Winning HCPL

Henrico County Public Library was honored with the Innovation in Government Award for the first-of-their-kind Computer Work and Play Stations at Fairfield Library as part of the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government’s 16th Annual Excellence in Virginia Government Awards. These awards recognize “Virginians who have made noteworthy contributions to the practice of government and the welfare of our communities and citizens,” according to the Wilder School.

During the community design meetings for the new Fairfield Area Library, which opened in 2019, residents emphasized a desire for the building to support children and families learning. At the same time, Library Director Barbara Weedman had conceptualized Computer Work and Play stations based on her experiences working as a public librarian and being a single mom. Working with the architect’s designer, Shannon Wray of Quinn Evans, Weedman shared her idea for creating a computer desk for adults featuring an adjacent enclosure for little ones to rest and play while the caregiver could do computer work beside them. The designer worked with TMC Furniture to create a custom furniture solution to bring Weedman’s idea to life and help meet the expressed community need for family learning support. 

Computer Work and Play Stations debuted on opening day at Fairfield Library. In January 2022, Ali Faruk of Families Forward Virginia tweeted a photo of the workstations, which went viral on social media and garnered national and international news media attention. The design resonated with parents, especially those who struggled to balance childcare demands with work during the pandemic. The workstations are not a substitute for childcare but make it so that caregivers do not need to arrange childcare in order to use computers at the library. HCPL’s Computer Work and Play Stations have been covered in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, Buzzfeed, Curbed, Good Morning America, Insider, The Irish Times, Italian Vogue, and most recently, The Drew Barrymore Show.

On April 11, 2023, HCPL Director Barbara Weedman and Community Relations Coordinator Patty Conway accepted the award from VCU on behalf of HCPL. Governor L. Douglas Wilder hosted the event alongside VCU President Michael Rao and Dean of the Wilder School, Dr. Susan Gooden. Governor Glenn Youngkin addressed the crowd and praised the awardees for “serving with love.” The library was well supported by the attendance of Henrico County leaders. HCPL would like to express its gratitude to our county leadership, as we understand that their strong support, and the support of our community, created an environment ripe for this innovation. This award honors all county residents and employees who contribute to our strong public services in Henrico.

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Celebrating your Service

At Henrico County, we are proud of our vibrant and diverse workforce. Our employees share a sense of purpose as they serve our citizens and make a difference in their lives. One way that we celebrate our employees is to recognize their years of service to our County.

Employees celebrating their first anniversary receive a note from the County Manager thanking them for their service and an invitation to a small meet and greet reception where they can discuss how their first year has gone.

Employees celebrating five or more years of service are recognized with a Service Award. These awards are presented in five-year increments (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc.), and recipients receive a letter from the County Manager congratulating them on their years of service on the month of their anniversary. They are also given a certificate at our bi-annual Service Award Ceremonies typically held in February and September. Employees whose anniversaries fall between January and June are honored at the ceremony in September, and July through December anniversaries are recognized at the February ceremony the following year. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we have not been able to celebrate at an in-person ceremony since February 2020, but we are hopeful we will come back together soon.

Employees celebrating 35 years or more with the County are invited to a special breakfast in the County Manager’s Office. There, they can fellowship with him and he personally thanks them for all their years of service with Henrico County.

Each year, one employee is honored with a special award, named for Henrico’s longest-tenured (now retired) employee, Elvin R. Cosby. His years of service to the County were quite a testament to dedication, service, and work ethic. In his honor, we recognize at each service award ceremony the employee with the most longstanding total years of service that day — down to the exact year, month, and day — and present that employee with the Elvin R. Cosby Award. Since its inception, 12 employees have been recognized, five of whom still work with Henrico County. 

 We are proud of all of our employees and the culture of dedicated service we all share. We could not achieve the Henrico Way without all of you!

Shirley Carney receiving the Elvin R. Cosby Award in February 2019


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2021 NACo Achievement Awards

Since 1985, Henrico County has won 718 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards. These awards are given to counties throughout the country to recognize innovative county government initiatives in 18 different service categories. It was recently announced that this year Henrico County earned 38 honors; the most we have won in a single year since 1999. “The NACo Achievement Awards reflect the commitment to excellence and outstanding customer service that employees of Henrico County and Henrico County Public Schools demonstrate to our community every day,” County Manager John Vithoulkas said. “But the sheer number of awards this year is particularly gratifying, because it highlights many of the innovative and creative programs and services that were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the needs of our community were greatest, our employees took on every challenge.”

