HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico teacher has been named the 2020 Central Virginia Teacher of the Year.
Gregory Lyndaker, a history and psychology teacher Henrico High School, was surprised with the new title Thursday morning at the senior class meeting.
“Just complete surprise,” Lyndaker said. “[I] did not expect this at all when I came in, or when I was standing in the meeting. I thought it was our senior meeting that we typically have at the beginning of the year. Just complete shock."
Lyndaker has been a teacher at Henrico High since 2013. Before joining the faculty, he taught at a middle school in upstate New York and at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls. Lyndaker is originally from Watertown, N.Y.
In May, Lyndaker was named the 2019 Henrico County Teacher of the Year. While his nominations continue to grow, he said he’s focused on one thing – his students.
"I'm big about forming relationships with my students and as many as I can, even the ones I don't have in my class,” he said. “Just providing a space for them, someone to talk to and be with."
Between the students and staff, the auditorium at Henrico High was filled with excitement Thursday about the huge accomplishment.
“It’s amazing,” Lyndaker said. “I didn’t expect it last year for the county. I know there are so many great teachers in the county and then to be named out of the entire region ... it’s amazing. Really, really excited right now.”
Region one covers central Virginia including the Chesterfield, Hanover and Richmond school systems.
Last year, Richmond’s Rodney Robinson was named the 2019 Virginia Region 1 Teacher of the Year. Since then he achieved the most coveted award, National Teacher of the Year, which is something Lyndaker can’t help but think about following his new title.
"It pushes you to the next level,” he said. “You start getting named top teachers or in any profession and you want to up your game. You want to make yourself better."
But Lyndaker’s colleagues said he’s constantly going above and beyond the call.
“Everyone sees the fancy lessons you post on social media, the wonderful PD presentations you give our teachers, and how flawlessly you lead the impact team,” said Henrico High School Principal Karin Castillo-Rose. “But what they don’t see are the late nights, and early mornings, endless emails and meetings; the relentless insistence to always improve your instruction. It’s an honor to serve with you.”
“You make the content in your class highly engaging ...” said Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Educations Holly Coy. “You’re also known for mentoring and supporting other teachers in the building and beyond. It sounds like you learned that from one of the best - your own dad.”
As Lyndaker heads into his seventh year at Henrico High, he’s constantly reminded of why he returns each year.
“The staff and the kids,” he said. “It’s one of the most supportive staffs I’ve every worked for… they’re amazing, always there to bat for you. Then there’s the kids. We have a really diverse population here at Henrico and it's just amazing the different people and kids you can meet here."
Lyndaker is nominated among seven other regional winners for the 2020 Virginia Teacher of the year, an award that will be announced Oct. 7 in a ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The 2020 Virginia Teacher of the Year will be the commonwealth’s nominee in the National Teacher of the Year awards.
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