Teacher Spotlight

Quality education is essential to the well being of our society, and good teachers are the foundation of our education system. The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation established the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Awards to recognize teachers who exemplify excellence in their profession. Agnes Meyer, a staunch supporter and defender of public education, was the wife of Eugene Meyer, who purchased “The Washington Post” 1933.

The goals of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Awards are to recognize excellence in teaching, to encourage creative and quality instruction, and to contribute in a substantive way to the improvement of education in the Washington metropolitan area.

This year two EIP Teachers are recognized by The Washington Post in Prince William County for their outstanding contributions to public education. Both Stephanie Nash and Julia Renberg have been nominated for the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. Regardless of who is finally awarded, EIP wins big because of their efforts! We sincerely thank them both for raising the EIP Shield high.

EIP Teacher Spotlight: Julia Renberg & Stephanie Nash

Julia Renberg

Battlefield H.S. - Chemistry II  |  Forensic Science

The ability to encourage students to master a subject like chemistry or forensics can be a great challenge for anyone. Julia Renberg’s broad and in-depth knowledge of both subjects combined with years of working with a wide variety of students has given her the ability to modify concepts so her student can thrive. She strives to provide students can thrive. She strives to provide students with better ways to learn challenging material, even bringing the National Chemistry Olympiad to Battlefield High School. With her persistence she has brought the chemistry pass rate to 97% and maintained a 100% SOL pass rate for her chemistry students.

Mrs. Renberg received a Bachelor of Science from Belarussian State University. She also holds a Master of Arts in education from George Mason University where she is pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership with a minor in special education. She is a chemistry teacher in Early Identification Program at GMU and a publication reviewer for the International Journal of Educational Policy and Leadership.

Stephanie Nash

Stonewall Jackson H.S. - Algebra I, Part I  |  Geometry  |  MYP Geometry

“Keenly intelligent, gregarious, and determined, to defy failure, Stephanie Nash inspires students and colleagues alike,” write a nominator. By keeping her class entertaining and her lessons fun, she instills a desire to learn. Her hands-on lessons, are well known to students at Stonewall Jackson High School. Her students know that she demands hard work and refuses to accept failure; nevertheless, they ask for placement in her class by the droves. Mrs. Nash pushes students beyond their comfort zones to succeed at math, despite phobias and previous discouraging math experiences.

Mrs. Nash holds a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, both from Virginia State University. She is pursuing a Master of Science in mathematics from Walden University. Mrs. Nash joined PWCS and the staff of Stonewall Jackson High School in 2003. In addition, she works with Early Identification Program here at George Mason University where she helps hundreds of first generation college-bound students.


Teacher Spotlight

By Helen Ackerman

When Lewis Forrest, II, first got involved with the Early Identification Program in 1999, he was hooked. He stayed for nine years, working as associate director, before leaving to take up a Professional School Counselor’s position with Prince William Public Schools.

“I am enjoying being back at Mason,” he says. “I missed the variety of people I worked with––the students and their parents, all the people in the school systems, donors, the staff at Mason.” Lewis got his wish. He is now back at EIP––but this time as executive director of the program.

“…the heart of the program is creating a sense of community and family within the program.” Lewis Forrest, II

Lewis is passionate about the EIP’s goal of inspiring first-generation students towards higher education and professional goals. But he has other desires for the program as well. “A lot of people are just not aware of the impact of EIP––how our work here really does affect a student’s success in school.” He wants to increase recognition of the value of EIP among the school systems, the university, and donors.
To that end, he is doing an intense review of the program to learn what is done well and what can be improved. “This knowledge will help us better serve our students. Our goal is to make them succeed academically, personally, and socially.

“However,” Lewis says, “I’m very mindful that the heart of the program is creating a sense of community and family within the program. That goes a long way to helping kids achieve their goals.” Lewis has a “can do” spirit, and he looks forward to tackling what he sees as one of his biggest challenges––being responsive to all his audiences: students, parents, school and college administrators. “I need to work with them all towards a common goal,” he says, “and recognize how each group wants to contribute.”
Life for Lewis is not all about the job. He loves music, especially hip hop and soul, and plays tennis and basketball. He also enjoys being with his wife, Christine, and his three children, Cheliri, Naya and Isaiah. For him, work at EIP and life at home are a winning combination.

EIP’s New Executive Director: Back Where He Started

By Rhina Ascencio

EIP welcomes two new county coordinators. Michael Brown of Prince William County has had a career in education for nine years and is a first generation college graduate. He views his role as a chance “to connect with students who are motivated and prepared to seize the opportunity of entering into higher education.” His goal is to help “children who often go unnoticed get an opportunity to reach their goals.”

Nisha Sensharma of Falls Church City is a rigorous scholar herself and encourages her students to immerse themselves in their studies and become lifelong learners. She looks forward to helping students meet their goals.

EIP is fortunate to gain two wonderful individuals who share EIP’s mission and passion to support all students. The county coordinators play an integral role in the success of EIP and they are an invaluable resource in the lives of EIP Students.

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