Virginia Beach students shine at Educators Rising conference in Phoenix

July 10, 2017

      Eleven Virginia Beach public high school students attended the recently held 2017 Educators Rising National Conference in Phoenix, where they celebrated the teaching profession. 


     They also went to compete. 


     The conference included 22 performance-based events “in which teenage, aspiring teachers demonstrate their knowledge, skills and leadership in education,” according to the organization’s website. The knowledge, skills and leadership demonstrated by the students earned them national awards and recognition in seven individual and team events.


     Congratulations to the following award winners:


     First Place: Christina Zendzian, Tallwood High School, Lesson Planning: Humanities.


     Second Place: Nicole Finocchio, Kellam High School, Exploring Education Administration Careers.


     Third Place: Jamaree Isekeije, Tallwood High School, Exploring Careers in Non-Core Subject Teaching.


     Top 10: Taylor Payne, Katherine Stauch and Amy Needham, Cox High School, Inside Our Schools.


     Top 10: Aubrey Redifer, Bayside High School, Educators Rising Leadership Award.


     Top 10: Aubrey Redifer and Kailyn Bourque, Bayside High School, Researching Learning Challenges.


     Top 10: Kamryn Creary, Ashlie Rexach and Natalia Torres, Bayside High School, Ethical Dilemma.


     The five seniors and six juniors, who were enrolled in the Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow (VTfT) classes at their respective high schools this year, became eligible to compete at the national level by earning first- or second-place awards in their respective Educators Rising state competitions.


     Their VTfT teachers Jenna Free (Tallwood), Carrie Gantt (Kellam), Meg Manugo (Bayside) and Jennifer Nardelli (Cox), also attended the national conference and competition.


     For more information about Educators Rising, formerly known as the Future Educators Association, visit

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