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Virginia Journal of Education

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VEA Awards Recognize Leaders

VEA honored individuals and groups with awards at its annual convention, held in Roanoke this year. The honorees are:

Friend of Education Award. Betty Lambdin, the recently-retired director of VEA’s Office of Teaching and Learning, received this, the Association’s highest honor, for her decades of work to boost learning in the commonwealth’s public schools.

Among her accomplishments at the VEA, Lambdin instituted the “I Can Do It” training, a program that helped hone teachers’ classroom management skills; implemented new training programs for educators working with students with disabilities and ESL students; and began the Jump Start program, which helps teachers through the process of earning National Board Certification. In addition, she served as the Association’s liaison to numerous boards and agencies, including the Virginia Board of Education and the Virginia Department of Education, offering her expertise and having a statewide impact.

Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Rebecca Lee Austin, an instructional technology resource teacher in Washington County, earned this honor.

Austin began her career as an educator in Washington County in 1990 as an English teacher at Holston High School. Later, after earning her master’s and doctoral degrees, she moved on to county positions as a library media specialist and technology consultant, teaching students at all levels how to find, evaluate and use information in our increasingly high-tech world.
Legislator of the Year. This went to State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, who represents Falls Church and parts of Fairfax and Arlington counties.
Whipple, who has served in the Virginia Senate since 1996, is being honored for her continued support for the students and educators in our state’s public schools. As a member of the Senate Committee on Education and Health and the Finance Committee, she has been instrumental in pushing the state to make appropriate investments in public education.
Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year. This honor went to John Day, a school bus driver in King George County, who founded the Driver Leadership Council (DLC) to advocate for the rights of his colleagues. The DLC has become an effective force for improving the working conditions of King George drivers and driver’s aides.
As a result, Day was asked to speak at the VEA’s statewide ESP conference last year and at a meeting of Hanover County drivers, and took part in a recent recruitment effort in Fairfax County. His efforts have added 30 new members to the King George Education Association. He also serves on the VEA’s ESP Committee.

Fitz Turner Award for Outstanding Contributions in Intergroup Relations. In recognition of his lifetime of work on behalf of the disadvantaged, State Senator Henry L. Marsh III of Richmond received this award. Marsh began his law career in 1961 and immediately enlisted in the fight against “massive resistance,” handling more than 50 desegregation cases against Virginia school boards over the next two decades. He was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1992, after serving as Richmond’s first African-American mayor.
Mary Hatwood Futrell Award for Distinguished Leadership in Education. Phyllis T. Hollimon, a guidance counselor at Bailey’s Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield County, earned this honor for her diligent and creative outreach to her school community and beyond.
Hollimon has decorated a “café” area at Bailey’s Bridge and turned it into a spot where students can visit with counselors and each other, and attend “Lunch Bunch” groups, where she teaches them skills necessary to thrive in and love middle school. She also serves as advisor to the school’s National Junior Honor Society and is the vice president-elect of the Virginia School Counselors Association.
Youth Award for Human and Civil Rights. When Debbie Page Maple’s 20-year-old son, Joe, became the innocent victim of a random shooting, she and his many friends decided they had to do something positive in his memory. The result is the Joe 15 Team, groups of Prince William County students who have formed community service clubs in their schools. (Fifteen was Joe’s favorite number.)
Thus far, Joe 15 clubs have held blood drives, collected food for the needy, volunteered at a homeless shelter and senior citizen facility, adopted a stretch of highway, and promoted peaceful conflict resolution.

Activism Awards. Six local VEA affiliates received 2010 Activism Awards in recognition of their community activities. The winners:

• Albemarle Education Association, for its “Keep the Promise” campaign, along with the ACPS Parent Council, seeking adequate funding for county schools;

• Loudoun Education Association, for the “We’re Worth More” program to protect educator salaries and benefits;

• Orange County Education Association, for organizing a rally at the State Capitol in Richmond to fight cuts in state funding;

• Prince William Education Association, for a concerted effort to ensure proper administration of a county merit pay plan;

• Richmond Education Association, for its efforts to elect friends of public education to City Council and the House of Delegates; and

• Roanoke Education Association, for its “My Two Cents” campaign in support of a city meal tax to help fund schools.



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