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WCPS educator completes successful first year teaching 4th graders; plans to move on



Alexis Stiles, who last August started her first year of teaching at the age of 19, this month successfully completed school year 2018-2019 for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) as a 4th grade teacher at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School.

Teacher Alexis Stiles says her time at Rhodes ES has been “such a wonderful ride.” Photo by Kim Riley

“My first full year of teaching has been such a wonderful ride,” Stiles told the Royal Examiner. “I have loved taking on the responsibility of my own classroom. I know some people had doubts in my capabilities of becoming a teacher at such a young age, but I think looking back on the year, it has gone really well.”

Her boss agrees.

“Miss Stiles had a successful first year of teaching,” said Lori Layman, principal at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School. “She consistently asked for and used feedback to help her grow. Her students enjoyed her class and learned so much from her this year.”

Even the higher-up boss concurs.

“I only heard good things about Miss Stiles so I would say she has been a successful first-year teacher,” said Greg Drescher, superintendent of WCPS.

Stiles, a Front Royal, VA, native who will turn 20 on Aug. 26, said she’s learned a few things this school year that she can share with other first-year teachers.

“My biggest advice to new teachers is it is okay for things to not work out as you planned,” she explained. “Things may not go the way you wanted them to, but that is what will make you stronger as a teacher.”

She said new teachers also should be flexible and learn to adapt. “No matter what, make sure you are putting your kids first.”

Stiles (left) gets students ready to work on their math. Photo by Kim Riley

Stiles works one-on-one with student Raegan Harris. Photo by Kim Riley

Stiles added that she’s also learned she has areas to improve upon. But that doesn’t faze her because she’s confident her strengths will grow as the years progress.

At the same time, Stiles also realized she couldn’t have had a great school year without support from Principal Layman and the fourth-grade teaching team, Faith Falkenstein and Rebecca Foerster.

“Being in a smaller school, Mrs. Layman has a lot on her plate, but despite that, she still always made time to answer all my questions and lend me a helping hand if I asked for one,” Stiles said. “I have loved working with my fourth-grade team this year as well. Mrs. Falkenstein and Ms. Foerster have been so supportive towards me which has made this school year such a pleasure.”
While taking on classroom duties, Stiles also continued coursework this past year toward her master’s degree in business administration. She plans to finish her college classes in November, as well as those needed to earn her professional teaching license.

“I have one class and three state tests left until turning my provisional license into a professional license,” she said. “Down the road, I plan to get my doctorate degree in leadership administration with a long-term goal of becoming a principal. I do plan to teach for several years to fully understand the field before I would like to move up.”

With an eye on eventually earning a principalship, Stiles acknowledged that she has taken a 4th-grade teaching position at Greenwood Mill Elementary School in Frederick County for the 2019-2020 school year.

“I have absolutely loved my time at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School as that was where I went to school as a kid, but I know moving the move early in my career is what is best for me,” Stiles said.

Her new school in Winchester, Va., also is closer to both her residence and East Coast Gymnastics and Cheer, where she holds a competitive coaching position.

Stiles (left), her students, and teaching assistant Samantha Morrison (right) welcome the end of the school year. Photo by Kim Riley

Students gather around Miss Stiles (center), who accepted a new teaching position in another school district for school year 2019-2020. Photo by Kim Riley

Despite Stiles’ departure from WCPS, Superintendent Drescher said the county does have a good retention rate for first-year teachers.

“Once a teacher gets four or five years of experience is when we typically start losing them to other school districts,” said Drescher.

Principal Layman said the Rhodes faculty and students are sad to see Stiles leave.

“We wish her the best at her new school and in her gymnastics coaching career,” said Layman. “Her enthusiasm, determination and kindness will always be remembered by her students and colleagues.”

New 19-year-old WCPS teacher takes on 4th grade at A.S. Rhodes

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2020 Front Royal Fireman’s Parade



Royal Examiner’s cameras were there… if you missed it or want to see it again, watch it here. – your source for LOCAL news and events!

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Community Events

‘Biggest yard sale in history’ promised this weekend at Front Royal’s animal shelter



Looking for a deal? Try the Julia Wagner Animal Shelter site on Progress Drive off Shenandoah Shores Road this weekend, July 17-18, 10-4 p.m. Management says they’re “bursting at the seams with treasures with, by far, the biggest yard sale collection in our history.”

