before traveling to Lebanon, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland. He intends to use this knowledge to inform his teaching and its modern day application.

Leise described winning the R.E.B. Award as “overwhelming and humbling.”

“I teach because I love my colleagues, graphic design and especially my students, not for awards,” Leise said.

Said Atlee High School Principal Dr. John Wheeler: “He represents the teaching profession as it is meant to be – a career built around a tremendous amount of passion, constantly evolving content knowledge, and a supreme dedication to student achievement. His passion for the craft of art education, integrity, and unsurpassed talent to motivate his students in his classroom each and every day make Mr. Erik Leise an easy selection for this distinctive honor.”

In addition to the two winners, Susan Marks of Cool Spring Elementary School and Christina Stewart of Chickahominy Middle School were chosen as finalists and will receive $1,000 in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.

The awards program, which is a partnership between the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the R.E.B. Foundation, recognizes excellence in public education by awarding cash grants to outstanding public school teachers from the City of Richmond, the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover, and the Department of Correctional Education.
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