Monthly Archives: August 2014

Great First Week of School

August 22, 2014

Dear Hollymead Families,

It has been a wonderful 3 days of school and I’m sure the next 177 will also be great!  I’m always amazed that by 8:30 on the first day of school the halls are quiet and there is a busy hum in all the classrooms.  Ms. England and I have made short visits to all the classrooms this week and have seen lots of great learning. Of course we will continue classroom visits throughout the year.  We have also seen lots of happy families helping their children adjust to the new school year. Thank you for that and for helping them become more independent now that school is underway. It is wonderful to see even our kindergarteners overcoming anxiety, happily learning and enjoying new adventures.

Thursday, August 28 is Back to School Night for third to fifth grades from 6:00 to 7:30 in the evening.  Kindergarten to second grade will have Back to School Night on Tuesday, September 9 from 6:00 to 7:30.  Teachers at each grade level will prepare a presentation to inform parents about everything from curriculum to homework and then parents have an opportunity to ask questions.  Please put those important dates on your calendar.

Also, please help us provide the safest environment possible for students and staff.

  1. If you walk your dog to school along with your child, keep your dog on a short leash. Adults should be holding the leash, not children. Do not leave your dog unattended. Some of our children are afraid of dogs and for this reason we encourage you to keep them at a distance.
  2. If there is a dog in your car, we ask you to park and walk your child to the crosswalk in the front of the school. Staff members will not assist students if there is a dog in the car. This is for the safety of our staff. With window tinting we are not always aware of a dog in the vehicle.
  3. Do not get out of your car in the Drop-Off Lane. Children should be seated on the right hand side so we can help them out of the car at the sidewalk.
  4. Do not drop off students in the parking lot because that would require them to cross traffic without an adult. Instead, park and walk your student to the crosswalk or, if possible, use the drop off lane.
  5. Please only cross the street at crosswalks. Our children are watching us and will mimic us.
  6. Drop Off and Pick Up are the only times cars should be in the fire lane. Cars should never be left unattended in the fire lane.

We realize you are entrusting us with the most precious part of your lives.  Thank you. We take this responsibility very seriously.  Please contact me if you have questions, suggestions or concerns.

Your partner in education,

Nancy Teel

Welcome to the 2014 – 2015 School Year


I hope everyone has enjoyed a summer of fun and relaxation.  Here at school we have been busy getting ready for the beginning of school.  We’ve had a busy summer with Summer School, Extended School Year Program, Parks and Recreation Playground Program, Ms. Foster’s Art Camp and Camp for Real.

What is new at Hollymead?  There are a few changes.  As most of you are aware,  Mary Anderson, the music teacher for the last two years, has moved to an Instructional Coach position.  I am excited to introduce you to Sonia Azaravich, the our music teacher.

Sonia Azaravich had been teaching choral and general classroom music at Rockfish River Elementary School in Nelson County for the last four years.  She has also been a part of Music Education Center teaching staff since the fall of 2010, as an instructor of piano, violin, and voice.  Sonia has been playing the piano since she was 9 years old.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Marywood University in Scranton, PA.  Before teaching in Virginia, Sonia taught in Central Pennsylvania as a substitute teacher for two years, and was a long-term substitute elementary music teacher for one full year.  She recently acquired her Master’s Degree in Music Education with certification in Kodaly Methodology from The Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT.  Besides her love of music and teaching, Sonia enjoys running, cooking, gourmet coffee (a.k.a. Dunkin Donuts!) and spending time with her two cats (Java and Spresso). She is currently training for the Steamtown Marathon (26.2 miles!) in October.

Sonia Azaravich

Sarah LaPrade, fifth grade teacher, also moved to an Instructional Coach position.  She has been replaced by Anna Snyder, a  transfer to Hollymead from Greer Elementary School.

Anna Snyder is originally from Norfolk, Virginia and has been teaching for 16 years.  She has taught in Norfolk, Fairfax County and Albemarle.   “I love living here in Charlottesville and enjoy taking advantage of all that this area has to offer, be it hiking, with my dog Oliver, swimming in the surrounding watering holes , working in my garden or spending time with family and friends.  When the weather turns too cold or rainy to enjoy the splendor of the mountains, I can be found enjoying a new book as I am an avid reader. I love teaching students about Virginia History and the events that shaped the Commonwealth. I look forward to getting to know the students and families at Hollymead and I begin this new and exciting adventure.”

Anna Snyder

Also new to Hollymead is Rebekah Saunders. She grew up in Lynchburg in a family of educators.  She spent nine years in Pennsylvania and Ohio, then came to Charlottesville ten years ago to work on my Masters in Reading Education at UVA.  During that time she met her husband, and has worked in Charlottesville City, Greene County, and Albemarle County.  As a Reading Specialist, Rebekah has worked with Kindergarten through fifth grade as a Title 1 teacher, Intervention Specialist, and PALS teacher. Her son is in pre-school and her daughter is starting Kindergarten at Cale this year.   Her family has two yellow labs that enjoy hiking and exploring with them.   Rebekah will be teaching math and reading in third grade.


Some teachers are also changing grade levels.  Pattie Shifflett is moving from first to second grade, Susan Peck, returning after a leave of absence, is moving to third grade, Lauren Santana is moving from third to second grade and Kim Blevins is moving from second to fifth.

I am looking forward to an exciting year of learning for all students.