Fussell Florist proprietor and council candidate Betty Showers at last week’s Yappy Hour Wagner Shelter fundraiser with the author’s dog, Diva. Royal Examiner Photo/Roger Bianchini

On Friday, July 17, you may top off your day at the yard sale with a visit to “Yappy Hour” at 124 Main Street. Bring your (well behaved!) dog, if you wish to the outside affair and help the owners of ViNoVa with their generous weekly contributions to the shelter from “Yappy Hour” sales from 6 to 8 p.m. Special “Yappy Hour” prices on food and beverages are offered, as is a 50/50 raffle run by the HSWC Board of Directors.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped shelter – fundraisers have been seriously curtailed since the virus pandemic began last March – has received a donation of $2,000 from an anonymous donor which will match all donations up to that amount made before July 31.

Earlier this week, about half that amount ($965) had been donated. The shelter will accept checks marked “match” and mailed to Humane Society of Warren County (HSWC), 1245 Progress Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630.

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Front Royal woman charged in assault of 2-year-old in her care



Candice L. McCartney. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail

On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, Candice L. McCartney, 28, of Front Royal, was charged with § 40.1-103 Cruelty and Injuries to Children and § 18.2-57.2 Assault and Battery Against a Family Member. The victim is a 2-year-old child who was in McCartney’s care when the alleged incident occurred. The alleged assault occurred in the 300 block of Ritenour Street on July 13, 2020. A forensic examination of the child was conducted by Winchester Medical Center for treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

McCartney was arrested without incident and transported to the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail where she went before the magistrate and was held on a secure bond. A court date for this offense is set for August 13, 2020, at 9:00 am, in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Further details regarding this matter cannot be released at this time due to the pending nature of the investigation.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with any further information is asked to contact Front Royal Police Detective M.R. Ramey at (540) 636-2208 or by email at

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Legislative Update

Cline to hold telephone Town Hall dedicated to issues facing seniors on July 16th



Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) announced that he will host a Telephone Town Hall dedicated to issues facing seniors and those approaching retirement. Cline will be joined on this call by Sharon Graham, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regional Administrator, and Sheriff Eric Orange, Roanoke County Sheriff.

The telephone town hall will take place Thursday, July 16, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Constituents planning to participate should register at or dial (855) 933-0825 during the time of the call.

“Seniors face a number of issues concerning healthcare, scams, and more that younger generations deal with far less frequently,” Cline said. “For this reason, I am excited to host a telephone town hall specifically geared toward older constituents in the Sixth District. This event will give me the opportunity to hear directly from seniors about the issues most important to them and allow me to provide updates and resources they may find particularly useful.”

This event will mark the fifth telephone town hall held by Congressman Cline since March.

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Local News

Community Foundation to award COVID relief grants



The Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley will be awarding new grants to agencies in our area that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants will come from a new Community Relief Fund at the CFNSV. This fund was started with a grant to the CFNSV from the Micron Opportunity Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.

Grant applications for this fund will be available from July 17, 2020, until July 27, 2020. All applications will be due by the deadline of 5:00 pm on July 27, 2020. Agencies who have already applied to the CFNSV for a 2020 grant from either the Cochran Family Fund or the Paul and Marta Rees Fund for a COVID related project or program do not need to reapply to be considered for a grant from this new fund.

Agencies wishing to view and apply for these grants can do so through the grant portal at our website, If your agency has not set up access to the CFNSV Grant Portal, please take some time to do so. The website is found here.

Feel free to contact the Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley (CFNSV) if you have any problems accessing your account.

For more information, contact Larry Weiss, CFNSV Executive Director at

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Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – July 14, 2020; calls for stronger enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines



Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:

  • increasing statewide cases
  • increase testing
  • on average, 10,000 tests administered daily statewide
  • the state should increase the enforcement of face coverings and social distancing
  • reminded business owners that they have the right to deny service to someone who is not following the mask mandate or social distancing guidelines
  • plan to impose an earlier cutoff for alcohol sales at restaurants is also being considered
  • state continues to receive shipments of personal protective equipment, and hospitals have reported no shortages
  • school boards and universities will continue to make decisions regarding this school year
  • update on the rent and mortgage relief program
  • DMV locations continue to reopen
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