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Logo: Newport News Public Schools

Model Teachers: Middle School Science

Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Sabrina Leahy
Content: Middle School Science
School: Hines Middle
Years Taught: 1


What do you most love about teaching?
I am a science teacher.  But I value being a teacher of students above being a teacher of science.  As middle school is such a transitional time in students’ lives, a teacher at this level is sometimes as much a teacher of life, personal skills, and how to be an admirable human being…as we are teachers of the subject matter.  I have found that what I most love about teaching is this opportunity to help students succeed in various aspects of their lives, not solely the subject matter I’m assigned to teach.  The very best thing I can do as a teacher is help create an environment where students feel safe, secure, and confident to be themselves, to take risks, and to fail and grow from their mistakes and experiences. Middle school students are amidst a time of personal discovery and development, and need opportunities to not only have positive behaviors modeled, but also explore and engage in experiences that allow them to discover their strengths and talents.  I’m honored to get to be part of this leg of the journey.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
As I tell my students, knowledge is good by itself, but it’s even more wonderful and powerful when shared with others!  I credit my success as a teacher to all the valuable ideas, perspectives, and mentorship I have received from countless other effective educators over the years.  Teaching is a team effort and in order to work to help every child be successful, effective practices must be shared, and we must learn and grow together.

Why do you love working in NNPS?
It makes it easy to love and excel at what you do when you have such diversely talented students, wonderful colleagues willing to learn and grow alongside you, and a huge network of supporters who want nothing more than the very best for the students we have the pleasure of educating.  That’s exactly what I’ve found in NNPS.


Model Teacher
Model TeacherName: Laura Nelson Rogers
Content: Middle School Science
School: Booker T. Washington Middle
Years Taught: 13


Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I would not be successful today if it was not for great mentors and co-workers. They gave me support, modeled good teaching practices and shared creative ideas. I love being a teacher, and I love sharing that passion for teaching with others. During my student teaching I had a lesson plan, which I thought was going to work great, fail in the classroom. My cooperating teacher worked with me to determine why that lesson did not work and what could have been better.  She encouraged me by sharing that she knew I was a better teacher than what was reflected in that lesson. People worked with me and I want to share that experience with others.

Why do you love working in NNPS?
I love working in NNPS because there is a diversity of opportunity for students and staff. I have grown as a professional due to the number of professional development experiences. I have been pushed to learn about new technology, inquiry, and hands-on activities in the classroom.  I work with a diverse group of students and staff. Through my experiences in NNPS, I have been able to collaborate with teachers in my school and across the division. I know there is always someone I can go to with a question who will help me. I have an opportunity to sponsor clubs and activities and students have a variety of activities to be involved in as well.




Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Erik Francis
Content: 8th grade Physical Science and Earth Science
School: Crittenden Middle
Years Taught: 18


What do you most love about teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is watching students grow and progress in the skills they need to become successful.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
Nobody can do this job on their own.  We all have areas of strength and areas upon which we need to improve.  If we have a network of competent and compassionate professionals, everyone has the chance to become better at our craft.

What is the best way to describe your classroom on a typical day?  
Every day follows the same routine so that students know what to expect.  Lab time allows students to apply their creativity and individuality to the activity, which in turn lets students learn from each other.

Logo: NNPS Curriculum Department