FCPS Cares - December 2019/January 2020
FCPS Cares of the Month Recipients
Central Office: Jon Trullender, Kelcy Pierre, Nora Kuehn, Karin Gander, John Barba, Ileana Garcia, Interagency Alternative Schools
"On Thursday, January 9th, one of the GED students at the TSRC Fairfax program came to school in a sour mood. He was defiant and refused to follow staff direction. Ultimately, he was presenting himself differently than usual and seemed to have a lot on his mind. Instead of referring the situation to an administrator, his teachers were worried about him and asked the school psychologist, John Barba, if he would meet with him. Mr. Barba found out that the student had recently lost a family member, and the funeral was the following day. The student did not have anything to wear and could not afford to purchase anything. Mr. Barba and the team sprung into action at this point. They took the student to the student services office where there were shirts, ties, and pants that students could choose from. The problem was that none of them fit this student. At this point, one of the teachers, Ms. Pierre, called her mother to ask if they could go to the store to purchase pants and a shirt for the student. Time was of the essence because the student was going to be dismissed soon for the day. The clothes arrived after the student had to go home, so the Social Worker, Mr. Trullender, drove them to the student's home. This is just one example of how the teachers and clinical staff at the OCH go above and beyond to create a caring culture. Students are seen as the whole child, and the staff continues to presume the positive. #KINDNESSMATTERS #KIDSATHOPE"
- David Penland, Interagency Alternative Schools
Region 1: Jingwen Corrigan Oakton HS and Amy (Chia-Chi) Hsiung, Oakton HS
"Ms. Corrigan worked with her students to throw an outstanding Chinese New Year celebration after school for both students and staff. It was an amazing cultural experience for all involved! Students highlighted many Chinese cultural aspects for others to learn about. Students also enjoyed traditional games and cuisine. We are so thankful she is at Oakton and took the extra time and effort to help plan such a great event!"
Amy (Chia-Chi) Hsiung, Oakton HS
"Ms. Hsiung worked with her students to throw an outstanding Chinese New Year celebration after school for both students and staff. It was an amazing cultural experience for all involved! Ms. Hsiung took the time to prepare dumplings and other delicious food for the event. Students highlighted many Chinese cultural aspects for others to learn about. Students also enjoyed traditional games and cuisine. We are so thankful she is at Oakton!"
- Jamie Lane, Oakton HS
Region 2: Renee Brown, Braddock ES
"Renee Brown is truly a PHENOMENAL Teacher! Thanks to Renee Brown, Reading Specialist at Braddock Elementary, close to sixty Second Grade students have their own personal Reading Buddy! For the second year in a row, students at Braddock Elementary are participating in READERS AS LEADERS with students at Annandale HS. The Annandale HS Girls Basketball Team and students from the National English Honor Society have TEAMED up to provide support in Reading for sixty Second Grade students! Second Graders are thoroughly enjoying their Reading Buddy Time each week after school! Thanks to Renee Brown, the Second Graders and High School students are forming a Beautiful Partnership! All students are enjoying participating in the Readers As Leaders Program! Ms. Brown has spent long hours selecting students, selecting appropriate books for ALL students, organizing lists for teachers and contacting parents to ensure students will be able to stay after school to meet with their Reading Buddy. Some students and parents are enjoying this partnership so much that they are asking to stay on multiple days to practice their reading skills! Ms. Brown makes sure every student has the appropriate books to read with their buddy. Ms. Brown sends reminder notes and messages to students, parents, and teachers. It is the EXTRA Care and Attention to ensuring ALL of the students will be well prepared and successful in their Reading Sessions that is truly "Making A Difference" for students and their Buddies! This program would NOT be a SUCCESS without the EXTRA Time, Care and Attention Ms. Brown provides to ensuring the Second Graders will make progress in Reading! Thank You, Renee Brown!"
