WJCC Schools’ Heroes of Hope help others reach their hopes by offering a helping hand, a word of encouragement, or a little guidance. From small acts to grand gestures, these staff members make a difference in the lives of their students and colleagues.

These heroes do not look for applause or recognition. Their reward is in the student achieving a goal, completing a project, or making a colleague’s day a little easier. However, we think they deserve to be honored as the Heroes they are.

We celebrate three WJCC Schools Heroes of Hope the third week of every month during the school year— you can help us by sharing stories of the Heroes among us. To nominate a WJCC Schools employee as a Hero of Hope complete the form below.

2020-21 Heroes of Hope

Three Heroes of Hope are recognized on the third Friday of the month. Join our celebration on WJCC Schools’ social media channels and share your stories about the 2020-21 Heroes of Hope!

April Heroes of Hope

April 23rd, 2021|

Stacey Boynton, Warhill High

Stacey has worked hard for the past year to instill just a little bit of kindness in everyone’s day. Whether it is a student, another teacher/co-worker, Stacey goes above and beyond with her generosity. She started the Sunshine club at Warhill High School that consists of both faculty members and students who think about and implement ways to make someone’s day a little better. She got permission to work with staff members and students to paint and decorate our copy rooms with positive messages and colors. She has worked to make every Wednesday a “kindness” day and reminds staff members to wear bright colors and/or positive messages. She goes out of her way to give a hug, give words of affirmation, and/or listen to whoever needs the support. She often anonymously leaves post-it notes around the school with mood-boosting words of encouragement or compassion. Every Friday she waits at the main entrance doors and greets every student with a high five. A few short years ago, Stacey lost her husband to a battle with cancer. She knows now, and does not take for granted, that you cannot predict or know the battles that an individual brings to work or school every day. She understands there are things in everyone’s lives that cannot be controlled, but she works on what she can control; being a positive light in someone’s day.


Archie Jefferson, Lafayette High

Honestly, I don’t know a single person that Mr. Jefferson has not positively affected. Mr. Jefferson goes above and beyond every day to make the students feel valued, heard, important, and needed in the school and community. He supports and encourages everyone and provides so many ways for students who need it to turn their lives around and have a positive, productive life outside of Lafayette. Mr. Jefferson fights for students when no one else will and is one of the most impactful people I’ve ever met.


Jordan Stehle, Matthew Whaley Elementary

Jordan is a fearless advocate for children’s education. Every choice he makes in and out of the classroom is centered around this one question, are the students enjoying it? He works tirelessly both in and out of school with students ranging from kindergarten age up to high school. He works with the Williamsburg Youth orchestra to extend opportunities outside of his classroom. His goal is to reach students, make meaningful connections, and help them feel loved and excepted, no matter the environment. He never asks for anything in return, and instead will jump in to help a student or colleague with anything they may need.





March Heroes of Hope

March 19th, 2021|

Charna Moss-Gregory, Warhill High

Charna is always willing to go above and beyond to help out a student or a colleague. It doesn’t matter how many things she is juggling; she never turns away someone who needs her assistance. She has implemented many programs, such as the Signs of Suicide Program, to promote mental health and mental health awareness at Warhill. I’ve heard her say many times, “We are here to do what is best for students, not what is easiest for adults.” She lives that motto every day.


Trent Strong, Laurel Lane Elementary

Mr. Strong is a great asset to this school. He always goes beyond his duties. The kids here love him because he takes the time out to stop and listen. They’re always losing something in the trash. He will search through the dumpsters just to put that smile back on that kid’s face. He’s a very positive person always seeing the good in the bad. He is great with the kids and the staff. Very helpful and doesn’t complain even if it’s not in his job duty.


