Virginia Beach Education Association

Dominic Melito receives Friend of Education award

For his tireless advocacy of public education and his dedication and outstanding service as a teacher, former VBEA president Dominic Melito was honored with the Virginia Beach Education Association’s 2016 Friend of Education Award during a June 8 ceremony at Kellam High School.

Melito, who also teaches at Kellam, is the immediate past president of the VBEA, having served from 2008 until 2012.

“The association is my passion,” Melito said. “Outside of my students, the next best thing to being a teacher is to support the association. Our number one job is to make life better for our students and provide the education and funding necessary to achieve all the dreams of our students. And I have found that the best way to do that is through the work of the association.”

Watch: Trenace Riggs awards Dominic Melito the Friend of Education Award

VBEDominic MelitoA president Trenace Riggs praised Melito’s dedication to teaching and to his students. Whenever she has come across one of his former students, to a person they have said he was their favorite teacher.

Outside the classroom, Melito has been an outspoken supporter of the association as well as political candidates who support public education.

“Above and beyond being an exemplary Virginia Beach City Public Schools teacher, this person has led and championed our association and its causes,” Riggs said. “He has opened the door to a more positive working relationship with the School Board and administration.

“And, in every election year, he has been a tireless advocate for public education and for the candidates who support it. It is through his robust efforts that we have many friends of education across the spectrum.”

Whole Village Awards

More than 20 businesses, organizations and community groups received Whole Village Awards during the VBEA’s Year-End Honors ceremony at Kellam High School on June 8. They were recognized for having provided extraordinary support to students and schools within the Virginia Beach City Public School division.

Honoring of VBEA Retirees

Also at the ceremony, members of the VBEA who are retiring this year were honored. They have had an outstanding career of serving the students of Virginia Beach City Public Schools and take with them a collective, and astounding 1,531 years of experience with them as they have played a key role in making our city’s schools among the best in the state and country.


Assistants of the year honored at reception

2016 TAs of the Year

Assistant of the Year ceremony 2016

Good Afternoon everyone. Welcome to the 33rd Annual VBEA Assistant of the Year Awards Reception. My name is Trenace Riggs, President of the Virginia Beach Education Association. I am joined tonight by the Chair of the VBEA Teacher Assistant Steering Committee- Barbara Powell.

Before we begin I’d like to recognize some people who are in the audience today with us. 1st, our school board members, Chair Dan Edwards, Vice Chair Bev Anderson, Sharon Felton, Joel McDonald, Kim Melnyk, Carolyn Rye, and Ashley McLeod.

If you are a principal, please stand… thank you so much for being here.

VBEA Board members, please stand.

VBEA Building reps- please stand.

I want to thank the VBEA Office Administrator- Jimmy LaRoue for helping to put this reception together. I want to recognize VBEA’s UniServ Director, Shirley George.

Since 2008 VBCPS has been partnering with VBEA to honor the assistants of the Year for which we are very grateful. Today we are fortunate enough to have Dr. Aaron Spence with us to speak on behalf of the administration.

The VBEA started the Teacher Assistant of the Year award back in 1984 to honor the hard working teacher assistants at each and every school in Virginia Beach.

The role of the assistant in our school system expands every year, and each year our hard-working assistants step up. Many assistants go above and beyond even those increased demands, and we’d like to honor them here this afternoon. So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce the chair of the VBEA Teacher Assistant Steering Committee- Barbara Powell.

Thanks for the kind donations of several School Board members and others we are fortunate enough this year to provide something special to this reception. There will be 13 drawings called throughout the recognition of all of you today so make sure you listen up in case your name is called.

I would like to recognize our 2 city-wide Teacher Assistants with a $50 Captain George’s gift certificate provided by Kim Melynk and a $50 Ruth Chris gift certificate provided by Carolyn Rye.

The following are the remarks given on behalf of each citywide winner.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Trenace Riggs, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association, and it is my honor to present this year’s two recipients of the 2016 Citywide Assistants of the Year award for elementary and secondary schools here in Virginia Beach.

The Assistant of the Year award has been given yearly since 1994 as a way to honor the often underappreciated and significant work you do in support of the outstanding Virginia Beach City Public School system. The Teacher Assistant steering committee believes the Assistant of the Year should be someone who not only has performed the job in an exemplary manner and is active in his or her school, but also is someone who goes out of his or her way to do something extra to help students, the school, and educators in their building while continuing to become a better assistant.

