Above and Beyond in the Classroom: Third generation teacher gets lesson planning pointers at Yale

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Ms. Valerie Schwarz is a 4th-grade teacher at Mary Munford Elementary School.

“I’m actually the third generation teacher in my family,” she said. “My mom didn’t teach much once she had the kids but my grandma taught and my mother taught and now I teach so I think it’s just kind of in my blood.”

Schwarz has taught at Mary Munford for 18 years.

8News Anchor Whitney Harris spoke with students about their teacher.

“I like my teacher because she helps us when we’re having trouble and she tries to explain it to us so that we understand it good,” one of her students, Ian Bain, said.

Schwarz explained her motivation for teaching.

“I love seeing the kids learn, seeing when they get it. I love helping them when they’re stuck and then seeing them get over that hump,” Schwarz said.

And as you can see from her students’ artwork, they think she’s an amazing teacher.


“Everything that we learn she really gets us to understand everything so it really sticks to our brain,” said student Aidan Krivanec.

“She’s very organized,” added Ella Fretz.

And there’s one subject Schwarz really loves to focus on with her students.

“My favorite subject is math and Ms. Schwarz is really big on math and we do a lot of it this year, we’ve been working on division and fractions,” said her student Aidan Krivanec.

Schwartz is also the local lead for the Yale Initiative Program, spending two weeks of her own summer at Yale.

“It has been the best professional development activity I’ve ever seen the teachers be a part of,” said Greg Muzik, the principal of Mary Munford Elementary School.

Schwartz works with Yale professors to come up with lessons, projects, and activities to bring home to Richmond students, which her principal loves.

“Mrs. Schwarz was already a great teacher and what great teachers always do is try to get better and what this program does is it builds on very good teachers and makes them even better at what they’re doing,” Principal Muzik said.


beyond4So what’s it like for her to be nominated as a teacher who goes above and beyond?

“It’s humbling but I put everything I have into it because it’s what I really enjoy doing,” Schwarz, said. “I’m glad I’m making a difference with them and impacting them.”

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