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: Gretchen Shahriari

Division: Suffolk Public Schools

Position: Special Education Teacher at Southwestern Elementary School

What the school division said about this Excellent Educator: Gretchen Shariari embodies the characteristics of an excellent educator. Her positive energy and zest for education have been an inspiration to many and her enthusiasm for teaching is contagious.

Shahriari is often found being a cheerleader, not only to her students, but her colleagues as well. Her high energy transcends into the classroom. She can often be found transforming into characters that connect the content to make learning relevant and engaging. For example, during a Virginia studies lesson, she role-played a woman coming from England to the New World to help students understand the advantages and disadvantages of going to Jamestown.

As a member of the car tag pick up team, she greets students daily with a large microphone and entertains them, their parents, and staff as they start their day. Just recently, she dressed as a traffic cone for Halloween and turned it into a Christmas tree for the holidays.

Shahriari collaborates with the general education teacher to modify plans and to co-teach during lessons. She utilizes specially designed instruction to meet students’ needs, as well as incorporating activities that will captivate her students’ attention.

She has formulated great relationships with her students and their families. She is known to always find time in her schedule to meet with students virtually if they are unable to be in class. She meets when it is convenient for parents, which is often outside of normal work hours. Many times, she will also deliver paperwork, school packets, and materials as a support.

Shahriari also cares about the well being of SWES students so much that she has created and implemented the SWES Breakfast Club. This club meets with specific students twice a week to refine their social and emotional skills, providing them with a toolkit they can use not only in school, but in the real world.

In essence, she is a valuable asset to Suffolk Public Schools. She has positively impacted all stakeholders. She consistently goes above and beyond. It is with great pride that SWES nominates her for this recognition.