This year we received a record number of nomination forms, and it made the job of the committee an especially tough one. Our assistants have distinguished themselves for their professional and above-and-beyond approach to doing their jobs.

Still, our elementary and secondary school honorees stood out among an outstanding group.

Our elementary honoree has been a school teacher assistant of the year for the third time. This person developed a school-wide spirit week which improved morale and directed a school play to introduce the school’s new leadership and behavior initiative. This person also led the school’s holiday letter writing campaign for military troop units deployed for the holidays, led the school’s Operation Smile and Student United Way campaigns (helping raise more than $5,000 combined for the two organizations) and directed a school play.

This person has helped out the faculty through ongoing collaboration with fourth and fifth grade inclusion teachers, the upper grade special education teacher, and developed differentiated small group reading lessons for both fourth and fifth grade levels for special education faculty use. This person has been a “Go-To-Gal” for technology and social media use in the classroom, has been an SOL tutor and an advisor to the Student Council Association. These are just a few of her many accomplishments and accolades at her school.

Students at her school describe her as supportive and patient. Said one student: “I recently auditioned for the … talent show and my group messed up. Instead of making us feel bad, she helped us see what we could do well and make it better. … She has given me so many reasons to look up to her.”

Her principal describes her as a natural leader who possesses kindness and patience when dealing with struggling students. “She is extremely organized and arrives to class prepared to teach. Her students absolutely adore her and her enthusiasm. … She assists whenever and wherever we have a need within the school. I know that I can always count on her to not only complete a task, but to complete the task with excellence. (She) is not only an invaluable staff member (for our school) but an asset for the entire school system and would be a perfect representative as the 2016 Assistant of the Year.

Our committee agreed. Ladies and gentlemen, it is our honor to present the 2016 Elementary Assistant of the Year award to Ms. Laura Nuckols of Red Mill Elementary School.


Our secondary school honoree has also been a school-wide assistant of the year for the third time. A security assistant, this person works to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty and staff, is the school’s intramural coordinator and is responsible for organizing the school’s crisis management team during drills or during an actual emergency.

This person wears many hats. As the transportation coordinator, this person arranges buses for field trips and daily activity bus runs, has structured the afterschool security program and developed detailed turn-by-turn notebooks for bus drivers, making things easier and efficient for substitutes and first-timers alike.

He is described by those at his school as a huge asset to the security team. His school’s students activities coordinator says of him: “We often say we don’t know what we would do without a specific person. When I say that about (this person), I mean every word of it. I don’t know what any of us would do without him.”

He has also developed a positive relationship with students and staff at his school, helping chaperone and facilitate transportation for after school dances, is active in the SCA, assists the school’s student activity coordinator in after school activities and is active in fundraising for clubs and grade levels.

Besides his many accomplishments in school, he spends much of his free time as a committee member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 471, and he also volunteers at the Norfolk Scope.

Said his school’s assistant principal: “He is a natural leader. I have been impressed by his passion for creating and maintaining a safe environment for our students. (His) professionalism, enthusiasm and caring demeanor makes him an exceptional candidate for Assistant of the Year.

It is our honor to present the 2016 Secondary Assistant of the Year award to Mr. Michael Baker of Larkspur Middle School.


Here are the assistants of the year from each school:

