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Name – Helai Mahfus

School – Daniels Run ES

Grade/Subject – Second Grade/General Ed./Classroom Teacher

How long have you been a teacher? 3 years

What is your favorite lesson of the year? I have so many! One of my absolute favorites is a science lesson about changing matter, in which we make play dough. The kids have to work together to make observations about the various ingredients provided, make predictions about what will happen when they put it all together, and then they actually get to mix it to create the dough! This then lends itself to a discussion/further exploration of the different types of matter and how matter can undergo different kinds of changes.

What do you like most about your school? We are all firmly committed to the notion of “teamwork” and support and believe in each other.

Why do you like this grade (best thing about this age of students) Second graders are sensational! They are eager, optimistic, and it’s wonderful being able to support them as they begin to develop even more of their individual identity. Plus they are just adorable! They constantly make me smile.

One tip for parents: Read with your kids as much as you can! Read to them, have them listen to you read, take turns reading together, share your thinking as you read, and ask each other questions! It’s a great habit to start that will undoubtedly lead to valuable, lifelong skills.

5 Quick  Q&A

Favorite book?  Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (Dr. Seuss)

College/University attended? George Mason University (undergrad and grad)

If you could be another profession, what would it be? Child psychologist

Favorite place to travel? Anywhere in Europe! I’ve been to France, Italy, Germany, England, and Netherlands. I have a lot more to see!

Favorite thing to do on weekends? Spending time with my family and friends, preferably getting coffee or frozen yogurt!



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Name:  Erin Beach

School: Daniels Run Elementary School

Grade/Subject: Kindergarten

How long have you been a teacher?  I am starting my 5th year of teaching.  I taught two years in 1st grade and am starting my 3rd year in Kindergarten.

What is your favorite lesson of the year?  I really enjoy our community helpers unit at the beginning of the year.  We discuss how people in our area help us and we have a parade where the students dress up as what they want to be when they get older.  It’s interesting to see what their choices are and it’s adorable!

What do you like most about your school?  Daniels Run is such a warm and welcoming place to be.  From the enthusiasm of the kids, the support of the parents and family of our staff, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

Why do you like this grade (best thing about this age of students):  Kindergarten is such a great place to be.  The kids are so energetic and genuinely excited to be here every day.  The way their minds work and the honesty that comes from them daily makes each day is so refreshing and makes it all worth it.

One tip for parents: Support your child as much as you can!  Let them know that you care about what they’re doing at school.  Be involved… have contact with the teacher, come to lunch, ask them what they’re learning in school.  When the parents show the kids they’re just as excited about school, we definitely see a difference here in the classroom.

5 Quick  Q&A

Favorite book?  I have to admit, I love young adult novels!

College/University attended?  Radford University

If you could be another profession, what would it be?  Chef (I’m not a wonderful cook but I think it would be super rewarding)

Favorite place to travel? The beach!

Favorite thing to do on weekends? Spend time with family and sleep


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Name:            Kim Horn

School:          Daniels Run Elementary

Grade:           4th

How long have you been a teacher?

I have been a teacher for 11 years.

What is your favorite lesson of the year?

I love language arts! And, I love helping children learn what “real” reading means and providing concrete examples of difficult concepts such as Metacognition, Monitoring Comprehension, and Inference.  At the beginning of the year, the students and I make a reading salad to illustrate “real” reading.  It is a combination of text (lettuce) and thinking (tomatoes).  It is SO visual and SO concrete for all learners!

What do you like most about your school?

EVERYTHING!  The administration, the staff, the students and the parents are truly amazing!  Everyone is working together for the students; to help them feel safe, loved and successful each and every day.  I walk into the building and just smile.  It is such a wonderful place to be!

What do you like best about 4th grade?

The best thing about 4th grade is the students!  They are full of excitement and always want to share connections between curriculum and their own lives.  I love getting to know each student and building a strong relationship.  Do they play soccer?  Do they have brothers and sisters?  What’s their favorite food?  Do they love Mexican food like I do?  Building that relationship fosters their love for learning and helps them realize they are a very important part of Team Horn!

One tip for parents:

Take time to talk to your child about his/her day.  Ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” response. Engage yourself in your child’s education and you can learn so much!

Favorite book:  Frindle by Andrew Clements

If you could be another profession, what would it be?

I have had several other professions and nothing felt right until I walked into the classroom.  I knew immediately this is where I belonged.

Where is my favorite place to travel?

Anywhere with a beautiful beach, crystal blue water, sparkling sand sifting through my toes and my family by my side!

What is my favorite thing to do on weekends?

On the weekends, I love spending time with my husband and two kids.

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Name: Ingy Rucker

School: Daniels Run Elementary School

Grade/Subject: 3

How long have you been a teacher?

This is my 3rd full year teaching. Prior to teaching I worked at a fantastic non-profit which focused on high school dropout prevention. Although I loved my job, I realized I loved working with kids even more, and decided to go to graduate school to pursue education.

What is your favorite lesson of the year?

My favorite unit to teach is Ancient Cultures and Civilizations. There is so much interesting information, and so many fun projects you can do with it.  The students are also fascinated by this unit, which makes it extra fun to teach.

What do you like most about your school?

My school is amazing. I literally don’t even know where to start.  I think I would have to go with my colleagues.  We have the most incredible people working in our school—from administration, to janitorial staff.  No matter who you are talking to, people are always willing to lend a hand, and they want the best for our all our students, no matter which class they are in.  We also have some pretty terrific kids at our school too. The community that surrounds Daniels Run is so supportive and positive—it really does help make Daniels Run a great place to work. We also have a TON of technology available at Daniels Run.  It is such a great resource to be able to get our students ready for our technology run world at such a young age.

Why do you like this grade (best thing about this age of students)? 

Third graders are fantastic.  First of all, they are hilarious. They have the ability to make you smile and laugh no matter what is going on.  Third grade is great because it is such a transitional year for the kids… they are no longer the little guys, and they grow up so much in that one year—its amazing!

One tip for parents: Read with your kids every day… Also, take time to HAVE FUN! We are always so busy, it is hard to stop and enjoy the little things—but it makes a big difference with them.

5 Quick  Q&A

Favorite book? The BFG…and most Roald Dahl books.

College/University attended? James Madison University – Go DUKES!!!

If you could be another profession, what would it be? I tried a few other professions, so I know that this is where I should be.. but if I had to choose something else, it would have to be a job working with dogs, or sideline reporter for the Washington Redskins.

Favorite place to travel? I LOVE to travel, and will take any opportunity to do so.  I still have a lot of places to see, but one of my favorite places in the world is Costa Rica…. If you ever get a chance to go, do it!


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