Robin Aldridge Memorial Playground

We have added a musical piece of equipment to the fenced in playground. There is a keyboard and drums for our musical visitors. The funds were raised during the Fun Run Fundraiser on Septemrobin-aldridge-sign_0079ber 12, 2015 and other sources of fundraising including the Hollymead PTO and grants. The new piece of equipment along with the sign dedicating the playground to Robin Aldridge are in memory of Robin Aldridge, an early childhood special education teacher in Albemarle County for many years. We tragically lost Robin and her daughter Mani on Friday, December 5, 2014. Robin had been teaching the pre-school class at Holllymead for two and a half yearsplayground-music_0076.  She was a strong advocate for all students, but especially for students with special needs. She loved children and music and we celebrate her life on a fun filled playground with music.

I want to thank the Robin Aldridge Memorial Committee, everyone who participated in the Fun Run and others who donated their time and money to raising this memorial to honor Robin.

New Guidance Counselor for Hollymead

I am excited to announce the new guidance counselor for Hollymead.  She will start working officially today, August 29 and will be in classrooms beginning tomorrow! Her picture and bio are below.  I hope many of you can meet her on September 7 at Back to School Night.

My name is Ashley Gareau and I am the new school counselor at Hollymead Elementary.  I recently moved to Charlottesville from Worcester, Massachusetts and I’m thrilled to be joining the Hollymead team!  Prior to being at Hollymead, I worked as a school counselor in an elementary special education program in Massachusetts.  I completed my Master’s in      CounseliAshley Gareau picng Psychology at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Newton, MA and my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.  In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, gardening, reading, and spending time with my dog outside.  I’m very excited to be at Hollymead and I’m looking forward to a great school year!

Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year At Hollymead

Dear Hollymead Families,

This summer has been a time of change at Hollymead.  Most of these changes were unexpected, but we try to embrace them as opportunities for growth.  We will miss the teachers leaving as they have been colleagues, but also friends.

Kindergarten:  There will be 3 teachers instead of 4.  Glenn Bernhardt has moved to 2nd grade.  Beth Kohler, Susan Peck and Joanne Kohlmann will continue to teach kindergarten.

First Grade:  There will also be 3 teachers.  Ms. Throckmorton will be teaching at Stony Point Elementary this fall.  Julie Lindenbaum, Whitney Hinnant and Maria Ellis will continue to teach 1st grade.

Second Grade: Glenn Bernhardt joins the team, while Cindy Groeber-Fard moves to 4th grade.  The other 2nd grade teachers are Leslie Anderson, Lauren Santana and Hollyday Marks.

Third Grade: Kristin Kress has moved to Autism BASE teacher.  Pam Snead has been hired to join Cindy Hersman, Sarah LaPrade and Claire Neill on the 3rd  grade team.  Ms. Snead has 16 years of teaching experience, most of it in third grade.

Fourth Grade:  As many of you know, Jeff Matriccino moved to 6th grade at Sutherland.  Cindy Groeber-Fard joins Becky Brown, Terry Gallagher and  Sarah Parsley on the 4th grade team.

Fifth Grade: Gabe Gomez, a new teacher from UVA ,  joins Jonathan Whitehead, Anna Snyder and Kim Blevins on the 5th grade team.

PE:  Luke Noble helped out part time in PE last year, but as enrollment changed we no longer qualified for the extra position.  Mr. Noble is teaching PE full time at Stone Robinson this fall.  Barb Rosen and Jack Carroll will continue to be our PE team.

Special Education:  Keary Pieczynski and her family have moved out of the area, and as noted earlier, Kristin Kress is taking over the Autism BASE  classroom.

Intervention:  Elizabeth Player has moved from a 1st teaching assistant to a part time intervention position.  Rebekah Saunders, who was the intervention teacher last year, will be teaching at Greer Elementary School this fall.

Guidance:  Warren Meehan has moved out of the Albemarle County area.  This is a very recent development and we are still in the process of hiring a replacement.

We also have many new teaching assistants in kindergarten, 1st grade and in special education. Dismissal time is also changing this year.

Dismissal is at 2:30, five minutes later than last year.  At 2:30 students going to EDEP, to the car pick up line, to ACAC bus, and kindergarten through 2nd grader bus riders will be dismissed .  At 2:35 , 3rd-5th grade bus rider will be dismissed.  At about 2:40 walkers and bikers will be dismissed.

School begins at 7:55.  That is the time we expect all students to be in their classrooms.  In the past few years we’ve seen a trend of students getting to school later and later.  Staff on morning duty are at their posts at 7:40 and children are sent to classrooms at 7:45. When students come late,  instruction and classroom routines are interrupted.  Children who are late often feel the pressure of catching up with others.

We are just days away from the exciting first day of school.  Class placements are scheduled for the Parent Portal on August 19.  Kindergarten Orientation is August 17 and Open House is August 22nd.  I am looking forward to a wonderful school year.  My door is always open.  You can always reach me in person, by phone or by email.

