Heidi Trude ’07, a French teacher at Skyline High School in Front Royal, Va., is among just 10 educators nationwide to participate in the 2016 American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) Future Leaders program in Austin, Texas. The event takes place June 30-July 7.
“When I first learned about the program in September, I thought it sounded like a wonderful opportunity for me,” says Trude, who graduated from Sweet Briar nine years ago with a B.A. in French and history. She went on to earn her M.Ed. from the University of Mary Washington in 2009.
“The AATF Virginia chapter supported my application and sent it on to national. When I received the email announcing I was selected, I was speechless — something that is rare for me. I am so blessed and honored to represent my school system, Warren County Public Schools, and the state of Virginia.”
The program will cover a variety of topics, including officer duties and financial responsibilities, and the relationship between chapters and the national office. Leadership, membership development and recruitment efforts also will be addressed. In addition, fellows will attend the AATF National Convention and have the opportunity to learn and network with other French teachers around the U.S.
“I know I am going to learn leadership skills that will not only help me in my teaching career, but also in life,” Trude said. “I cannot thank my Sweet Briar professors enough for always encouraging me and helping me to reach my potential.”
Trude still remembers how shy and quiet she was as a first-year at Sweet Briar — but not for long.
“Over my four years at Sweet Briar, I became a strong, confident young woman who had found her voice and knew not only who she was as a person, but what she was capable of accomplishing. … I absolutely loved my time at Sweet Briar.”
In keeping with Sweet Briar tradition, Trude became involved in many different activities. She was a Sweet Spirit and a member of the Campus Christian Fellowship, as well as the French Club, serving as its president for two years. She also served as class secretary, on the Student Government Association and the Academic Affairs committee, sang in the choir, worked as a tutor in the Academic Resource Center, as an admissions tour guide, and as a research assistant and tutor for the history department. In addition, she was inducted into the French honor society Pi Delta Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa, and completed the Leadership Certificate Program.
It’s no surprise that Sweet Briar continues to play a big part in her life. Trude is one of about 400 alumnae admissions representatives, and a member of her class’ annual giving committee. She also serves on the Class Acts committee of the Alumnae Alliance, has led the group’s Technology and Social Media group, and is active in the Hunt Country Alumnae Club.
“The experiences and interactions I had with my [Sweet Briar] professors were amazing,” Trude says. “These individuals — Angelo Metzidakis, Marie-Therese Killiam, Lynn Laufenberg — became my mentors and truly pushed me to reach my potential at SBC, as well as in my current job. I know I would not be where I am today without the education I received at Sweet Briar.”
And in many ways, Trude is passing that enthusiasm and drive on to her students.
“I always look for the best in my students, [and] I like to incorporate active learning and differentiated instruction,” says the Google Certified Educator who has collected many honors over the last few years, including the “Rotary Teacher of the Year” award and an “Energizer Bunny Award.”
A recent grant from the Warren County Educational Endowment allowed Trude to purchase a set of Chromebooks for her class, and she’s in the process of transitioning to a “paperless classroom.” Her blog — techietrude.blogspot.com — follows that journey.
“I absolutely love teaching and inspiring my students. I know that each day, I am making a difference in the life of a child. It is such a rewarding profession!”