This is my passion


This is my passion. This is my life’s work. I love what I do. I really love kids. I had the awesome opportunity of working as a gifted resource teacher at Luxford Elementary when I first came to Virginia Beach about seven years ago. There are students I have kept in touch with to see how they are doing. I just met three former students from my second grade gifted cluster class at Panera for breakfast. I thought they were just going to want to talk to me for about an hour. We stayed until 11:48 a.m. They’re all doing well. They are all going to the IB program at Princess Anne High School. They had a lot to tell me and we had a lot to catch up on. I needed that. It’s a great reminder of why we do what we do, especially when you leave the classroom. You never know what kind of impact you’re going to have.


Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run BettieFWilliams teachers

Girls on the Run promotes positive body image, self-esteem and healthy habits like exercising and eating right. It gives our girls something to do after school besides just going home.

We both love to run and we get to share it with them which is nice.

It’s about two days a week for three months, and they work toward a 5K at the end which is a huge accomplishment. At the end of the 5K they are so proud of themselves. We took pictures this year. It was fun to see their faces as they crossed the finish line because, for a lot of them, it’s their first race. It’s a big deal.

It’s important for the girls because, in today’s world, body image is a big thing and getting them ready to go to middle school with a positive self-image is important.


I love high school

I Love High School - Tallwood Freshman

I love high school. I had the best freshman year. It was so much fun! Getting involved is one of the first things I wanted to make sure I did. So I applied for the Spanish Honor Society because my mom is from Spain and that culture is very important to me. I really want to get immersed in that. Just getting inducted was so important to me. I am so happy I went to the first SCA general assembly meeting and that I went to City-wide SCA. It’s started my path. I know what I want to do these four years.

What do you want to do?


Reading Reenergizing

Renergizing and Reading Parkway ES Krista B Arnold

What I love about summer is the opportunity to catch up on my reading and to reenergize. And what I love about being a principal is there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Then there is this opportunity to review my thoughts, reenergize and start planning to get that enthusiasm back up again. We’re in the middle of that right now. We’re all talking about doing schoolwide classroom meetings in the morning, so right now I’m reading everything I can about classroom meetings and responsive classrooms. I read a book a week. I have a stack on my nightstand. I usually try to read my book talk book, a book I want to read and then a professional book at one time.

Seize opportunities

Tech Center TV Program Landstown senior Option2

I always loved television and movies so much, but I never knew there was a class that offered this in Virginia Beach. It was my mom that got me into the Tech Center program. I wasn’t 100 percent sure how this was going to turn out for me, but she was right. She’s always been right.

My plans for the future are to go to Hampton University and major in journalism and communications. After that, I would love to work in the television and film industry. I have a passion for both.

My advice to students is: if you have a dream, work hard to achieve it every day. You only have so many days to live so why not go big every single day while you have it? Don’t take anything for granted. Seize every opportunity you can. I wish I would have known that when I was younger, but I know it now. So just be involved and do as much as you can because you never know who you are going to be standing in front of.

Community Service

Summer Mission Trip

Last summer I went to Nicaragua for my very first mission trip with my church. I had an absolute blast. We signed up to go again this year.

I’ll be going to Virginia Tech and its motto is “Ut Prosim” which means, “That I may serve.” It’s a big part of my life – community service – and so I’m excited to be going to a college where it’s a big part of their lives, too. They have things like The Big Event when they spend a day where everyone from the college goes out into the community and gives back to the people who give us so much. They have programs for spring break and Christmas break where, instead of coming home, I can go on a mission trip and I can continue my work but with my college.

My dad always jokes that he can see me with Doctors Without Borders when I grow up because I love going out and helping those less fortunate in Third World countries. Especially the last two years with the academy, I’ve gotten a lot of experience with medicine so I can definitely see the two working together in some form in the future.


