THCTT Principal Receives Leadership Award

THCTT Principal Receives Leadership Award
Posted on 04/14/2022
Justin RoerinkJustin Roerink, the principal at The Hanover Center for Trades and Technology (THCTT), is the Hanover County Public Schools winner of the 2021-22 R.E.B. Award for Distinguished Educational Leadership by The Community Foundation. As a recipient, Roerink will receive a $30,000 grant - a $10,000 unrestricted cash grant and $20,000 to be used to build a greenhouse at The Hanover Center, developing a farm-to-table concept for the school’s culinary program that will pave the way for many learning opportunities for students in the program and beyond.

One principal from each school division in the counties of Hanover, Henrico, and Chesterfield, as well as the City of Richmond, receives the award annually. It serves to recognize principals who “go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment.” The school community and the public submit the nominations.

“I am very humbled and honored to be the recipient of this recognition. I have served at The Hanover Center for 12 years and to me, this is a recognition of the incredible faculty, staff, and administration for all the team has done over the years to strive to prepare every student, every day for future success,” said Roerink, who also serves as the Coordinator of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development for the school division. “It is also a recognition of our fantastic students and families who have been involved in our programs over the years. In addition, we have had tremendous support from our business partners who have been critical to the successes of our programs through curriculum input, guest speaking opportunities, and work-based learning opportunities for our students.”

He added: “We have also had phenomenal support from Dr. Gill, Senior Staff, Central Office staff, our School Board, and Board of Supervisors. I am very blessed to serve with fantastic people who work tirelessly to create real-world, hands-on experiences for our students so students are prepared to succeed in their future careers.”

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, surprised Roerink with the news of his recognition during a meeting with principals from across the school division.

“Mr. Roerink is an innovative leader whose passion for career and technical education is evident in the relevant and engaging instruction that students receive at The Hanover Center,” Gill said. “This is a well-deserved recognition, and we are fortunate to have educators like Mr. Roerink working to ensure all of our students are life-ready, productive, and responsible citizens who enrich the communities they serve.”

Roerink, a Florida State University and Old Dominion University alumnus, said his favorite part of being a principal is seeing students learning and working on hands-on projects while preparing for their future careers.

“It is wonderful when you see students find their purpose and truly begin to see the connection to what they want to do in their careers. I also love seeing our students gain jobs in the industry related to their course while they are still in school,” said Roerink. “Our students are getting real-world experience at The Hanover Center that is preparing them for successful entry into post-secondary education and career opportunities.”

Students will gain even more real-world experience with the development of the greenhouse, a project aimed at giving culinary students the opportunity to grow vegetables and herbs in their coursework. The greenhouse, Roerink said, will give students a greater understanding of where their food comes from and sustainability in the food service industry.

Additionally, Roerink, who has spent 12 of his 16 years in education in Hanover, envisions partnerships through the greenhouse with neighboring farms, school-based agriculture programs, and more.

“When the greenhouse is in place, our plan is to have the Hanover High School agriculture teachers and students come over to The Hanover Center in order to provide training for our culinary teachers and students on how to grow and care for the vegetables and herbs in our greenhouse,” Roerink said. “Our culinary students will show the agriculture students how to prepare the vegetables and herbs in simple recipes.”

Students from nearby Kersey Creek Elementary School - and, eventually, other elementary schools - also will come to The Hanover Center to tour the greenhouse and take part in a lesson from culinary students regarding where vegetables and herbs come from, how they are grown, and what food they eat that use the ingredients

Roerink plans to also explore having carpentry, electrical, and HVAC students at THCTT involved in the construction of the greenhouse.
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