The Leadership faculty hail from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines, and perspectives. We are proud to offer students a glimpse into our different leadership styles through coursework, extracurricular and Capstone project support, and personal relationships.
Specialty Center Coordinator
Mrs. Smith tried on every professional hat she could before finding her passion for education. Prior to joining the Center in 2021, she taught English in Henrico and Hanover Counties, as well as in Richmond Public Schools. She loves to travel, cook, and go on adventures with her husband and two kids and their two dogs. She is more than a little obsessed with baking sourdough, is always reading more than one book, and will probably never finish renovating her house.
AP US Government
Mr. Addison has been lucky enough to be the Center's AP Government teacher since 2013. He enjoys connecting the curriculum to current events and helping students register to vote for the first time. Outside of class, Mr. Addison likes to travel, camp, and hike with his wife, two kids, and dogs.
English 9 Honors
Mrs. Benere-Forder can't seem to quit James River! After graduating in 2001, she returned to teach English from 2012-2019 and is now back and excited to work with the Leadership Program. Aside from being an intense literature nerd who reads as much as she can, Mrs. Benere-Forder enjoys baking, doing movie night with her family, writing stories and poems, and annoying her two cats.
AP World History
Mr. Bourassa joined the JRHS faculty in 2014. Prior to JRHS, he taught high school social studies in Ohio, attended law school in New Hampshire, and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In addition to teaching AP World History: Modern, he also teaches AP Economics.
Mr. Couillard has taught Physics at James River since 1996 and Ethics since 2004. Every year he is inspired to find new ways to explore Ethics from the TED Ed Student Voice program, and the National High School Ethics Bowl to moral inquiry through Dungeons and Dragons. Mr. Couillard is passionate about playing games, cooking food, and other nerdy curiosities.
AP US History
Mr. Greg Dommisse is entering his 30th year at James River and is the only remaining original faculty member. He has taught Advanced Placement United States History in the Leadership Center since it opened. A native of Wisconsin, he is avid outdoorsman, spending time kayaking, pontooning, fishing, and hiking with his wife and three children. He is also a longtime basketball and baseball coach, entering his 34th year coaching high school sports.
English 10 Honors
This is Ms. DeVito's fourth year at James River High School and ninth year teaching. She earned her degree in California, then started her career in New York City, and has now settled in Virginia. Needless to say, she has worked with a diverse range of student populations, which is what she loves to do! A fervid reader and advocate for all, Ms. DeVito focuses on using literature as a tool of empowerment in the classroom. When she's not teaching, she's usually attending a concert, traveling around the world, or taking her new puppy on a hike.
AP Human Geography
Mr. McClure is passionate about teaching and developing relationships with his students. His love for history and the lessons that it can teach us caused his career shift away from the corporate world and into the classroom. His new found passion in the classroom has revolved around AP Human Geography and that course’s relevance to the contemporary world. Mr. McClure coaches volleyball and soccer at JRHS, serves on the Education Advisory Board at the University of Richmond, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
AP English Literature
Mr. Nabors is a veteran of 34 years teaching in Chesterfield County Public Schools. Mr. Nabors has taught AP English Literature and Composition for more than 20 years, and has worked with English speakers from nations representing five continents. He loves being an advocate of high school seniors, and he takes great pride in having served on the Center for Leadership and International Relations faculty since its inception. Nothing makes him happier than traveling with his family: his wife, Autumn; son, Carter; daughter, Campbell; and standard poodle, Linus.
Communications & AP Seminar
This is Mrs. Sanchez' 12th year at the River with her tenure including English 9, 10, AP Lit, AP Seminar, DE Communications, Leadership Communications, and Ethics and Culture in Film. She is the proud coach of the JRHS Speech Team who recently won the State Tournament ('21 and '23) and attended Nationals ('20-'23). Ms. Sanchez loves spending time at the beach with her family and dog and will never pass up a chance to visit with friends old or new. If she's not coaching or in Corolla, you'll find her at a concert!
English 11 Honors
This is Mr. Schumacher's 28th year at James River High School and he is passionate about teaching, making James River the best it can be, and forming relationships with his students. In addition to American Literature, Mr. "Schu" teaches Sports Literature and African American Literature. He is also the varsity baseball coach and enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.