Dogs or Perfect Attendance CLMS 8thGrade

“Anywhere from three to six times a week I do dog agility. I train dogs. It’s like an obstacle course for dogs and some people think, ‘Oh, the dog does all the work,’ but it’s really a team effort. It’s more like you and your dog as a team versus a course. You get ribbons at trials and competitions. If you do a run and you do it perfectly, you get what’s called a Q or a qualifying run. Once you get so many Qs you get a title. Then you rack up titles and points and you get bigger ribbons and bigger things. We recently got one thousand points. You get 10 points for every perfect run you have. So we finally got a thousand points over, like, five years. We have three dogs. The one I work with now is named Diego. He’s a Shetland sheepdog, sable and white. My mom works with our middle dog, Obie. He’s also a Shetland sheepdog, sable and white. He’s 3 now and Diego is 6. And my youngest dog, I’m trying to work with but he’s a nut, is Finn. He’s around 16 months and he’s a black-and-white Sheltie. They’re all boys. We’re Star Wars fans, and we named our cats Luke and Leia. We named Obie, of course, for Obie-Wan Kenobi. It turned out that we got Finn in May for my birthday and the Star Wars movie came out in December, and we found out that storm trooper’s name was Finn. We said, ‘We were guided by the Force to name him Finn.’ And Diego, well my brother named Diego after the Go, Diego, Go! show. He was 3 or 4 years old at the time and that was his favorite show.”


By being involved

Lead with Kindness - Tallwood Sophomore

“By being involved in school I’ve learned to adapt to other people. Not everyone is the same, so you’re going to have to work with people who have different strengths and weaknesses. You learn how to adapt to that.

Some say I’m too nice, but personally, I like to lead with kindness. In my opinion, you get more respect if you are kind because nobody’s going to listen to a mean person. It’s best to just show kindness and love to the people that you work with.”


I’m retiring

Office Associate Retirement OLHS

“I’m retiring after 37 years – 23 have been here at Ocean Lakes High School. Before that, I was working in the technical and career education office when it was vocational education. I was typing curriculum guides for the vocational classes and purchase orders for the equipment and furniture needed to set up classrooms. Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of working in many aspects of the school division including helping open two new schools, Birdneck Elementary and Ocean Lakes. My jobs ranged from cafeteria monitor to teacher assistant to library assistant to secretary for 14 years before I became part of the Dolphin Family as the office manager and secretary to the principal. I love meeting new teachers and students and being able to assist them whenever possible. I will miss the daily interaction with people I see every day and the friends I have made over the years. Time has flown by quickly, and now it’s time to relax, travel, and focus on family and home. It has been a wonderful experience working for Virginia Beach Schools, and I will miss the moments that become fond memories.”


I’ve been playing violin for five years


“I’ve been playing violin for five years. I was actually watching an episode of Spongebob and I saw them doing this sad violin because the crab wanted to see this island but couldn’t and I said, ‘Alright, I want to play the violin.’ But I had to learn to play piano, because my parents didn’t believe that I would practice. So I practiced every day so I could learn to play violin. So, Spongebob was your musical inspiration? Yeah. Sweet.”


I played four sports

4 sports 8th grade athlete VBMS

“I played four sports last year and I played three sports this year, not including the sports I play outside of school. Last year I played basketball, softball, volleyball and soccer, and this year I played soccer, softball and volleyball. Athletics in general are important to me because of the feeling you get when you play sports and you do something right and you hear everybody cheering your name. Or you hear someone saying to you, “Oh my gosh, great game!” or, “That was amazing! I’ve never seen anyone your age do that.” To have someone compare you to someone higher up on your skill set, it gives you a rush and a confidence boost in every way. You can’t be shy about it. You know you have to be good at something. It drives you.”


I want to be a landscaper

Green Friendly Neighborhoods Option 2 - Tallwood Junior

“I want to be a landscaper when I grow up. My dad owns a business. I’ve learned so much from my dad. I started on 72-inch lawn mowers when I was 8 years old. It’s always been a passion. I like looking at houses and just picturing in my head what I could do to it to make it into a beautiful house. I always have that picture in my head of how I could change how something looks and make it into my own piece. It’s been a really nice experience to work with my dad, and then you meet so many people and make connections through the field of landscaping. Everybody needs landscaping in their yard.”