Karen Leonard is a passionate and supportive Special Education teacher in her third year at Carrollton Elementary School. Prior to joining Carrollton in 2019, she taught special education students in both inclusive and special education classroom settings for fifteen years with Suffolk Public Schools. Mrs. Leonard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Old Dominion University and then completed coursework at Old Dominion University and Regent University to obtain her K-12 Special Education teaching credentials. Mrs. Leonard recognizes the importance of supporting her students' social and emotional needs and provides her students with lessons and tools which promote the development of these skills. Mrs. Leonard values the importance of building strong relationships with her students and colleagues and recognizes that every victory, even the smallest, is something to be celebrated. While at Carrollton Elementary, she has worked to provide professional development opportunities to staff as a certified “Handle With Care” trainer and is currently acting as a mentor for one of Carrollton’s newest special education teachers. Mrs. Leonard is from Suffolk, Virginia but moved to Smithfield in 2016 with her husband and two children.
Summer Dawkins has been in education for eight years in which she has taught elementary special education, first grade, and third grade. She grew up in Brunswick County, Virginia where she fell in love with learning and continued her education at Radford University where she graduated with her Master’s degree in Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education. Mrs. Dawkins has taught in Isle of Wight County for 3 years, serving the children at Carrsville Elementary School where she is currently teaching third grade. In addition to teaching third grade, she sits on the Parent Engagement Committee and is a member of the Carrsville PTA. Mrs. Dawkins also participates on the IWCS Strategic Planning Steering Committee to support the growth of all students in Isle of Wight County Schools. Mrs. Dawkins believes her role in education is to create a lasting impact on the lives of all the students that she teaches. Her goal is to shape children for all aspects of the future and create lifelong learners. She currently lives in Windsor with her husband and two young children.
Tracey Gilchrist is a School Counselor at Hardy Elementary School. She has 21 years of experience as a school counselor and district administrator and is in her third year at Hardy Elementary School. Mrs. Gilchrist grew up in Sussex County, VA, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from The College of William and Mary and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Virginia State University. Mrs. Gilchrist provides school-based counseling services in the areas of student academics, personal/social matters, and career development. In addition, she has coordinated special projects to support students’ mental health, academic achievement, and school attendance. Mrs. Gilchrist is the 504 committee chairperson and the school test coordinator for Hardy. She also served on the 2020 IWCS Social-Emotional Learning Committee and is a former “Handle With Care” trainer. Mrs. Gilchrist loves doing home visits. She is passionate about connecting the home, school, community, and local human service supports to ultimately benefit the whole child. Mrs. Gilchrist resides in Isle of Wight County with her husband of 28 years and is a proud parent of three adult children.
Katherine McGowan is in her third year as a fifth-grade language arts teacher at Westside Elementary School and her seventh year in education. She grew up in Delaware and attended Texas A&M University, where she earned both a Bachelor’s degree and a commission into the United States Air Force. Mrs. McGowan holds Master’s degrees from both Air University and Liberty University. While serving in the Air Force, she was stationed in numerous posts both in the United States and overseas. Following her military retirement, she began her career in education as a fourth-grade teacher in Southampton County. Mrs. McGowan is Westside’s Junior Beta Club sponsor, National Spelling Bee co-sponsor, a member of the hospitality committee, and served as a Girls on the Run coach last school year. She is big on fostering relationships within her classroom and going the extra mile for the sake of “family” created in the classroom. She is not afraid to try something new and often steps out of her comfort zone to do what is necessary to help her students learn in a fun, yet structured, environment. Mrs. McGowan lives in the local area with her family, who are often used in her teaching.