- Joyce Matthews, Braddock ES
Region 3: Cece Lamoreau, Hayfield SS
"Cece is the epitome of a great teacher and a great colleague. When faced with an unexpected departure in the Social Studies department, Cece jumped into action to help provide lesson plans and support for our short-term substitutes. She took time during her planning period, after school, and during her own classes to provide support for the substitute. Just this morning, during her planning period, she was talking about planning and pacing with the substitute who will be in the classroom for the next two weeks. Cece took the time to coordinate with the tech team to get access to the teacher's Blackboard and Google Classroom. Because of her efforts, the students did not miss a beat during this time period. These students, mostly in self-contained Social Studies classes, are the students who need the most specialized care and attention; Cece was there to provide it to them without hesitation. Cece should be honored and recognized for her efforts to go above and beyond the call of duty. The students and staff of Hayfield Secondary are so lucky to have her. I am proud to work alongside her every day and this incident is evidence of that. Thank you, Cece!"
- Doug Zywiol, Hayfield SS
Region 4: Carolyn Bonanno and Heidi Solis, Bull Run ES
"My best friend, Sunny, has brain cancer is now confined to a special hospice bed at her home. This means that she will miss the upcoming strings concert that her twins, Grace, and Stephen, would be in this week. Heidi and Carolyn took time out of their hectic week to 'bring the concert' to Sunny so she could watch her children play. This was selfless and a wonderfully kind thing to do. What incredible FCPS staff to go over and beyond in this way."
- a Bull Run ES parent
Region 5: Tamara Nagle, Cub Run ES
"Tamara Nagle at Cub Run Elementary has taken the FCPS Theory of Action to heart (To Continuously Improve Teaching and Student Learning). In particular, she has embraced Dr. Brabrand’s commitment to knowing each student by name and by need. She is now reaping the benefits of student success that is suggested will follow. This year she began working with a student new to our building who had a significant number of absences last year and generally left most days after two or three hours of instruction due to behavior concerns. Mrs. Nagle assembled her team and collaborated with our administration to garner support for her goal of keeping this child in school. So far this year attendance has dramatically improved and the student is regularly making it through the entire day. As the disruptive behaviors have diminished and attendance has improved, their school work is flourishing. Kudos to Mrs. Nagle, her team, and the administration at Cub Run Elementary School."
- Eric Timpson, Cub Run ES
Region1 CelebrationView the celebration from Oakton HS
Region2 CelebrationView the celebration from Braddock ES
Region 4 CelebrationView the celebration from Bull Run ES
Region 5 CelebrationView the celebration from Cub Run ES
Other FCPS Cares of the Month Submissions
Assia Aubdoollah, Justice HS
"Assia Aubdoollah is a wonderful member of the Algebra 2 team. She is a great addition to our school and she always goes above and beyond with her colleagues and her students. She is very approachable; eager to learn new tasks and is an excellent problem solver. As an incentive to our ESOL newcomers, Assia goes to businesses and she gets gift cards and coupons. Assia is our school’s News Liaison and she is dedicated to share the great things that are happening in our building. Assia is a member of the Equity Team and FAC Committee as well."
- Sylvia Makar, Justice HS
Ian Brodie & Jen Cortesi, Lake Braddock SS
"As the Middle School Team Leader for the Gold Magic Team, Jen models and challenges those of us who are teachers on the team to meet the diverse emotional needs of our students. Ian Brodie, the Gold Magic Team counselor does the same. Jen and Ian worked together to solicit feedback from the Gold Magic students about strategies to manage stress at home and at school that were barriers to the students' academic performance. This process resulted in the development of the "BEAT" Stress checklist, which is prominently displayed on a series of posters in a hallway that students frequently traffic. Ian went above and beyond to create the simple posters and Jen made sure they are effectively displayed. My hats off to both these committed professionals!"
- Lisa Williams, Lake Braddock SS
John Baldacci and Ron Finelli, Edison Support Center
"The staff at Hayfield Elementary School is sincerely grateful for and would like to give a shout out to, John Baldacci and Ron Finelli for going above and beyond to help beautify our school’s hallways. We had an HVAC grate cover in one of our main hallways that was dirty and in need of repair and a serious paint job. John and Ron were not only friendly and supportive but tackled the job quickly and professionally. FCPS is lucky to have these gentlemen working on our behalf and we truly appreciate all their hard work!"