Not only does 38 awards mean we received the most of any county in Virginia for the sixteenth consecutive year, but we also tied to rank sixth nationally for the highest number of awards this year. What is more impressive is that these awards are the work of seven general government departments and Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS). Of the five awards won by the Division of Fire, many included increased communication and collaboration with other departments to proportionally appropriate personnel and resources. Henrico County Libraries won four awards including their Journaling Workshop Partnership with Henrico Prevention Services’ Connect department to help build literacy skills for Henrico youth. HCPS won an amazing 23 awards for programs that allowed them to enroll students virtually, prepare students and their families for online learning, and digitally provide tools to successfully educate throughout the year. The HCPS Office of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity also had multiple programs to start specific conversations and address the issues of social unrest, equity and inclusivity in schools.

Henrico County is committed to partnering with our community to provide the best service possible to our citizens.  Programs like those recognized by these NACo awards are a key part of The Henrico Way.  It is only because of the efforts of our employees – all of you – that these programs happen.  Thank you for all you do!


Please see below for a complete list of winning programs and departments:

Henrico Police Division

Critical Incident Response/Peer Support Team

HPD developed a program designed to supplement existing mental health programs at the peer level for Division personnel. The Division formalized the Critical Incident Response/Peer Support Team (CIR/PST) which provides resources, information, education, and support to Division members involved in critical incidents.


Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services

REVIVE: Sustaining a Life Saving Program during the Pandemic

In 2020, Henrico experienced a 58% increase in heroin and opioid overdoses. HAMHDS leveraged partnerships and technology to develop a strategy to continue providing REVIVE trainings during the pandemic to widen distribution and access to Naloxone.


Henrico County Economic Development Authority

EDA Webinar Series

When the pandemic hit, EDA immediately contacted nearly 2,000 county businesses to showcase Henrico to potential businesses. Each webinar included topics such as reopening, promoting site selection and business leaders, and potential business owners.


Human Resources Department

Supporting Employees’ Development Remotely during Challenging Times

Disruptive and sudden change, like the sweeping transformations caused by COVID-19, can – and did – result in a sense of shock, fear, and anxiety. HR’s Organizational Learning and Talent Development launched a YouTube channel with videos designed to help employees through the pandemic’s stressors while training them in core areas.


Henrico Division of Fire

Alternative Response Units

The Alternative Response Unit model was created to quickly respond to low-risk COVID-19 patients and minimize the use of advanced life support ambulances in order to keep them available for life-threatening emergencies.


Communications Fire Officer Program

This program utilizes Paramedic Fire Officers to ask in-depth questions to citizens and thus make more informed decisions. This program allowed the Division to scale resources when appropriate and directly aided in maintaining a healthy workforce while minimizing PPE usage.


Communications RN Model

In an innovative format, the Division deployed an exciting new model of triaging patient acuity by utilizing Henrico County Public School nurses in conjunction with Paramedic Fire Officers to match risk with response while meeting the needs of the community and balancing risk to firefighters.


Long Term Care Facilities

This program created a multi-agency-focused response to the rapid development of COVID-19 within the nearly 75 Long Term Care facilities in Henrico, to develop a strategic plan, assessments, resources, and training for personnel. 

Survive your 25!

Survive your 25 is an innovative visual approach to spreading awareness about one of the biggest threats to firefighters: cancer. Survive your 25 presents the specific risks, data, and ways to mitigate the risks.


Henrico County Public Libraries

Title Talk

Staff at HCPL developed a series of open-ended book discussion groups called Title Talk, in which library book discussion leaders and attendees could share recommended titles, critique recent reads, and pursue their reading interests in a virtual group conversation. 


Tween Services at Fairfield Library

HCPL took a holistic approach to implement Tween Services at the Fairfield Area Library by hosting Tween programming, creating interactive displays, and providing on-site reference services. The transitional time between childhood and teenage years can be challenging, and these inclusive innovations increased engagement for library users ages nine to 12.


Outreach Call Center

The Outreach Call Center was designed to provide scheduled outreach phone calls to older residents to reduce social isolation and connect them with services during the pandemic.  Library staff with existing customer-service expertise were reassigned to provide dozens of older adults over 1,300 friendly phone calls. 


Journaling Workshop Partnership

HCPL’s Outreach team partnered with Henrico Prevention Services’ Connect department virtual summer camp program to provide journaling workshops aimed at building literacy skills for youth living in subsidized housing communities. 


Division of Recreation and Parks

Soulful Sunday: Celebrating African American Heritage

This program was designed and implemented with the desire to share the triumphs and tragedies of African American life and celebrate the authentic traditions of the Black community through art, music, food, religion, education, and the convictions of hope, determination, and courage.


Aquatic Center Partnership

Henrico County entered into a public/private partnership with the YMCA of Greater Richmond to provide residents in the county access to swim lessons, water fitness classes, and recreational swimming use. The Frank J. Thornton YMCA Aquatic Center is a milestone in Henrico’s effort to make the county drown-proof while partnering with HCPS students for swim lessons and high school swim teams.


