Warren Chamber welcomes new teachers

FRONT ROYAL – Area businesses and Warren County Public Schools administration welcomed more than 50 new teachers at a lunchtime reception on Wednesday.

The reception was part of the weeklong “Trek of Excellence” program, during which new teachers get acclimated with the area and prepare for the coming school year.

Teachers stopped by booths for organizations and businesses before eating an Apple House-catered lunch with drinks from Daily Grind and C&C Frozen Treats. Principals then introduced the new teachers settling at their schools for the coming school year – some from as far away as Oklahoma and Texas and some of them Warren County Public Schools alumni.

The Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce has hosted the reception for years, said chamber President Niki Foster. Some years, new teachers from Randolph-Macon Academy and Front Royal Christian School join the event, but she said scheduling didn’t line up this year. Instead, she said the chamber will reach out to those teachers to give a welcome and a goodie bag.

“We’re really appreciative of our educators locally, so we want to make sure that they know that,” she said. “It also gives the business community an opportunity to meet them and potentially develop a new clientele base.”

George Smith, director of personnel with the schools, said that during the “Trek to Excellence” program, administration reviews a “potpourri” of topics like insurance, retirement, professional development and classroom management with the new teachers.

“This is their week to learn what we’re about, what we do and get them acclimated to it,” he said.

Michele Barber, coming from Page County Public Schools, will be teaching Biology II and Anatomy classes at Skyline High School. She said the new teacher program has been thorough and informative.

“I have learned so much just in the three days we’ve been here,” she said. “This is amazing.”

Julie Budzyn, a new fifth grade teacher at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School, said she comes from teaching in Prince William County. She said the Warren County new teacher reception has felt small and personal.

“This reminds me of home: It’s very small, it’s very community-based … everybody knows your name,” Budzyn said. “I like this – it brings everyone in and it gives you a sense of security.”

Barber added, “It makes your feel like you’re part of the community, which is what teachers are supposed to be.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com