- Ellen Lambert, Hayfield Elementary School
Karen White, Stonecroft Transportation
"Karen and her team went above and beyond to get last minute field trip buses for us. Thank you!"
- Katherine Andersen, Oak Hill ES
Mario MartinezDiaz, Gatehouse Administration Center
"I just heard from our Capital One partners who said that they are pleased with the progress on background checks and fingerprinting for their Spring 2020 volunteers and that they are “in a good place.” Kudos to all who helped -- and using a new process. A special thank you to Mario MartinezDiaz for his always calm leadership and his follow-through. Mario heard our Capital One Coder friend's challenges and made them part of the team to build solutions. You made FCPS look great, Mario. Thank you."
- Jay Garant, Gatehouse Administration Center
Jamie Wilson, Riverside ES
"During the 2019-2020 school year, Washington Mill Elementary School has been without an Advanced Academics Resource Teacher. We have had a long term sub in place providing pull out services and classroom lessons. However with parent meetings and AAP Screening we were at a loss. Jamie Wilson, the AART at Riverside Elementary School has taken time out of her busy schedule to provide support to Washington Mill. She has conducted two parent meetings, planned with our long term sub, and met with administration. She has been a true blessing to Washington Mill Elementary School. She is committed to her work as an AART."
- Michael Wilson, Washington Mill ES
Adolfo Pacheco, Crestwood ES
"Adolfo Pacheco has enhanced the positive learning environment at Crestwood Elementary School. His untiring support of parents, students, and staff have built caring connections and established communications. As parent liaison, Mr. Pacheco is a role model for forming school engagement."
- Marguerite Saitta, Crestwood ES
Lichelle Carmichael, Lorton Station ES
"Ms. Carmichael is a wonderful support to my students, as well as myself. Although the master schedule changed dramatically this year, she is always willing to find time to work with my students. Her knowledge of technology and easy-going personality makes learning fun for my Superstars. Her lessons are so beneficial to my students, which definitely makes their projects shine."
- Stephanie Hinton, Lorton Station ES
Stephanie Crochet, Lorton Station ES
"Stephanie is always very helpful to me and my students. I appreciate the fact that no matter how often I seek assistance in finding a book, she does not hesitate to assist me. She is always ready with a book, along with any assistance I may need with my lesson. She is just a TERRIFIC support and resource in our building."
- Stephanie Hinton, Lorton Station ES
Mike Edwards, Laura Peters, Kim Hammond, Natalie Markey, Maya Nardone, Kim Hammond, Kristy Carballo, and Holly Tucker, Lake Braddock SS
"Thank you for presenting at the Lake Braddock MS/HS in-service. Your blended learning presentations helped our department learn valuable skills and learn ways to implement technology into teaching and making math even more interesting ,impactful, and engaging! Thank you!!!"
- Maya Nardone and Kim Hammond, Lake Braddock SS
Maya Nardone, Lake Braddock SS
"I wanted to recognize Maya Nardone for all of the hard work and effort she put forth to prepare for our 2nd quarter Math In-service. In addition to presenting during the in-service, Maya took care of a lot of miscellaneous items behind the scenes to prepare for the big day. Her leadership and dedication to quality made the in-service a great success!"
- Kim Hammond, Lake Braddock SS
Natalie Markey & Laura Peters, Lake Braddock SS
"I wanted to recognize Natalie Markey and Laura Peters for taking the time to prepare resources and presentations for our math colleagues during our 2nd quarter Math In-service. They did a phenomenal job helping our teachers to navigate different blended learning platforms and ways to incorporate these tools into their own instruction. I have received a lot of positive feedback with regards to their sessions, some colleagues even noting how they left their sessions feeling inspired to create. Their time and effort were greatly appreciated."
