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Who says you can't go home?

Cherie Davis

When Cherie Davis began her first day as a full time Physical Education Assistant at Providence Elementary School in January, the one item that she didn't need was a hall map.

"I loved coming back to the school, I loved coming to school here, kindergarten through fifth grade," the former student turned teacher said. "I liked working with the students and I really liked the teachers."

Davis is a product of Virginia Beach City Public Schools as she also attended middle and high school in the division. Little did she know that she would return one day after graduating from college.

"I have a degree in marketing, I had no idea that I would be doing this. It was really never on my radar, it just kind of fell into place," said Davis.

She served as a substitute teacher last year, a role suggested by her mother who also subbed.

"I first started as a sub, because I was looking at working three days a week and, as a sub, you can work when you want to," Davis explained. "The more I subbed the more I enjoyed it. I started out in the library, then kindergarten, pre-school and then P.E. I remember loving PE, and had such a great time with it."

Davis figured that whenever the right position would open up that she would apply. The right one turned out to be in physical education at her former school, working as an assistant to her former teacher, Donna Roenker.

"What made this position the right one?" asked Davis. "This school and the opportunity to work with Ms. Roenker. I knew that this would be what I loved."

"Cherie was an athlete when she was here, she was one of my athletes of the year," Roenker explained. "She went on to college to play field hockey, she did soccer and field hockey when she was in middle school, so she was always athletic."

Roenker says that Davis' familiarity with the school and the staff will be of benefit to her and the students.

"Cherie knows what I expect, she's been through it. She knows what we expect from the students and the more we raise what's expected, the more they give us, so she’s a really good influence on the children. And she seems to have fit in really well and the children like her.

"Yes, one of the first units that we did when I came here was parachute," Davis shared excitedly. "That was my absolute favorite when I was a student here and I was really excited and fed off the student's excitement. I remembered so many of the things that we did and loved that I can share that with the students today. They enjoy it just as much as I did."

"The families know that she is from this area so she can relate to experiences of this area," Roenker continued. "She comes here and knows the students, knows the area; Virginia Beach in general, not just Providence but all of Virginia Beach. The children respect her so I knew it would be a good fit. And that's what we like, we like to have adults in here that get along with the students and can relate to them."

"Relating to the students," said Davis, "I think it makes me a better mom when I get home. Overall my life is so positive. I knew that I had found what I was meant to do for the rest of my life."

Davis's road to discovery brought her roundtrip to her home, a school she attended and a teacher who inspired her nearly two decades ago.

"I said that I would give this a shot and pretty soon I realized that I loved working with the children in this community," Davis concluded. "I had studied marketing and here I am, teaching PE with my former PE teacher. It doesn’t get better than this."

Jennings’ painting “Bloom” selected for 2017 VBEF Commemorative Print

Rachel Jennings

The Virginia Beach Education Foundation (VBEF) has featured artwork by students and staff in its annual Commemorative Print since 1999. At its annual TGIF (Teacher Grants Improve Futures) Celebration Nov. 2, the VBEF announced that “Bloom,” a painting by Rachel Jennings, will be featured on its 2017 Commemorative Print. The Corporate Landing Middle School art teacher’s painting was selected by the public in an online vote from among seven pieces.

The artwork featuring colorful flowers was a piece Jennings already had in her collection, “but the painting had not put down roots yet,” she said.

“Finding the perfect place for my work is as important to me as the journey of creating,” Jennings added.

Supporting the work of the VBEF seemed like the perfect place to Jennings.

“The piece reminds me of learning because the process of painting is similar as the colors are layered, blended, overlapped and built upon to enhance each,” she said. “The Virginia Beach Education Foundation provides opportunities for teachers to bloom and be creative in their classrooms, so submitting ‘Bloom’ to the VBEF as a representation of teacher and student growth felt like the perfect fit.”

The 2017 VBEF Commemorative Print will be available for purchase on www.vbef.org or by contacting VBEF coordinator Debbie Griffey at 757-263-1337 or debbie.griffey@vbschools.com.

Fuller named 2016 VAHPERD Supervisor of the Year

Brenda Fuller

Brenda Fuller has been awarded the 2016 Supervisor of the Year Award from the Virginia Association of Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD). Fuller is the division’s K-12 coordinator of health and physical education and was presented with the VAHPERD award at its convention held in Midlothian, Virginia, Nov. 11-13.

Fuller began her career with Virginia Beach City Public Schools in 1989 as a health and physical education teacher at Kemps Landing Middle School. After serving as an assistant principal at various schools she was appointed to her current position of K-12 coordinator of health and physical education in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Fuller earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University and an education specialist degree from George Washington University.

Ertel places third in national competition

Don Ertel

Don Ertel, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) fleet technician, was awarded second runner-up at the America’s Best Training & Skills Competition Nov. 4-8 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Held in conjunction with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Annual Summit, the America’s Best competition attracts technicians and inspectors from the nation’s school bus industry. Technicians and inspectors were tested in separate categories and had to complete a written exam and hands-on challenge. Technicians were tested in repairs, tool usage, electronics and efficiency.

Ertel has been employed at the division’s School Bus Garage since 2011.