Christine Trueblood, Lafayette High

Ms. Trueblood has had a consistent presence at Lafayette longer than anyone can remember as a front office staff member. She is here early everyday organizing the substitutes, which in and of itself is often a miraculous event: especially during flu season! She is always upbeat and positive, greeting families, faculty, and staff with kind words and a smile. In addition, she feeds the staff throughout the year from baking hundreds of cookies before break to her famous “Cinco de Mayo” taco bar; at the same time, she keeps a staple of supplies for our students on hand that she purchases out of her own pocket. She truly embodies the family mentality that is representative of Lafayette High School.

February Heroes of Hope

February 19th, 2021|

Johanna Byrnes, D.J. Montague Elementary

Johanna works tirelessly to bring Special Education to these students. Nights, weekends, and all her wake hours are spent reassuring parents and students of the value of their child’s education. As a Special Education Teacher and Virtual Academy lead, she takes the time to see all needs are met for students and parents. I have worked with Johanna for the past three years as a Special Education Teacher Assistant and I can say that she provides top-notch care for her students. Also, she always makes sure we have everything we need to do our jobs well and is willing to provide the best support possible. I have learned so much from Johanna these past few years and I enjoy working with her as a Hero of Hope for our students.


Lori Osgood, Toano Middle

Without a doubt, this woman came from Heaven itself and landed on earth. She is the epitome of HOPE to not only her colleagues but each student she encounters. Her warm smile and encouraging words of hope have no end. She never looks around to see who is watching, she doesn’t need to, she is always positive to the point we think she is not human. She can brighten a room or a single heart with just her smile. Lori also knows what and how to calm anyone in a time of complete chaos. She is the person everyone goes to when they need a little time out. Walking away from her afterwords of hope is like starting over. I truly don’t know where this school would be without her.


Paul Vermillion, J. Blaine Blayton

Paul gives everything he has to JBB. Aside from tirelessly working to keep our building sparkling and safe, he has built relationships with our students. He serves as a Big Bee mentor to a student that recently lost his father and greets every student as they walk into the building each morning. He’s a huge part of the reason students are excited to come to school each morning. Our building would not be the same without him.


January Heroes of Hope

January 15th, 2021|


Erin Routten, James River Elementary School

Erin Routten juggles what could be at least three or four full-time jobs without even a moment of hesitation. She checks in on her team regularly, finds new and exciting resources to share, cares for each student as an individual and takes time out of her personal life to make sure all her students and coworkers know that she is there for him. She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude, even when she hasn’t had a moment to herself for weeks. Erin is truly what keeps our team going this year and I know we couldn’t do it without her!


Lauren Schaefer, Warhill High School

Ms. Shaefer is by far one of those teachers who goes above and beyond whatever her job description says she should do as a teacher. She has a way to make a student feel as if they are her only concern when, in fact, she has many more she treats just as personably. She will find what a student who is struggling is interested in and find their strong points and incorporate those in helping her students succeed. Not only does she truly care, she makes sure to work wonderfully with parents. She does all this with a spirit of joy and never makes you as a parent or the student feel as if they are a bother. She truly wants success to be her students’ goal. Our students need more teachers with her outlook, heart, and dedication.


Mary Sharp, Jamestown High School

Throughout the summer and the start of the fall, Ms. Sharp has fielded IT, operations, and logistical questions from our community. The main office is that first glimpse of Jamestown High School for our families, and Ms. Sharp is the face of that office. Ms. Sharp’s steady hand, expertise, and caring makes a difference at JHS. Our faculty, staff, students, and families know that when they call Jamestown, they will get a helpful and dependable voice in a time where flexibility and change abide. We are so very thankful for her support!