- Kim Hammond, Lake Braddock SS
Douglas Tyson, Gatehouse Administration Center
"Thanks to Region 1 Assistant Superintendent Douglas Tyson for joining our class's circle talk this month. Our problem-based learning unit was just beginning, and Mr. Tyson joined the discussion by listening to student perspectives on a variety of concerns facing our community. Students were impressed with his ability to empathize with the concerns they shared in our English 10 class. Mr. Tyson was great about sharing practical strategies for solving problems that ranged from student apathy to vaping. It's not every day that students get to dialogue, for an entire class period, with an Assistant Superintendent. The most important message he left with our students was, "Your voice matters." Thanks, Mr. Tyson, for keeping it real and connecting with our students."
- Roger S. Baskin, Lee HS
Karen White, Stonecroft Transportation
"I can't thank Karen enough for helping us transport our students to a middle school orientation at the last minute. She and her team saved the day!"
- Christy Ryder, Oak Hill ES
Angelica Argandona, Flint Hill ES
"Mrs. Argandona has been an enthusiastic supporter of our fledgling Garden to Cafeteria program. This winter we grew salad greens, harvested them on January 21 and brought them to the kitchen. Mrs. Argandona created the most beautiful individual salads to be served to our students the following day. The students were delighted. Her commitment and caring provide an important link in supporting our students' endeavors in learning about sustainable foods. We are truly grateful for her partnership."
- Karen Taylor, Flint Hill ES
Anthony Hanrahan, Centreville HS
"Anthony is the definition of a true leader. Anthony works tirelessly to provide assistance to new leaders in the school while collaborating among his own departments and others. Anthony has displayed an amazing amount of understanding and empathy to assist others in achieving their goals while providing constructive feedback and asking clarifying questions to help everyone be successful. He is a true leader and I am so glad we get to work together! Thank you!"
- Meg Van Trees, Centreville HS
Christy Ryder, Oak Hill ES
"Kindergarten has been a tough transition for our son. Mrs. Ryder has been there from the beginning offering support. She has gone out of her way numerous times for our little guy to make sure his experience in school is a positive one. She’s kind and genuinely cares, and our son can sense that. He truly loves Mrs. Ryder. We just want to thank her for going above and beyond to ensure our son’s success, all while easing our fears. Thank you!!"
- a Oak Hill ES parent
Kenneth Trotman, Lee HS
"Mr. Trotman deserves the world. He is the best teacher and helper here at lee high school. He worries so much about students he even takes hours at home making and printing out papers for kids who are not doing great at school and with those papers to help them straighten up. He is the best teacher ever. He’s the only teacher I tell everything too and the only teacher I would go to talk with during my lunch."
- a Lee HS student
Nick Salvi, Lee HS
"Mr. Salvi is the best gym teacher you can get, he cares so much about you, helps you in like anything you need, and is also the funniest teacher I met, I’ve had him for 2 quarters and sadly for the third quarter we are moving to drivers ed for a new teacher, but I will really miss Mr. Salvi."
- a Lee HS student
Ian Brodie, Lake Braddock SS
"Ian Brodie is a school counselor at Lake Braddock SS. I have worked with Mr. Brodie for several years and he continues to go above and beyond for his students. Based upon individual needs and overall trends in increased anxiety among this age group of students, he spent a great deal of time developing a lesson and attending classes to deliver the lesson to 8th-grade students to help them share strategies to deal with stress and anxiety. Mr. Brodie reached out beyond our team and posed more questions to include the larger community of students as well. Following this experience, he created graphics to build a wall of advice about how to deal with stress that the students could easily view as needed. Mr. Brodie continually shows compassion towards all students and teachers and works tirelessly to support the entire Lake Braddock community. Please take a moment to show Mr. Brodie that FCPS cares about him too!"
