Students Cited for Teaching Potential

James Bergey, Ted Erickson and Jesse Rodriguez with Lori H. Lehman "Teachers of Promise" honorees (l. to r.) James Bergey, Ted Erickson and Jesse Rodriguez with Lori H. Lehman, instructor of education at EMU.
Photo by Jim Bishop

Three Eastern Mennonite University students preparing to become teachers have been recognized by state education organizations for their achievements.

Jesse M. Rodriguez, a K-12 special education major from Grottoes, Va.; James H. Bergey, a senior secondary education and history/social studies major from Chesapeake, Va.: and Theodore M. (Ted) Erickson, a senior PreK-12 health and physical education major from Harrisonburg were recognized as "Teachers of Promise" by the state of Virginia.

The three men were honored at a two-day event held at James Madison University and the Spotswood Country Club in late March. (Jesse M. Rodriguez was also one of only two Virginia students to receive an award and scholarship from the Virginia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (VACTE).)

The "Teachers of Promise" initiative, sponsored in part by the Virginia Department of Education and supported by the Virginia Milken Educator Network and the Governor’s Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant, is designed "to honor the best and brightest future educators" and "to encourage outstanding teacher candidates from Virginia’s teacher education programs to remain in the state."

In an effort to support its strongest teacher candidates, the state provides guidance for the new Teachers of Promise by providing them with mentors who are veteran teachers who have been recognized as "Teachers of the Year" in Virginia.

Lori H. Leaman, instructor of education at EMU, attended the institute with the three students. "The institute felt like an affirmation of EMU