Sincerely,  Nancy Teel, Principal

New Teacher Introduction

My name is Gabriel Gomez and I will be teaching 5th grade at Hollymead Elementary for the 2016-2017 school year. I was born and raised in the state of Colorado, Go Broncos! I moved to Virginia in order to attend the University of Virginia.  I competed as a division one athlete and was a part of tGabe.jpeghe 2010 ACC Wrestling Championship team. I received my bachelors in government and recently received my masters in elementary education. My student teaching took place in third grade, but I am excited to be moving up grades having substituted multiple times for 5th grade. I enjoy running, reading, and playing/watching sports such as disc golf, baseball/softball, basketball, hockey, and football. As an educator I am excited to grow and learn with my students!

My name is Pam Snead, and I will be teaching third grade at Hollymead this year. While I am new to Hollymead, I am not new to teaching. I taught in my hometown of Madison, VA for 16 years (most of which Pam_1656was in a third grade classroom) before taking this past year off to be home with my daughter, Sophie. When I am not teaching, I love spending time with my family, volunteering at church and curling up with a good book in one hand and a Starbucks or Greenberry’s coffee in the other. After being out of the classroom for a bit, I feel a renewed excitement about teaching, and I am thrilled to be a member of the third grade team at Hollymead Elementary for the 2016-2017 school year!


New at Hollymead for the 2015-2016 School Year

Cindy Hersman

My name is Cindy Hersman and I will be teaching third grade at Hollymead Elementary for the 2015-2016 school year. I began working at Hollymead last year as a long-term substitute in special education and again in first grade. Previously, I worked for nine years in Howard County, Maryland, where I taught second grade, third grade, and special education. When I’m not working, I enjoy walking my dogs with my husband, Andy, and two children, Bella and Ben. I am so excited to resume my teaching career right here in my own neighborhood, Hollymead! 


Lisa KingI am Lisa King. I have been teaching for 18 years, in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. I am originally from New York, but after living in Charlottesville and teaching at Hollymead for eleven years I consider Charlottesville home. When I am not teaching I love watching my children participate in sports, running, and surrounding myself with family and friends.

I have a new role at Hollymead this year as the Gifted Resource Teacher.  I believe in an eclectic philosophy drawing from many different educators, to create a learning environment that supports life long learners. Equal weight needs to be given to high expectations for teachers and students, providing a non-threatening environment to enhance the students’ excitement of authentic learning and allow a feeling of safety and structure. I am confident, in a nurturing environment all children will excel and succeed.

Emily ThrockmortonMy name is Emily Throckmorton and I recently graduated from James Madison University with my Master of Arts in Teaching. I also completed my undergraduate career at JMU, making me a Double Duke! I grew up in Louisa County, VA and I love to go home and visit with my wonderful parents and twin brothers. After completing my student teaching in first grade, I was ecstatic to find out I would be teaching first grade here at Hollymead Elementary! I love all of the learning, exploring and fun we get to have! In my free time I enjoy teaching dance to all ages, playing the piano, spending time at the beach, reading, and playing with my dog, Bentley. I’m looking forward to a wonderful year!

Hollyday MarksMy name is Hollyday Marks.   I was born and raised outside of Washington, DC in Potomac, MD.  I graduated from The Potomac School in McLean, VA in 1997 and from Gettysburg College in 2001 with my Bachelor’s in health and exercise science and minor in Spanish.  I worked for Club Med for 3 years and lived in the Bahamas and Indonesia as a fitness instructor and ultimately managed the sports team.  I earned my master’s degree from University of Phoenix in 2006 in special education and taught for 3 years in Stuart, FL.  We moved to Charlottesville in 2013.  Last year I did long term substitute positions at Baker Butler, Red Hill and Stone Robinson.  I am excited to be teaching second grade at Hollymead this year.  I am a proud wife and mother of 2 sons, Landon (4) and Brody (nearly 2 months!)  We are an active family and love living here. I love to read (when I find time!), workout and in general enjoy Charlottesville, my family and friends!

Luke Noble.jMy name is Luke Noble.  I was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, attending Albemarle County Schools Greer, Jack Jouett, and Albemarle High School.  I went on to attend the University of Virginia and graduate with my Masters in Health and PE in 2014.  I ran track and cross country throughout high school and continued collegiately at UVA.  I continue to enjoy running as well as many other outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and swimming, playing organized recreational sports, and working out.  I love watching any UVA athletics as well as professional football and basketball.  This year I’ll be part time at both Woodbrook Elementary School and Hollymead.


















Changes at Hollymead

Dear Hollymead Families,

Every year we see changes in staff and organization of our school.  This year is no different.  We embrace changes as they help us to gain new perspective and allow for professional and personal growth.