- Jen Cortesi, Lake Braddock SS
Danielle Hornbecker, Frost MS
"Danielle Hornbecker is exceptional in every way! I have known Ms. Hornbecker for 3 years now and each and every time I have contacted her for help with one of my children, I have been blown away. Ms. Hornbecker is professional, extremely well organized and she really, really cares!!! This is evident not just in what she says, but in what she does: she walks the walk, and that is what makes her truly one of a kind. Students adore her, parents love and respect her and Fairfax County would be crazy to not give her a school of her own to lead, although I don't want that to happen until my 7th grader leaves Frost. :). Ms. Hornbecker has helped me on multiple occasions with concerns for two of my daughters' math classes at Frost, and each time, I was completely satisfied with the outcome. Ms. Hornbecker is also the reason my 7th grader had the awesome experience of taking the first-ever musical theatre class at Frost last semester, and that is because Ms. Hornbecker got this program off the ground. She has vision and she supports teachers and students through programming just like musical theatre. Danielle Hornbecker is a gifted administrator and a wonderful human being. It is my hope that FCPS recognizes her for the good work she does on a daily basis, always with a smile on her face. She is an extraordinary leader!"
- a Frost MS parent
James Mullins, Sideburn Support Center
"Today at Frost MS, "Magic" Jim Mullins brought back a broken stool from the dead. Last week, he repaired multiple tables and re-attached stripped laminate. In years past, he has repaired furniture, doors, more furniture, walls, and even more furniture. And he always has a smile and a can-do attitude. A huge thanks to Jim and much appreciation for all that he does!"
- Danielle Powers, Frost MS
DienSuong Le, McLean HS
"Mr. Lee really was a big help, as there were alarms indicating a potential elevator oil leak. He assisted me quickly ascertaining the locations of all the elevators, which is far quicker than using any map. His knowledge of the building, good optimistic can-do attitude, were exemplary in this situation."
- Michael Ross, McLean HS
Maya Masters, Navy ES
"Ms. Masters is frequently the topic of conversation at our dinner table. The impact that she makes in the life of our 6 year old is substantial. He adores her. She provides my wife and I with regular email updates that allow us to participate in our son's education. We feel like we're able to ask better questions than "How was your day? Did you learn anything?" She provides thoughtful, unique tips and suggestions we can use to help him learn at home. We appreciate what a terrific teacher she is. Her passion for teaching and love for her students makes her an absolute treasure. Thank you, Maya."
- a Navy ES parent
Tina Simons, Aldrin ES
"Mrs. Simons went above and beyond to accommodate my son so that he was able to participate in Reader's Theater. Thank you, Mrs. Simons, for your embodiment of Aldrin's mission: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever it takes."
- an Aldrin ES parent
Rachel Rubio, Frost MS
"Rachel stands out for her unwavering dedication to building relationships with all of her students, and families. Rachel always takes time to understand the unique differences, perspective of her students and builds positive connections with mutual respect. Rachel’s students and parents know she has their best interest in mind, while also encouraging and supporting their academic and social-emotional development. Rachel’s investment in these relationships is key to our students' success during their time at Frost, and beyond! Rachel also is a highly invested member of the Frost staff, taking leadership roles in the Social Committee to foster staff connectedness, the Faculty-Staff Advisory Committee to ensure staff concerns and voiced are addressed, Falcon Focus Committee to develop schoolwide lesson plans for Positivity Project, and so much more. Rachel is a picture of FCPS Cares!"
- Larkin Gibas, Fost MS
Joy Fouche, Fort Hunt ES
"I have had the pleasure of working with Joy Fouche since she first came to Fort Hunt 4 years ago. She in an incredible educator who strives to make her students the best that they can be. She cares about their social, emotional and academic success. One of my first memories of Joy is her going over the character pillar of respect with her students during morning meeting. At the time, there was no formal social skills curriculum required of the teachers except for what I taught in my monthly guidance lessons. She felt that it was important for her students to be respectful of each other and receive consistent character education. So, she did it on her own. Besides being a mindful, effective and engaging educator, Joy is also always a pleasure to work with. She is a great teammate to me and to her fellow 6th grade teachers. She is a great collaborator and always has the student’s best interests at heart. She was named well since she truly is a joy to work with."
- Rachel Ratafia-Levine, Fort Hunt ES
Pam Burke, Oakton HS
Ms. Burke was covering the attendance office when she received a very suspicious and questionable phone call. Ms. Burke handled the situation with the utmost care for our students. She recognized that something was not right, and followed up with an administrator and our SRO to ensure the situation was looked in to. This allowed the school to appropriately follow up with the student and her parent and ensure her safety and well-being. We are very thankful for her action and care!
