Educator of the Week: Vivian Headen | Virginia Cross Elementary

Posted 10/11/19

Chatham County Educator of the Week

Grades/subjects you teach: As an Instructional Assistant I am assigned to first, second, third and fourth grades teaching Math, Reading, Science and Social …

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Educator of the Week: Vivian Headen | Virginia Cross Elementary

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Chatham County Educator of the Week

Grades/subjects you teach: As an Instructional Assistant I am assigned to first, second, third and fourth grades teaching Math, Reading, Science and Social Studies. I also drive a school bus — two routes in the morning and afternoon.

E-mail address:

Date, place of birth: I was born at Chatham Hospital in Siler City on September 17, 1961.

Education (high school & college attended, degrees): I have a high school diploma that I received at Chatham Central and credit hours from Central Carolina Community College.

Brief work history: I began working in the cafeteria with Chatham County Schools in 1998. I took my classes at night to get the credit hours and be able to go into the classroom. In 2007, Virginia Cross opened and I was hired as an I.A. and I am still there.

Teaching honors/awards: I have received the Instructional Assistant of the Year award twice and the Bus Driver of the Year award several times.


Hobbies/interests outside teaching: I like working in my yard, going to antique stores and flea markets.


Family: I am blessed with a wonderful family, I have been married to my husband Mike for 28 years. I have two sons, Dwayne and Ethan, that I am very proud of. My daughter-in-law Jenna works at VCE with me. I have two adorable grandchildren, Ty and Leigh Ann. Seven years ago, my great-nieces Amelia and Zva came to live with us, so I have returned back to the life of homework and ball games.

On teaching:

What led you to a career as a teacher? Once (I was) in the cafeteria working and seeing the kids everyday, I fell in love with talking to and getting to know them. I wanted to be a part of teaching them and being a bigger part of their lives.

Who were your favorite teachers as you went through school, and what did you learn from them? My favorite teacher was Ms. Davis when I was in fourth grade. She always made me feel special.

Has becoming a teacher been all you expected it would be? Being in the classroom has enriched my life more than I could have ever imagined it would. It has also changed my outlook on a lot of decisions I make in my home life.

How has teaching changed since you were a student? I feel that teaching today lets the students express themselves in more and different ways than when I was in school.

What “makes your day” as a teacher? Nothing makes me happier in the classroom than when you see “ that expression” on a child’s face and then they say “I got it” when I am teaching.

What’s working in schools today? We have highly qualified teachers in our classrooms that want to be there and they care about the students they are teaching. They are taking the students’ education personally.

What’s not working? There are so many aspects that go into education I don’t feel that I am qualified to answer this question.

What’s your favorite memory of your first year as a teacher? My favorite memory of my first year in the classroom was watching Heidi Hayes teach. She was the first grade teacher that I was assigned to. When she taught it looked so easy. She was and still is a natural. The kids and I learned so much from her.

Best piece of advice for other teachers? My advice for teachers would be believe that you truly are making a difference in your students’ lives and the world.

For students? My advice for students would be no matter what goes on in your life, remember that your teachers believe in you. They are there to help you make and reach your goals.


For parents? My advice for parents, be the best role model you can be for your child. Believe in your child, love, support, have conversations with and hug your child daily! They will be ready to come to school and be successful!

If you were superintendent for a day, you’d: I really don’t have a clue what I would do if I were the superintendent for a day. I admire Dr. Jordan and his dedication to Chatham County Schools.

What about your job would surprise your non-teaching friends the most? My non-teaching friends would be surprised to know how much I really do love my school. That includes all students and staff.

If you could somehow magically instill one truth into the heads of your students, what would it be? The one truth I would like to instill in the heads of our students would be that they can be successful in anything.

When you think about today’s kids, you: When thinking about kids today, I think about all the opportunities they have for success.


If one of your students was asked for a one-word description of you by a student who hadn’t had you in class, what would that one word be? I hope that word would be caring.

What five things must every teacher know? Every teacher must have a lot of patience. Every student can be successful. Every teacher can make a difference to each child. Every teacher needs to be confident in their teaching. Every teacher needs to be flexible.

What’s special about your classroom? I am in several classrooms. They are open and inviting to the students.

What’s special about your school? Unity! Our staff, students, parents and community work as a whole for the good of our school.

Most unusual question you’ve ever gotten from a student? One student wanted to know when I was going to get WiFi on my bus so he could bring his tablet to school.


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