Excellent Educators is a WAVY-TV 10 initiative to celebrate local teachers who have gone above and beyond for their students and communities during the last academic year. These Excellent Educators were nominated by their school divisions. Congratulations to these educators for all of their hard work and accomplishments!

Name: Alexandria Herrick

Division: Currituck County Schools

Position: Seventh grade English language Arts teacher at Currituck County Middle School

What the school division said about this Excellent Educator: Alexandria Herrick is a dynamic seventh grade English teacher. She makes lessons interactive and immersive for her students. Sometimes during the year, her room transforms so students feel like they are walking into the novel they are reading.

She is a team player and always radiates positive energy. She always sees the best in students and encourages them to work hard. She leads professional development in our building and works on district teams to ensure that English classrooms across our district have the resources they need to be successful. She is a shining light at Currituck County Middle School ad deserves recognition for being an outstanding teacher.

What we saw: Alexandra Herrick’s classroom isn’t just a place to learn about English and literature, it’s a place to learn about how the “real world” operates.

When we visited, Herrick wasn’t alone in managing her classroom. There was a marketing expert who made sure the assignments were properly communicated, an human resources position making sure attendance was taken and an office manager ensuring all classroom materials were accounted for.

These are all students of course. Taking turns in the various positions throughout the year.

“It helps students to take ownership of their classroom and treat it with more respect,” Herrick said. It’s an idea she learned from a teaching conference she attended several years ago.

But teaching real world skills is something that guides Herrick’s every action. The most important word she wants her students to know the meaning of by the end of the school year: grit.

She emphasizes that all tasks should be completed to the best of a students ability, realizing everyone’s ability is different.

“It’s important that they keep trying and that they overcome adversity and that they overcome their obstacles,” Herrick said. “It really is about if you want it, you’re gonna get it. You just have to keep working at it.”

Like many teachers, she often wonders if much of what she is doing is sinking in. She spends time outside of her scheduled hours in an effort to make her instruction engaging.

It’s why its hard for her not to get emotional when she thinks about one students words in particular.

“You know I had a student come back that I really didn’t think I made much of a difference in his life and he said ‘Mrs. Herrick you changed my life’ and, I’m going to try not to cry. That was, when you get stories like that its really rewarding.”

Herrick wants anyone even contemplating becoming a teacher to pursue the interest further.

“We need more good teachers.”