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Rappahannock Community College faculty and staff win awards

Rappahannock Community College (RCC) announces the winners of the College’s IDEAL Award. Presented annually to a full-time instructional faculty member; a full-time classified staff, an administrative, or professional faculty member; a part-time wage employee; an adjunct faculty member; and a dual enrollment instructor, the award focuses on RCC’s values.


The award’s name comes from an acronym encompassing these values, including: Integrity; Diversity and inclusion; Excellence; Access; and Learning for life. Students, colleagues, community members, and anyone else have the opportunity to nominate an RCC employee for the award. “The judging committee had a difficult time choosing the winners,” said Dr. Shannon Kennedy, RCC President. “All of the nominees are deserving of the recognition and monetary award.”


Winners are:


  • Jim Beam, dual enrollment instructor for the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School located in Warsaw. “Mr. Beam is personable, approachable, collaborative and knowledgeable. He helps facilitate field experiences, even with the challenges associated with COVID; and coaches and supports students in their implementation of senior research projects,” said the person nominating Beam.


  • Valerie DeBrava, adjunct instructor in English. The student nominating Ms. DeBrava had this to say, “She opened our eyes to critical thinking and gave us insight on topics that I didn’t understand in high school. Some classes may not talk about Civil Rights [because] it does not really pertain to English…she incorporated that into class and didn’t make it feel awkward.”


  • Avis Fortune, part-time staff. Ms. Fortune received her Associate of Arts and Science for Business Administration from RCC the year in which she retired. However, she wasn’t finished with RCC and came out of retirement to work as the Fiscal Specialist in College Advancement for RCC’s Educational Foundation. “Her excellence in this role has resulted in consecutive clean annual audits for the Educational Foundation,” commented her nominator.


  • Richard Lewter, full-time staff, Facilities Manager. Mr. Lewter received two nominations. “Richard ALWAYS maintains a positive and helpful attitude. He does not get flustered by problems and instead chooses to find solutions. He will always cheerfully and professionally tackle a task regardless if it [is in his job description or not],” said one of the nominators. Another said this about Lewter, “Richard is an outstanding employee, an irreplaceable asset to the facilities team and makes a positive impact to the College as a whole. [He] has an impeccable knowledge of his job and an unmatched commitment to the College.”


  • Janet Little, full-time faculty, English. Ms. Little received four nominations. Some comments on her nominations include, “she is very understanding as well as very involved in her online class,” “Ms. Little is the best instructor I have ever had. She cares about her students and their thoughts…always very organized and thoroughly prepared,” “For starters, she is caring, understanding and always willing to help. From day one it has never taken long for a reply, extra direction when I don’t understand something or encouragement when I feel like I’m failing. She continuously asks for our opinions and never judges because of our viewpoint.”


The selection committee received 35 nominations this year. “I congratulate the winners, and those who were nominated,” said Kennedy. “Reading the comments about our wonderful employees makes me proud to be part of RCC.”

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