Kindergarten:  As many of you already know, Mrs. Dixon retired at the end of last year after spending 30 years at Hollymead.  We will miss her experience and expertise.  The kindergarten team this year will be Beth Kohler, Joanne Kohlmann, Glenn Bernhardt and Susan Peck.  Susan has been eager to teach kindergarten.

First Grade: Angel Feero who was on maternity leave second semester has decided to be a full time mother for a while.  I am sure that sometime in the future we’ll be welcoming her back to Hollymead.  The first grade team this year will be Julie Lindenbaum, Maria Ellis, Whitney Hinnant and Emily Ann Throckmorton.  Ms. Throckmorton is joining us as a new teacher from JMU.

Second Grade:  Many of you might not know that Patti Shifflett accepted a position as an Instruction Coach for the 2015-2016 school year.  We wish her the best in her new role in Albemarle County Public Schools.  The second grade team will be Cindy Groeber-Fard, Lauren Santana, Leslie Anderson and Hollyday Marks.  Ms. Marks was a kindergarten teacher at Stone-Robinson last year, but has experience in second grade as well.

Third Grade:  Last year third grade was a three member team, but is four this year.  The team will be Claire Neill, Kristin Kress, Sarah LaPrade and Cindy Hersman.  Sarah LaPrade is returning to Hollymead after a year as an Instructional Coach.  Ms. Hersman was a long term substitute last year in special education and first grade.

Fourth Grade:  This is the only team at Hollymead unchanged from last year!  The team will be Jeff Matriccino, Terry Gallagher, Becky Brown and Sarah Parsley.

Fifth Grade:  At this point 5th grade is a 3 teacher team this year (this could change).  The team will be Jonathan Whitehead, Kim Blevins and Anna Snyder.

Physical Education:  Due to enrollment we are adding a part time PE teacher.  Luke Noble will be spending afternoons at Hollymead after teaching at Woodbrook in the mornings.  The PE team is Barbara Rosen, Jack Carroll and Luke Noble.

Gifted Resource Teacher:  As most of you know, Jacqui Cecalupo retired at the end of last year.  Lisa King, formerly fifth grade teacher, is stepping into this role.

Office:  Also due to enrollment increases we have some additional help in the front office.  Diane Symmes, will be a part member of the office staff.  Some families who’ve been around for a while might remember Diane from before the redistricting to Baker-Butler 4 years ago.  For the last couple of years she has been substituting in the office as well.  We are thankful for the experience and knowledge she brings with her.

In the next post, you’ll find short biographies and pictures of new additions to Hollymead.

The first day of school is only 13 days away.  Enjoy the last days of summer.

Your partner in education,

Nancy Teel, Prinicpal



Parent Portal and Classroom Placement

Dear Hollymead Families,

Welcome to the new school year!  This is such a busy and exciting time for all of us.  Please read the information below regarding Parent Portal.

What: Parent Portal is your source for student information regarding attendance, lunch account balances, grades, and teacher comments and all ACPS schools are now using it. Parent Portal will also be the main way we will communicate home room teacher assignments this year. Many of you may already be familiar with Parent Portal as it has been used in all of our middle and high schools for several years.

Why: Albemarle County Public Schools is committed to sharing information with parents and families in an effective and efficient manner. We also are working to be a “paper light” organization and this is one way that we can meet both of these objectives. Through your Parent Portal account you will be able to access all attendance information as well as teacher comments, and in the upper grades you can check assignments and scores. Additionally you can use this platform to email teachers.

How: If you already have your Access Key for your Hollymead student(s) then you simply need to log on to access information. If you do not yet have the Access Key for one or more Hollymead students you will need to get your Parent Portal Access Key by coming to school during office hours (7:30-3:30) prior to August 13th. This information may only be given in person as you will need to sign that you have received it. We are not permitted to provide it over the phone or in any other way. After receiving your Access Key you will have access to Parent Portal through many platforms including computers, smart phones, and tablets.

If you have any questions please contact the school at 434 973-8301.

Your partner is education,

Nancy Teel, Principal

Hollymead Elementary School

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.



Hollymead Teachers Participate in STEM Workshop





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Hollymead Elementary School is so fortunate to have many, many parent and community volunteers.  Volunteers help in classrooms during academic times, plan extra curricula activities in classrooms, help with team building day and field day, shelve books in the library, assist Mrs. Foster’s art classes, supervise on field trips and so much more.

VIcki. Hoovis is in her fifth year volunteering at Hollymead and is willing to help wherever she is needed.  She has already logged 60 hours this year.  Ms. Hoovis also works for Walmart/Sam’s Club and her employer supports her volunteerism in school.  In fact they support and encourage their employees to volunteer to the extent that they put money behind their support.  For every 25 hours Ms. Hoovis volunteers in our school, Walmart/Sam’s Club donates $250.00 to Hollymead.  We not only get Ms. Hoovis helping out in all kinds of ways, we get money! The money that we receive benefits students at Hollymead in many ways. Thank you Ms. Hoovis and WalMart/Sam’s Club!