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Logo: Newport News Public Schools

Model Teachers: High School English

Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Cristy Reese
Content: High School English (9 & 11)
School: Denbigh High
Years Taught: 16


What makes NNPS a great school division?
NNPS offers its teachers many valuable opportunities for growth and development. I have become a more thoughtful and purposeful instructor after learning from some of my peers in the division. Newport News also inspires its employees to embrace leadership roles, thus fostering more confident teachers as a result.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I know what it is like to be in a new environment. In fact, no two years are exactly alike; every year is new. So the more assistance each of us gives to one another, the better we are as a unit.

What two words best describe you as a teacher?

  • Ever-present : I can remain in the moment and respond proactively to situations that happen, whether my plan calls for them or not.
  • Steadfast : I stay focused on the end result and keep my eye on the prize!



Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Chrissie Wilson
Content: High School English
School: Warwick High
Years Taught: 12


What do you most love about teaching?
Students. High school students offer challenges, but also passion. When we challenge ourselves as educators to be constantly adapting to the needs and interests of our students, we can create learning environments that engage, push, and encourage students to take risks that can lead to failure. It is important that students understand that more learning comes from what we get wrong rather than what we always get right. Teenagers are often fearful of risk and being wrong, especially in a classroom setting in front of peers. The challenge of creating a caring and trusting environment with students makes this job exciting. In creating a strong classroom culture, I am then able to see their passions, even if their passion is not for my class. Teenagers are a passionate and often optimistic group that have enough of childhood in them that they still believe they can change the world or at least run the world.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I believe that no one truly understands this career like a fellow teacher. I find that I get re-energized by conversations with other teachers. In discussing problems and solutions, I find new, exciting changes that I can make in my own class to continue to grow as a teacher. I love the conversations about the multitude of choices that we make as educators and gaining different perspectives on how to create a healthy classroom setting that challenges and encourages students. It is rewarding to build professional relationships that help teachers energize their teaching and develop their own style and structure that helps them feel empowered in their own teaching and classroom.

What is the best way to describe your classroom on a typical day?
I like a classroom that is lively and structured. I set routines for handing papers out, turning papers in, giving information to students and parents, etc. On a typical day, students enter the class and find a note from me or a “do now” on the front SMART board. The lesson, learning target, and homework are all listed on the sideboard for clear view of all students. Students begin with an individual task. After greeting everyone at the door, I greet the class as a whole and give them an overview of the class ahead and our goals, as well as updating on our class calendar any homework or upcoming assignments. Students finish their individual assignment and shift to small group tasks. These are usually discussion-based but require all students to participate. Then we typically shift to whole class discussion or instruction before moving back to some individual checks of learning. The shifts from size of the task and shared responsibility help the long class time to move quickly and allow for collaboration and individual checks for mastery. I adjust the times for activities based on the grade level and abilities of each class. Students turn in assignments to the “Due Now” box so that all papers are in one space. I collect the set and file it for grading immediately to prevent loss of student papers. I typically end class with a final whole class farewell and reminders of homework and due dates. Exit tickets are collected separately at the bell. Students turn in exit tickets in a simple three pocket hanger and rank their own understanding. This gives me a quick glance of how the students feel about their own learning and lets me see what redirecting or re-teaching I should plan for the next class.



Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Anthony Vann
Content: High School English
School: Woodside High
Years Taught:


Logo: NNPS Curriculum Department