Kempsville educator named Virginia Beach’s Teacher of the Year

Peter Coutu, The Virginian-Pilot
·2 min read

A Kempsville High School educator has been named Virginia Beach’s Teacher of the Year, officials announced Tuesday morning.

Kimberly Nurse is a graduate of Norfolk State University, where she earned her master’s degree in special education. For 15 years, she worked as a special education teacher at Seatack Elementary School and Landstown High School before coming to Kempsville in 2018. She is a teacher and a coordinator with Advancement Via Individual Determination, a national program meant to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness.

Nurse helped start the city’s first Black Student Union at Kempsville High School and oversaw one of the division’s recent African American Male Summits.

In a statement, Melissa George, Kempsville High School’s principal, called Nurse the school’s “Energizer bunny,” saying she puts all of her energy into her work — from training other teachers to fostering an engaging virtual classroom during an unprecedented school year.

Superintendent Aaron Spence told Nurse she won the award when visiting her classroom Tuesday morning.

“Educators like Kimberly Nurse are the reason Virginia Beach is the best place on the East Coast to raise a family,” he said in a statement. “She puts children first in everything she does and advocates not only for their education, but also for their social and emotional development. This honor is well-deserved, and I could not be prouder to have her represent the work our teachers do for every student, every day.”

Nurse beat out a pool of 87 other educators to be selected as the 2022 Virginia Beach City Public Schools Citywide Teacher of the Year. The other finalists are Barbara Besal, a chemistry teacher at First Colonial High School; John Pienkowski, a science teacher at Brandon Middle School; Heather Riggs, an English as a Second Language teacher at the Adult Learning Center; and Laurie Yates, a landscape and turf management instructor at the Technical and Career Education Center.

Nurse, who will be honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Dinner on Nov. 2 at the Oceanfront, wrote in her application for the award that teaching is her superpower.

“I teach because I believe in the power of each of my students to grow and become productive members of society,” she wrote. “I believe in their stories, dreams and wishes and will do all that I can to help them realize that they are here for a purpose. I will celebrate their victories and help them learn from their disappointments. ”

Peter Coutu, 757-222-5124, peter.coutu@pilotonline.com