Tonya Snow – Adult Learning Center
Sandra Willie – Alanton Elementary
Susan Brewington – Arrowhead Elementary
Eve Stocks – Bayside Elementary
Michele Parker – Bayside High
Melvin Francis – Bayside Middle
Carol Wilson – Bayside Sixth Grade Campus
Gail Hinson – Birdneck Elementary
Brandon Miner – Brandon Middle
Shannon Perry – Brookwood Elementary
Lori S. Pack – Centerville Elementary
Deborah Meer – Christopher Farms Elementary
Lasheva M. Cooper – College Park Elementary
Bobbi Creekmore –  Cooke Elementary
Danica Turk – Corporate Landing Elementary
Anthony Wilkins, Jr. – Corporate Landing Middle
Lisa Williams – Cox High
Jessica Barbour – Creeds Elementary
Deborah Layne Smith – Dey Elementary
Karen Farquer – Diamond Springs Elementary
Amy Phocas – Fairfield Elementary
Julianne G. Simonic – First Colonial High
Dorothy A. Myers – Glenwood Elementary
Laura German – Great Neck Middle
Georgina Sabatini – Green Run Elementary
Barbara DeMarais – Green Run High
Shane Whitney – Hermitage Elementary
Elizabeth Bricker – Holland Elementary
Dennis Richardson – Independence Middle
Jessica Tate – Indian Lakes Elementary
Gregory A. Polhemus – Kellam High
Mark Parr – Kemps Landing/Old Donation School
Amy Mackiewicz –  Kempsville Elementary
Richanne Sensenig – Kempsville High
Gracie H. Drake – Kempsville Meadows Elementary
Sabrina Conner – Kempsville Middle
Karen Zidow – Kings Grant Elementary
Denise Auman – Kingston Elementary
Michele Browne – Landstown Elementary
Shelly Blanshan – Landstown High
Andria Levine – Landstown Middle
Michael Baker – Larkspur Middle
Deborah Shugrue – Linkhorn Park Elementary
Jeanette Lindsay-Pickett – Luxford Elementary
Tracy Bly – Lynnhaven Elementary
Vivienne Marlowe – Lynnhaven Middle
Gloria Smith – Malibu Elementary
Ashley Miller – New Castle Elementary
Juliann Slayton – Newtown Elementary
Tanna Jones – North Landing Elementary
Barbara Miller – Ocean Lakes Elementary
Corey Sullivan – Ocean Lakes High
Michael Carden – Parkway Elementary
Tempall Gregory – Pembroke Elementary
Susan Lee – Pembroke Meadows Elementary
Natalia Korsh – Plaza Middle
Carly Holton – Point O’View Elementary
Cheryl Incandela – Princess Anne Elementary
Sandra Kofa – Princess Anne High
Naomi Riddick – Princess Anne Middle
Lisa Ziegler – Providence Elementary
Laura M. Nuckols – Red Mill Elementary
Jazette Williams – Renaissance Academy
Christopher Gilbert – Rosemont Elementary
Nicole Farley – Rosemont Forest Elementary
Annette Spaven – Salem Elementary
John Byzewski – Salem High
Lars Eisenbraun – Salem Middle
Michael Hollingsworth – Seatack Elementary
Jill Robinson – Shelton Park Elementary
Theresa Zaller – Special Education Annex
Takera Etheridge – Strawbridge Elementary
Melissa Duff – Tallwood Elementary
LaToya V. Conyers-Lew – Tallwood High
Pricilla Anthony –  Technical & Career Center
Brenda Brocki – Thalia Elementary
Sondra Rosequist – Thoroughgood Elementary
Lori Wharton – Three Oaks Elementary
Hope Twine – Trantwood Elementary
Jennifer Fowler – Virginia Beach Middle
Sandra Caldwell – White Oaks Elementary
Katherine Stegina – Windsor Oaks Elementary
Rebecca Hughes – Windsor Woods Elementary
Sherry Singer – Woodstock Elementary

NewEd to provide support for new educators

VBEA member and rep Brittany Jones, who is a first-year teacher at College Park Elementary, received approval at the recent VEA Convention for her NewEd proposal that would “establish a group of new educators to provide a support system for new educators, provide a bridge of membership from SVEA to VEA, increase VEA membership, and create a community of new educators who support each other, the community, and the Association.”


Watch Brittany present her new business item at the convention here.

Here is more information about NewEd, and this is a survey for new educators to take.


Status of education-related bills in General Assembly

With the General Assembly session underway, there are myriad bills related to education being debated and discussed, including ones on charter schools, virtual schools, ones allowing homeschoolers to participate in public school athletic programs, and many more.

Here’s a comprehensive listing of education-related bills, updated through March 2, 2016. For more information on each bill, including its text, status and related bills, click on the link to the bill.

Another great way to track education-related bills is through the VEA’s Daily Reports blog.

VBEA’s e-ITK newsletter – January 2016

Hello everyone,

I hope you have had a  great holiday and are refreshed and renewed to start the New Year!

I’m starting out this e-ITK with messages from NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia and VEA president Meg Gruber, and a request from Meg about ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act. She is asking that, with all waivers to No Child Left Behind expiring on Aug. 1, 2016, what changes are most needed. Specifically, what needs to be changed or tweaked in the current teacher evaluation system and why? She wants proposals with rationale as to what needs to be changed in the process.

This is a great opportunity to have meaningful dialogue which could result in some changes. Please reply to me by the end of the week, if possible.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our members to put kids first!

The link to the current e-ITK is below:

VBEA e-ITK 1-2016

Trenace Riggs

VBEA president