Richmond Times-Dispatch

Siblings who teach at RPS each win an R.E.B. Award

Prize provides money for travel to enrich educators’ learning

- BY KENYA HUNTER

Ridgely Carter-Minter was confused earlier this month when she went to drop off her son at her brother’s house and found their mother tidying up.

There was a chance, their mother said, that Gilbert Carter, a teacher at Franklin Military Academy, might have good news coming.

It was the season that prestigiou­s R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence were handed out, and his principal had been in touch. The prize, awarded to a select number of Richmond-area teachers annually since 1988, pays for teachers to travel around the world and bring what they learn back into the classroom.

Carter-Minter, a teacher at Woodville Elementary School, also had applied, but no one was cleaning her house. She was sure

she hadn’t been selected.

“I already mentally prepared myself to just be happy for my brother,” she said.

But a few hours later, the Richmond Public Schools superinten­dent, 7th District School Board member Cheryl Burke, and Principal Shannon Washington showed up at her door.

The siblings were among 18 winners and 13 finalists in the Richmond area who were cumulative­ly awarded $198,450 in grants. The grants range from $7,400 to $12,000, according to a news release from the R.E.B. Foundation and the Community Foundation, which are partners in the awards program. The finalists each receive $750.

Carter-Minter will go to Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, to work on a children’s book. Carter’s plans include traveling to Singapore and Atlanta to visit botanical gardens.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Carter said at his doorstep, flanked by his mother and his nephew, Carter-Minter’s son. “I was hopeful, I’m always trying to be hopeful, but I didn’t [think I was going to win].”

With his project, Carter hopes to build an outdoor classroom at Franklin Military where he can teach his students math. He was inspired by using his own garden to stay grounded during the pandemic.

“That’s been my passion. Over COVID, [gardening] is all I was doing,” he said.

Carter-Minter said she wants to teach students how to interpret idioms like “when pigs fly” or “it’s raining cats and dogs.” To do it, she wants to travel to Morocco and Spain to learn the origins of idioms.

“When you’re in kindergart­en, you learn your letters, and you learn your sounds, and you learn how to read. So in fourth and fifth grade, it’s kind of understood you’re supposed to be able to read past the words and be able to learn more figurative and a deeper meaning of text,” she said. “And that is really, really, really, really hard because half my children aren’t even reading on grade level.”

Carter-Minter plans to fashion the story around two children her own kids’ ages, traveling the world and learning idioms.

The siblings come from a family of educators and are alums of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, now Barack Obama Elementary. They’ve both won teacher-of-the-year awards at their schools.

Jonathan Metcalf, a history teacher at Franklin Military who works alongside Carter, also was selected for an R.E.B. Award. Principal David Hudson said they were excellent candidates and in good company. In each of the three years Hudson has been principal, at least one of his staff members has received the award.

Metcalf plans to bike in the Basque Country of Spain in hopes of learning about how history manifests itself in different cultures.

“They are highly qualified. They care, they love, they’re knowledgea­ble about curriculum,” Hudson said.

The fourth Richmond Public Schools teacher to win the award is Arianna Trickey, a teacher at Swansboro Elementary. She will travel to “better understand how endangered ecosystems across North America, and their inhabitant­s, adapt to environmen­tal changes.”

The R.E.B. Foundation has given out $4.2 million to more than 950 public school instructor­s for classroom performanc­e since 1988.

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