Henrico County Public Schools

Bank Partnership Leads Charge in Student Career Prep

HCPS Career and Technical Education programs focus on preparing students for future success in post-secondary education and work. In efforts to support students, HCPS partnered with Bank of America to conduct virtual workshops on resume-building and interview techniques.


CTE Career Rodeo

HCPS endeavors to prepare students to be successful, contributing citizens. The CTE Career Rodeo program helped students showcase their skills, interact, and interview for potential employers. The partnership of the Department of Workforce and Career Development designed a program in which employers could observe the CTE students in action.

CTE Helps Solve the PPE Shortage

Henrico County medical facilities had a challenge providing personal protective equipment early in the pandemic. The Career and Technical Education teachers were able to collaborate on a design, prototype, and then manufacture over 650 face shields to help offset local supply constraints of PPE.


Graphics Program Leads Effort to Reopen Government and Schools

HCPS graphic communications program used print industry-standard equipment to help the school division and county government create the necessary signage for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. This included considerations for everything from social distancing practices to awareness of proper hygiene protocols.


Live on Location: Exploring Careers During a Pandemic

Middle and high school students interested in exploring different careers had the opportunity to speak virtually with professionals in various fields through “Live on Location” events streamed from a place of business or field location.


Nursing Students Act Locally to Combat Global Pandemic

St. Mary’s Hospital and HCPS have cosponsored a school of practical nursing, which prepares nurses to provide safe, effective and culturally competent nursing care. Henrico County-St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing collaborated with Bon Secours Mercy Health System in the rollout and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers at Bon Secours Mercy Health Systems in Richmond and surrounding areas.


Racing to Graduate: Graduation Victory Lap

As the 2020 school year approached its end, a traditional graduation was not possible. HCPS leaders partnered with Richmond Raceway to create a one-of-a-kind in-person graduation experience that involved taking a victory lap around the complex in their decorated vehicles.


Student-Built Classroom: If You Build it, They Will Come

The Television Production class at Douglas S. Freeman High School struggled to find classroom space during the class time frame. Two HCPS high school centers collaborated to create a solution and reconfigure an existing room to address overcrowding.


Students Help Preserve 125-Year-Old County Artifact

The restoration of the Corey fire hydrant was a way to preserve a small part of Henrico County’s history. The work was led by a county employee willing to donate his time and talents, along with students enrolled in the STEM precision machining program at the Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage High School.


Symposium Puts Students at Heart of Fashion Industry

The Fashion Symposium was a collaboration between HCPS marketing education and family and consumer sciences programs to expose high school students to the fashion industry, which included photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, modeling professionals and professionals from the design world.


Watershed Challenge

The Watershed challenge was a way to get students outdoors to explore the environment, think critically, discover issues, and research, find and implement solutions. Students were unable to participate in in-person investigations and this virtual option took positive action toward improving the watershed and pivoting and engaging students in environmental stewardship. 



Culture of Dignity and Responsive Action Plan

The Department of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity developed this plan to address issues of social unrest that affected the well-being and needs of staff. The plan includes affinity groups (collectives), book study and discussions, and an “Ensuring Equity” series of online learning courses in alignment with the Culturally Responsive Education Model (CREM) framework.


Equity Ambassadors

The HCPS Office of Equity, Diversity and Opportunity designed a divisionwide program for high school students that amplifies student voices by engaging and educating them on issues of equity and inclusivity. This year the program focused on empowering students to build bridges toward belonging, inclusion and respect for those within their schools and the greater community.


Language Navigators

This program was created to provide much-needed access to vital school information for Henrico’s immigrant communities. Students divided into 24 groups according to language and collaborated to create and post videos explaining announcements and important details families need to support their children’s education.


Progress Through Community Conversations

The HCPS Family and Community Engagement Department introduced the first of five planned “Community Conversations”. These series were created in response to a need to provide spaces for Black voices in Henrico County and to discuss ongoing and needed progress to ensure safety and equity for all students, staff and families.


Modified Circulation System Gets Books Into Students’ Hands

Research confirms the importance of reading and literacy with preferred physical books. For safe collection handling practices for circulating library materials, HCPS Library Services created a new circulation model to distribute books and other library materials through remote checkout and drive-through pickup.


HCPS University

This platform was designed to meet the ongoing and individualized professional learning needs of staff throughout the school division. In an effort to support both on-demand and collaborative learning opportunities, HCPS U provides a myriad of synchronous and asynchronous robust and high-quality training workshops led by teacher and school division leaders.


