Señora Hand embarks on a new chapter of her life

Jessica Wen, Co-Editor in Chief

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After 31 years of dedicated teaching and investment into students’ lives, Señora Lisa Hand will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Prior to starting at Deep Run in 2004, Señora Hand taught at Hopewell High School for 12 years and then Hermitage High School for four years. Since graduating from VCU in 1988, Señora Hand has been teaching high school Spanish.

Even though she made it her life career to work with students to improve their Spanish speaking and writing abilities, her decision to do so was not made until college.

“I originally thought that I wanted to be a tour guide to Spanish-speaking countries, but while in college, my adviser suggested that I have something to fall back on in case I grew tired of traveling or wanted to settled down,” Señora Hand said.

Therefore, she switched to a double major that included education, which required her to spend a semester as a student teacher. During that experience, she fell in love with teaching and decided to pursue that career after graduation.

Over her teaching career, Señora Hand taught all levels of Spanish; however, at Deep Run, she taught levels three, four, and AP. At those different levels, she created and executed several unique lesson plans in order to hopefully inspire an interest in the language in her students.

“Some of my favorite lessons were ones where the students were able to make connections between what we were doing in class and the real world,” Señora Hand said.

One activity that she specifically enjoyed was when her class did a unit on human rights. Her AP students read the book Antes de Ser Libres and watched the film In the Time of the Butterflies. The author of the novel, Julia Alvarez, was also the featured author of All Henrico Reads that year, so students were able to meet her and ask questions that were discussed in class.

Señora Hand also helped her students achieve a more intimate experience of the Hispanic culture.

“I was also fortunate to be able to share my passion for Spanish culture by traveling with students to Spain for a summer immersion program. What a thrill (and once in a lifetime experience) it was to actually be in Spain when they won the World Cup!” Señora Hand said.

In addition to being a teacher, Señora Hand was also the World Language Department Leader in her first 12 years at the school.

In 2013, the Spanish teacher earned her National Board Certification, which she calls one of her proudest accomplishments.

“I believe that it was through that process of reflection where I was able to make the biggest impact on students,” Señora Hand said.

Señora Hand was not just a teacher, however. She also coached three sports: cheerleading, field hockey, and softball. When she came to Henrico County in 2000, she stopped coaching because she went back to school to earn her Master’s Degree in Health and Movement Sciences.

“I have always had a passion for fitness and exercise and spend a lot of my free time watching or participating in sports,” Señora Hand said.

Señora Hand played softball at VCU and has completed numerous races, including half-marathons, sprint triathlons, and a Spartan Obstacle Race. She enjoys cycling, working out at the gym, and playing golf, activities she plans to continue after retirement.

After a long career of impacting her students and achieving long-time goals, Señora Hand decided it was time for her to enter the next stage of her life. As of now, she does not have any specific or immediate plans after retirement.

“I haven’t allowed myself to think about it because I was intent on finishing the year (and finishing it well) first. I believe my students deserve that,” Señora Hand said.

As she finished up the school year, the Spanish teacher said that she will miss collaborating with other teachers to develop engaging lessons.

“The faculty and staff have been part of my extended family, and I will miss calling Deep Run “home,”’ Señora Hand said.

Señora Hand is excited for the rest of the year and for the steps that lay beyond it.