November 6, 2013
Faces of Fauquier: She sees every child’s potential
“Children are like a puzzle and you have to learn how to help them,” Janie Todd says. “I love that challenge and I love to help other teachers.”
Fauquier County gives you a chance to find your place in life. Fauquier County is like a big hug. You are going to be accepted, even if it takes awhile, but you will find a great place to share your ideas and be heard. That’s what makes this county unique.
Janie Todd lives and breathes teaching. Inspired by her mother, who taught for 45 years, Ms. Todd knew from a young age she wanted to educate children.
She teaches differentiation remediation at Remington’s M.M. Pierce Elementary School, helping students who struggle with different classes.
“Children are like a puzzle and you have to learn how to help them. I love that challenge and I love to help other teachers. Children deserve the gift of a fair chance with their education,” she said.
Ms. Todd radiates a warm and loving character with more than 35 years of teaching experience.
Among the highlights of her career, she helped found Warrenton Baptist Tiny Tots Daycare and Preschool.
“Fauquier County gives you a chance to find your place in life,” she explained. “Fauquier County is like a big hug. You are going to be accepted, even if it takes awhile, but you will find a great place to share your ideas and be heard. That’s what makes this county unique.”
Differentiation remediation teacher for nine years at M.M. Pierce Elementary School in Remington. Uses different teaching strategies with the students, teachers and parents to help children succeed in subjects with which they struggle. She helps them through different teaching styles, organizational skills and more, in small groups. She helped found Warrenton Baptist Tiny Tots Daycare and Preschool in 1984. Second-grade teacher on the opening staff at Mary Walter Elementary School near Morrisville in 1980.
• Why you do the job?
I always knew I wanted to teach. I grew up listening to my mom tell wonderful stories about her classroom. My mom was a teacher for 45 years, mostly first grade, and she started in the Appalachian Mountains and then taught in Fairfax County. She was my biggest role model. My own children will tell you that I live and breath teaching. It’s extremely important to make students believe in themselves and it’s OK to take them out of their safety box and help them realize they can go farther than they think they can.
My daughter, Amy Snyder, who teaches in Stafford; her husband, Al, and my 2-year-old granddaughter, Abbey. My other daughter, Maggie Todd, is a junior at Shenandoah University.
Bachelor's of science in early childhood education from Carson-Newman University in Tennessee, 1977. Master’s degree in elementary education with an emphasis in curriculum, from George Mason University, 1982. I have also taken several classes from the University of Virginia, Shenandoah University, James Madison University, and others.
• Civic and/or church involvement
Warrenton Baptist Church member. On the weekday, early education board for Warrenton Baptist Tiny Tots Daycare and Preschool.
• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Since 1978. It’s home to me. I grew up in Falls Church. Fauquier County public schools have been wonderful for me, and my daughters can name many teachers who had an impact on them. We offer a lot to our students, many personal touches that many other school systems cannot because of their size.
• Why do you live here?
Both of my parents came from small towns and I have always been a part of a small town. It gives your child the opportunity to be known. There is warmth and caring in this town that gives you a feeling you are wanted and needed. Fauquier County gives you a chance to find your place in life.
• How do you describe this county?
I think we are a very diverse as far as farmland, but we are growing and providing more opportunities for individuals. Fauquier County is like a big hug. You are going to be accepted, even if it takes awhile, but you will find a great place to share your ideas and be heard. That’s what makes this county unique.
• What would you change about Fauquier?
I would love to see more extracurricular activities for our children — where there are opportunities to stay in the county and build relationships. A movie theatre, maybe putt-putt golf — things you can do as a family and build relationships. I would love to see more affordable housing, especially for our younger teachers so we can keep them.
• What do you do for fun?
I spend time with my extended family and my kids. I love to antique and go to the mountains.
• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Claire’s at the Depot Restaurant. I love the relaxed atmosphere and looking out into her garden. I love the whole history of the building itself.
• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
I definitely think the world of teaching will change us and schools will look different. I hope we hold on to some of the old and embrace the new.
I hope there is more affordable housing. I hope we can keep our small town atmosphere because all of our little towns embrace us. It’s something you won’t find in Northern Virginia or Richmond. We have so many quaint spots in our county.
• Favorite TV show?
“I Love Lucy.” I love Lucille Ball’s humor and the wholesomeness of the show.
• Favorite Movie?
“Driving Miss Daisy.” I love her spunk.
• Favorite book?
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.
• Favorite vacation spot?
The Blue Ridge Mountains.
• Favorite food?
A good, grilled steak.
• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
“Every child you teach belongs to someone.” My mom taught me that. I would extend that to the 21st century and say sometimes teachers may be the only person in a child’s life who they can talk to. When I walk into the school, I become the advocate for teachers and students. One time a little boy wrote me a note on a crumpled piece of paper that said, “Thank you for giving me a chance.” That has been one of my defining moments.
• Who’s your hero and why?
Both of my parents are my heroes. My dad was the type of person who made you believe in yourself. Both taught me empathy and how to get along with people. They would always say your positions in life are important, but they don’t make you who you are. Who you are is given to you long before a title is given to you.
• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
I would buy my children homes and pay off my house. Give some to Warrenton Baptist Tiny Tots, because that has been a huge part of my life and my children’s lives. Do some vacationing and create scholarships for kids who want to work with children. Then, I would put the rest in a trust fund for my grandchildren so they can pursue their careers.
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• She sees the community’s generosity.
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• Pastor a constant in Calverton.
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