- Jamie Lane, Oakton HS
Cynni Nazari, Oakton HS
"In talking to a parent following a parent coffee, the parent was so grateful for the extra support and care Ms. Nazari was providing to her son. The parent reported, her son was going through a difficult time personally, and after the parent opened up to the staff, Ms. Nazari has taken a great deal of time to work with her son and help him achieve success in her class. She was so thankful that Ms. Nazari demonstrated true care and concern for her son and all her students."
- Jamie Lane, Oakton HS
Dell McDonald, Willow Oaks
"Dell is always super helpful and quickly answers any and all questions. He is very friendly and doesn't make you feel silly for asking for help."
- Jenn Scott, Willow Oaks
Ellen Coney, Randy Deasy, Denise Miles, Greenbriar East ES
"Thank you to Randy, Ellen, and Denise for your unwavering support with our Enhanced Autism students! The students have benefitted from your assistance with their learning."
- Natalie Lorenzi, Greenbriar East ES
Allyson Pak, Annandale HS
"While the 20th marked Allyson's first day as a full-time teacher, the time she's spent invested in the students goes way back. Even as a substitute teacher, she had a strong interest in building relationships with students and making learning meaningful, which is why, when the opportunity to make her a part of the math team arose, bringing her on was a no-brainer. She has quickly become a member of the Annandale HS community."
- Brian Valentine
Linda Mirro, Robinson SS
"Linda Mirro is the most caring, attentive, intelligent teacher to have right next door to me. Last year, when I moved from the middle school at Robinson to the high school to teach English, Linda helped me have a smooth transition into my new teaching position. She and I were on the same team for grade 10, and Linda took me under her wing to help ease my transition to the high school. Linda helped me even though she also had a student intern that she was mentoring. Without her help, I would not have been able to thrive. People like Linda make FCPS the BEST school system in the world!"
- Lisa Burke Mosteller, Robinson SS
Megan Hockenbury, Mosby Woods Elementary School
"My son (and his parents) have been so lucky to have Megan Hockenbury for a teacher in 3rd grade and again in 6th grade at Mosby Wood ES. The following is an excerpt from a thank you email I sent her at the end of 3rd grade: "You challenge him yet support him. You connect personally yet demand respect. He is always sharing stories and activities he has done in your class that he has loved and learned from. It is very clear that your enthusiasm and energy is infectious. My husband and I have both been educators for over 20 years, so we know how challenging it is day in and out. So, we wanted to take a moment to say thank you. YOU are making a positive difference with our son...so we know you are doing the same with so many children." We were thrilled when our son got Ms. Hockenbury again in 6th grade, and we still feel as strongly as to her strength as an educator. She has high expectations but gives the kids' the support they need to achieve. She is communicative--weekly newsletters without fail, text reminders, and personal emails or calls when needed. She even brought her husband and son to see our son in a play he was in outside of school. She is a teacher he (and we) will remember forever. Thank you, Ms. Hockenbury!"
- a Mosby Woods ES parent
Olivia Shank, Glasgow MS
"For the past few months, Olivia and I have been talking about the importance of creating more visuals in our classrooms, especially visual schedules. In order to do this, we needed to figure out how to access a program used by Assistive Technology Services that Glasgow hasn't previously utilized. Olivia took the initiative to do this and get the program trial version, then the actual download, and as of yesterday has made us both even and odd day visual schedules! This is an incredibly helpful tool for our students with disabilities as they know what to expect each day as soon as they come in. Olivia has also created individual visual schedules and token boards for our students with this program. I am incredibly grateful for her taking on this task to make our learning environments conducive to our students' needs!"