Kimberly Belcher is a Kindergarten teacher at Windsor Elementary School. This is her second year at Windsor Elementary and her nineteenth year in teaching. She has been a part of Isle of Wight County Schools for two years. Prior to that, she taught in Southampton County Public Schools for 14 years and at Southampton Academy for 3 years. Raleigh, NC was her home away from home during college while she attended Peace College for a Bachelor of Arts degree. She then went on to receive her North Carolina Teaching License from Meredith College. She obtained her master’s degree in Elementary Education with a reading endorsement from Old Dominion University. Mrs. Belcher has served as the Kindergarten grade level chair for her two years at Windsor Elementary and is currently a mentor to a fellow Kindergarten teacher. Her classroom is vibrant and inviting and students know they are loved and cared for each and every day. She strives to build lasting relationships with her students and encourages them to always do their best. Mrs. Belcher was born and raised in Newsoms, VA and currently resides there with her husband and daughter, who is now a Junior at Windsor High School.
Kimberly Miller-Cussick is in her thirteenth year at Georgie Tyler Middle School, currently as a special education teacher. As a fourth-grade student at Windsor Elementary, Kimberly Miller-Cussick already knew that she wanted to be an educator. After graduating from Windsor High, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Longwood University. She received her Master’s degree in special education from Regent University with an additional certificate as a reading specialist. In 1994, she began teaching fourth grade in Newport News. In 2008, she and her family moved back to Windsor where she became an eighth grade English teacher at Windsor Middle School in the same classroom where she was once a fourth-grade student. Throughout her career, she has taught every grade from preschool through eighth. As a middle school teacher at Georgie Tyler, she has held several leadership positions including president of the Booster Club, grade level chairperson, and member of the school leadership team. No matter the grade or content for which she is responsible, her most important goal is always to show her students how much she cares about them. Currently, she lives in Franklin with her husband and two sons.
Angela Williams is a devoted Physical Science teacher in Isle of Wight County and has spent almost 20 years teaching at Smithfield Middle School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education at Old Dominion University and a Master’s of Education degree at Regent University. She has taken classes from Jefferson Lab for the past nine years to help her keep up-to-date with all of the new and dynamic science labs. In addition to teaching science, she plays a very active role in leadership positions at SMS. She is the coordinator of Hospitality, Secret Pals, United Way, and the annual SMS talent show. She also serves as the SMS representative for Teacher Council. Her classroom is an exciting place to be with a lot of hands-on experiments to help her students foster their love of science. It is her life-long goal to reveal the mysteries of science to students every day. She is grateful for the opportunity to use her skills and gifts to instill a love of learning in each student. Mrs. Williams currently lives in Yorktown with her husband, son, and daughter, and she is an active member of her community.
Andrew Henson is a social studies teacher at Smithfield High School, teaching mainly World History and Sociology classes. He is in his ninth year of teaching, seven of which have been in Isle of Wight County Schools at SHS. Originally from Virginia Beach, he earned both his Bachelor of Arts in History and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Christopher Newport University. In addition to teaching, Mr. Henson currently coaches the five-time state champion Smithfield High School debate team. This is his second year as head coach after spending two years as assistant coach. Mr. Henson strives to make an active and engaging classroom environment, teaching creative lessons and helping students think beyond the material. He works hard to make both the past and the present come alive and encourages students to ask deeper questions that will lead to knowledge beyond the classroom.
Jennifer Davis is a passionate math teacher at Windsor High school. She is in her twenty-fifth year of teaching and fourth at Windsor High. After growing up in Gloucester, VA, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Longwood University and a Masters of Arts degree in Mathematics Education from Christopher Newport University. After teaching in a rural middle school and a large suburban high school, Mrs. Davis was given the opportunity to transfer to Windsor High. Students know when Mrs. Davis is wearing a costume that an exciting lesson is about to begin. Whether she is a secret agent and students need to break a code to solve a crime or a pirate where they must find the buried treasure by solving for x, her students are excited to learn and flourish on her passion to teach. Mrs. Davis’ actions extend beyond the classroom. She is part of the School Leadership Team, serves as a freshman class sponsor, as well as a homebound math instructor, an Algebra SOL recovery tutor, and mentors new math teachers. Mrs. Davis resides in Suffolk with her husband and son, who is a student in the division.