Parallel Hybrid Instruction

Parallel hybrid learning occurs when a teacher simultaneously instructs some students in person and some remotely. To do this successfully, HCPS Department of Professional Learning and Leadership established a working committee to address three programmatic goals (website, pilot program testing, and synchronous and asynchronous training sessions).


Edflix Virtual Learning Experience

“Henrico Edflix” inspired by the popular Netflix platform, was a means to provide teachers, students, families, and community members on-demand access to virtual learning opportunities such as “choice boards,” authentic assessments, teacher video segments, technical support, and family engagement sessions.


Help Chats for Virtual Learning

Sept. 8, 2020 may have been the most crucial first day of school in the history of HCPS. To strengthen their resolve, “Virtual Learning Help Chats” was created to support families with every aspect of technology from logging in; learning; prerecorded videos; step-by-step instructions; and live question-and-answer sessions.


Creating Courses to Support Online Learning

“My Schoology Classroom” professional learning series was created to ensure that all students, families, teachers, and administrators had the knowledge and skills to be virtually successful for the 2020-21 school year. This widespread access enabled its use for successful teaching and learning.


Virtual Classroom

The Virtual Classroom project focused on the process to evaluate and implement a videoconferencing tool that enabled HCPS to support a seamless transition of teaching and learning from a physical in-person classroom to a virtual platform in a safe and secure environment.


Creating a School Online Enrollment System

HCPS created an online enrollment system to enroll students safely and effectively at a time when in-person enrollment was not an option. As of mid-January 2021, HCPS had collected and processed approximately 2,550 enrollments and 1,800 re-enrollments.

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Congratulations to All of Our NACo Award Winners!

50 years ago, the National Association of Counties (NACo) began a rewards program to recognize innovative county government programs. This year, Henrico County Public Schools and general government departments won a combined 25 awards. This is the most of any county in Virginia (for the 15th straight year), and the seventh-highest number of awards nationally. While the awards were announced in the Spring, the certificates were recently handed out at the Board of Supervisors meetings on September 22.  

County Manager John A. Vithoulkas remarked that “These awards are well-deserved and shine a light on the outstanding work that employees of Henrico County and Henrico County Public Schools do every day for our community… But these award-winning programs reveal more than a county workforce focused on excellence and customer service. They also show our commitment to serving with compassion and heart, to leading and innovating and to building a community that’s vibrant, engaging, and welcoming to all.”

Some of the highlights of these programs include REVIVE! Training by Mental Health & Developmental Services (MH/DS). This is a free class on how to administer naloxone to potentially save the life of someone who has overdosed on opioids. MH/DS was also acknowledged for their Youth Leadership Development Program in which middle and high school students plan and implement prevention strategies and community service. Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) received recognition for their Trailblazers Wall at the Fairfield Area Library that showcases biographies of individuals whose lives and work had major impacts on the county, the state, and the nation. Finally, the Henrico County Human Resources Department received a NACo award for their Emerging Leaders Certificate Program (ELCP). This program provides non-supervisory employees with the framework, tools, and learning experiences to strengthen their leadership skills, self-awareness, and initiative to deliver customer service The Henrico Way.

Below is a complete list of winning programs and departments.

  • A No-Cost Camp Expands Access to Robotics, Engineering and Coding, HCPS
  • Leading and Mentoring the Future, HCPS
  • Queens United, HCPS
  • What’s Christmas Without Toys?, HCPS
  • CTE NOW: Podcast Explores, Promotes Career and Technical Education, HCPS
  • #LifeReady Expo, HCPS
  • Building the Future, Brick by Brick, HCPS
  • VARP Helps Students See Careers From the Top Down, HCPS
  • Who Kept the Dogs In?, HCPS
  • Creating a Culture of Life-Ready Learners, HCPS
  • Pooling Resources: Swimming Partnership Makes a Community Safer, HCPS
  • Making Professional Development Meaningful for Assistant Principals, HCPS
  • Cosmetology Advisory Council Leads Way to Mentorship Program, HCPS
  • Advanced Digital Literacy Skill Building at the Library, Henrico County Public Library (HCPL)
  • LGBTQIA+ Book Group, HCPL
  • Multilingual Storytimes, HCPL
  • Trailblazers Wall: Community History at the Library, HCPL
  • Youth Leadership Program, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services
  • Office Based Opiate Treatment Program (OBOT) — Whole Person Treatment, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services
  • REVIVE! Training, Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services
  • Emerging Leaders: Professional Development for Non-Supervisors, Human Resources
  • A Double Win: Changing Lives Through Second Chances, Human Resources
  • Savings and Sustainability with Solar Renewable Energy, General Services
  • Threat Assessment, Police Division
  • My County Academy: One County, One Community, Public Relations


Congratulations to all the winners on the very successful programs!


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