Henrico Schools employs about 4,000 teachers, but only one is honored each year with the division’s Gilman Teacher of the Year Award. Greg Lyndaker, a history and psychology teacher at Henrico High School, was awarded that honor Tuesday at a ceremony at Glen Allen High School.
Amelia Kirchgessner, a music teacher at Chamberlayne Elementary School, was named HCPS’ First-Year Teacher of the Year. The school division’s Christie Award, given to the exceptional education teacher of the year, went to Sarah Gordon of Lakeside Elementary School.
Other finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award were Hermitage High School’s Emilia Texler; Deep Run High School’s Kareem Texler; Sharon Middleton of Skipwith Elementary School; and Chris Moseley of Varina High School. Finalists for First-Year Teacher of the Year were Nirali Jantrania of Deep Run High School and Ian Jeffrey of Gayton Elementary School. Finalists for the Christie Award were Gayton Elementary School’s Rebecca Nikitakis, Varina High School’s Michele Andrews and Mills Godwin High School’s Kendra Thomas.
“I’m honored and humbled to be the recipient of this award,” Lyndaker told the crowd of educators. “I come from a teaching family who instilled in me the idea that passion and education are the great equalizers. I wouldn’t be who I am without amazing teachers who inspired me and our students wouldn’t be who they are without your love, guidance and passion for them.
“You all give up so much of your energy, time, sweat and tears to this profession, not always knowing if it has paid off, and that can be very hard. But as Tom Hanks says in ‘A League of Their Own,’ it’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great … That’s what we do as teachers, we just keep pushing.”
Lyndaker is originally from Watertown, N.Y. He attended Utica College, and is an alumnus of the State University of New York College at Potsdam. Before joining the Henrico High School faculty in 2013, Lyndaker taught at a middle school in upstate New York and at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls.
Kirchgessner grew up in Henrico County, and graduated from Douglas Freeman High School. She also attended Tuckahoe Middle School and Maybeury Elementary School. After graduating from Longwood University, she worked as a long-term substitute teacher in several Virginia school divisions before joining the faculty at Chamberlayne.
Gordon grew up in Richmond and attended the Collegiate School. She is an alumna of the University of Richmond and Mary Washington University. Before joining Henrico Schools, she worked at Northstar Academy, a school for students with disabilities.