Spring 2022 Cooperating Teacher Appreciation: Henrico County Public Schools


May 2-6, 2022 is Teacher Appreciation Week! This week we’re sharing our gratitude for the wonderful cooperating teachers throughout Virginia who welcome our students into their classrooms for practicum and student teaching.

Below are messages of thanks from our students who have worked with these fantastic educators!

Henrico County Public Schools

Colonial Trail Elementary School – Sherri Smith

Sherri Smith is a spectacular educator with lots of experience. She cares deeply about her Colonial Trail students and that extends to her practicum students. She’s very encouraging and goes above and beyond to guide us as future educators. We will hold onto our experience with her and her advice as we become educators ourselves.

Glen Allen Elementary School – Karen Siler

Mrs. Siler is a passionate art teacher that provides students with a safe learning environment for creativity, risk taking, and inclusion for everyone. We had a successful and enjoyable experience working with her and her students. We appreciate the time that she took from her busy schedule for allowing us to learn from her and the students. Mrs. Siler, thank you for providing us with useful feedback, giving us new techniques/strategies, always encouraging us to do our best, and giving us reassurance in the classroom. We will continue to use this experience to improve upon our teaching skills!

Glen Allen High School – Amy Harnesberger

Amy Harnesberger is an intensely hard working and disciplined educator who enriches her classes with thoughtful assignments and sensitive insight. She balances her space with adept expectations as well as emotional support, and as a result, has constructed wonderfully successful art projects as well as cherished student relationships.

Highland Springs Elementary School – Ashley Melnichak

I have really enjoyed my time at Highland Springs and working with Mrs. Melnichak, she is a wonderful role model and her students care for her very much. She has helped push me to reflect and grow as a teacher, student, and a person. I am so grateful for this experience and look forward to taking her knowledge and advice with me in my future endeavors!

Holman Middle School – Vicki Kolar

Ms. Kolar sets an amazing example for how to create a positive community in the classroom. Her energy and amazing attitude is passed down to her students. She is always thinking ahead when we are teaching and points us in the right direction as well as providing amazing feedback! I am so thankful to have had this experience, I can’t wait to implement what I have learned from her into my own teaching practice.

Ms. Kolar was a fantastic teacher to learn from. She is well respected in the art classroom both by students and faculty. The way she engages her students and teaches interactive art lessons is admirable. I learned a lot from her in the ways of classroom management and constructing exciting lesson plans.

J.R. Tucker High School – Anne-Marie Slinkman

My cooperating teacher Ms. Slinkman has been working at J.R. Tucker high school for 4 years now, and she taught at elementary level for 16 years! Ms. Slinkman loves to travel and enjoys art making. Ms. Slinkman has always given me helpful feedback and it has helped me grow as an art educator. I have had so much fun spending time with Ms. Slinkman and talking about our talented and goofy students and their amazing artworks they create! Ms. Slinkman is always on top of her game, and she truly inspires me to become an inspiring, hard working, and a lifelong learner.

J.R. Tucker High School – Melvina Roane

Ms. Roane is amazing and so supportive. She’s the funniest teacher and the students love being in her class! I have learned how to have a fun and productive classroom. She’s taught me so much on building relationships with students and making the art classroom a safe supportive space!

Pocahontas Middle School – John Dickerson

I am very thankful for Mr. Dickerson for mentoring me and taking me on as a student teacher. Throughout my time as a student teacher, I have received wonderful feedback, constant support and guidance from him. It is the trust, confidence, and encouragement he has given me to make my own decisions and enhance my teaching skills. Thank you Mr. D for being so caring, enthusiastic, and passionate about teaching! You have in every way shown me even more how wonderful this profession really is. I will forever be grateful for this amazing experience and want to sincerely thank everyone that has made this opportunity possible!

Ridge Elementary School – Jill Alcan

Jill Alcan has been incredibly supportive of VCU pre-service teachers as she was willing to step in this semester and welcome a student teacher into her classroom at the last minute. Opening one’s school and classroom and being willing to mentor student teachers is such a gift to the field of art education. Jill has been a delight to work with and I am very appreciative of her support.

Short Pump Middle School – Caroline Velazquez

Caroline was the best! She was so supportive and kind throughout the entire process. She is an amazing teacher and we were so lucky to be able to learn from her. Not only was she extremely kind and open to her practicum students, but the relationship she has with her middle schoolers was amazing. Thank you so much Caroline for everything you’ve done and taught us!!

Tuckahoe Middle School – Alison McNew

Alison has been such an amazing host for my secondary placement, her classroom conduct and advice throughout my time here has been invaluable. Alison always has had time to talk to me about my lesson plans and how I can improve my teaching, I feel she is always able to steer me towards the right path. I am extremely grateful to have been able to work with her and her students and I will miss them moving forward!