December Heroes of Hope

December 18th, 2020|

Selena Chamblee, Berkeley Middle School

When I went on a school tour a few months ago, I heard all about Selena’s work with “Student Success.” I’ve known Selena Chamblee for many years – back when my own children attended Berkeley and she was their favorite math teacher. Although she was a fantastic teacher, her passion (or calling) directed her to leave the classroom setting to concentrate on how she could make the most impact to improve the future of the students at Berkeley. My heart was touched by the dedication that she has shown over her many years with Berkeley to help our most at-risk students. She told us about the Berkeley Bull-Dog pantry where employees at Berkeley keep a closet supplied with food for those students who come to school hungry or need snacks during the day. Selena embodies the spirit of a Hero of Hope for so many students whose family situations are impossible for most of us to contemplate. She works behind the scenes with multiple agencies, counselors, and support networks to keep students in school so they can learn skills and keep safe.


John Gulick, Warhill High School

Mr. Gulick is more than just a spectacular teacher. He makes sure to be involved in his student’s lives beyond academics. He is the teacher to speak up when he notices that something is wrong. Even if you seem perfectly fine, he goes the extra mile to make your day even better with a simple greeting or a full conversation. In the 18 weeks that I spent with Mr. Gulick, I experienced so much character development. I learned better time management, I became more confident, I learned how to study, and I’ve decided what I want to do in college, all because of this amazing teacher. Mr. Gulick is truly a hero inside and outside of the classroom.


Jennifer Stanley, James Blair Middle School

Jennifer Stanley is that person in the school that is a source of comfort every single day. Though her job is data-driven, she has this incredible ability to look beyond the data, and directly at the student themselves. She is not just a School Improvement Specialist, she is a motivator, a mentor, a mother, a life coach, and a confidant all wrapped into one. Though she may not admit it, she is the lifeblood of this school and serves as the backbone to our success. I attribute most of my growth as an educator in the last two years to her and her wisdom and guidance. WJCC is incredibly lucky to have someone life Jennifer supporting our Middle School.

November Heroes of Hope

November 20th, 2020|

Thomas Hendrickson, Toano Middle School

Mr. Hendrickson goes above and beyond to help the students at Toano Middle School. He is a true maverick in the field of education. Mr. Hendrickson worked with both of my sons at the school and always made them feel special. He brought lessons to life for the boys and engaged them in varied hands-on activities. Since both of the boys are autistic, he used positive reinforcement consistently to help them feel successful, even when they were struggling with the curriculum. Mr. Hendrickson battled cancer while he was teaching and somehow never let that be a deterrent to his pursuit of excellence in his field. I am in awe of his courage to combat his illness, all the while meeting the needs of the children he worked with at school. Even when he was home or hospitalized, he kept in contact with the boys and let them know he was cheering them on. Truly inspirational. Mr. Hendrickson also worked with the boys after school in an Aviation Club. He made the subject come alive for the boys and inspired them to want to fly! Since he is also an accomplished pilot, they were thrilled to learn that they could fly along with him at a local airport. Needless to say, that memory will always be with them. As a retired educator, it gives me great pleasure to nominate Mr. Hendrickson as a WJCC Hero of Hope.


Jessica Minter, Laurel Lane Elementary School

Mrs. Minter is a phenomenal teacher. If you meet her once, pass her in the hall, or just hear how she talks to her students you will know that she is a different breed of teacher. Her positivity and constant drive to help her students succeed is what you notice immediately. Working alongside her you notice how she talks to the students. She talks to them like they are people whom she respects and values. You may think this is a normal occurrence for teachers however, it is not. She is a model teacher and exemplary human. She clearly loves what she does, she is excellent at it, and shine so brightly that she encourages others to shine as well.


Jorge Rivas, Central Office

Jorge is AWESOME!. He has assisted JRE in so many ways – assisting parents with OLR, IEP meetings, reaching out to help with follow-up calls to our EL parents regarding remaining paperwork/other items needed to complete enrollment requirements. I could not imagine not having Jorge. He is the best! He goes above and beyond! I do not know how he does it all, for all of our schools by himself.

We will recognize three Heroes of Hope every month during the school year.
All nominations will be reviewed by the WJCC Schools Employee Appreciation Committee. Nominees must be current full-time employees in good standing.