- Keely Norris, Glasgow MS
Cheryl Mazmanian, Katie Fuchs, Jillian Bell, Gaby Auza, Karina Soles, Daniels Run ES
"Thank you all for the amazing work you did to assist with the Level IV AAP Screening. We can't thank you enough for all the time and attention you gave to preparing the files for the screening. Your knowledge of students, their strengths and your heartfelt desire to see each and everyone be the best they can be was evident as we discussed each student. Thank you for spending the extra time you did to prepare the files. We are so fortunate to have each of you as part of the DRES family."
- Michael Parker, Daniels Run ES
Chris Berg-Hoggatt, Frost MS
"Our special education department chair at Frost Middle School, Chris Berg-Hoggatt is one of the most dedicated special education staff members I have ever met. Ms. Berg-Hoggatt goes beyond compliance and ensures our families feel authentically supported at IEP meetings. I witnessed Ms. Berg-Hoggatt patiently explain different diploma options to a parent while answering complex questions in detail to help the family prepare for future transition services. Additionally, Ms. Berg-Hoggatt strives to look at students with a strengths-based lens, empowers parents to be active stakeholders, and supports teachers whenever they need her expertise. We are lucky at Frost to have such a caring and collaborative special education department chair."
- Alexander Lantis, Frost MS
Laurie Armstrong, Centreville HS
"Laurie Armstrong deserves recognition for the quality of the support she gives to the WL Dept. Laurie's professionalism balances efficiency, organization, and pleasantness. She manages dates/ emails/ absences/ etc. with a keen eye and is always cordial when reaching out about missing information/ approaching deadlines/ etc. She even makes time to ask you a kind, personal question-- and listens. Grateful to be your coworker, Laurie!"
- Christianna Carreno, Centreville HS
Kim Sholtis, Centreville HS
"Kim Sholtis is the CVHS WL Department Chair extraordinaire. Kim is considerate, intuitive, inclusive and leads with professionalism and composure. In addition to masterfully leading our dept and teaching, she sponsors student groups, including the Spanish Honor Society. In between classes she can be found in the hallways or her room building relationships with students and colleagues. Thank you for your insight, advocacy, all you do for our students, and leadership, Kim."
- Christianna Carreno, Centreville HS
Madison Romano, Fairfax Villa ES
"I would like to commend and thank Madison for her positive communication and collaboration during today’s IEP meeting. As the student's general education teacher, Madison provided the parent with clear and consistent data along with work samples, conversed in a professional manner, and gave appropriate input throughout the meeting. It was evident that the parent appreciated Madison's consistent collaboration with him and the support that she provides his son on a daily basis. Thank you, Madison!"
- Kaitlin Wilson, Fairfax Villa ES
Carolyn Vachon; Amanda Snyder, Karina Handy, Cheryl Zimmerman, Andrew Seo, Ashley Stead, Chelsea Neal, Richard Farrell, Carla Hijazi, Latifa Mastour, Asma Asgar, Khalida Hassan, Lauren Johns, Nada Mustafa, Maha Emara, and Mark Blecker, Sleepy Hollow ES
"Each year teachers in the Enhanced Autism Program at Sleepy Hollow Elementary go out and purchase gifts for their students. Additionally, they purchase gifts for the siblings and parents of their students. Their generosity is remarkable, and each gift is personalized and lovingly wrapped. The icing on the cake is that they go to great lengths to be sure they remain anonymous to the families receiving the gifts. This tradition has been in place for 9 years! It has brightened the lives of so many students."
- Kathy Lipp-Farr, Willow Oaks
Carol Ray and Gary Simmons, Rolling Valley ES
"These two staff members have given of their time on weekends to connect with five former Rolling Valley students who are currently members of the Pulley Career Center Warriors basketball team. Carol Ray, an Intellectual Disabilities teacher, stopped by to see the Warriors play at a Special Olympics basketball tournament on Sunday, January 12. While everyone was there to cheer for the team, the big news from her former students and their families was “Did you see Ms. Ray?” or “Ms. Ray is here – did you get a chance to talk to her?” Everyone was thrilled to see her and she spoke to all the players and their families. On Sunday, January 19, Gary Simmons, a physical education teacher, came to see a Warriors game at another Special Olympics tournament and it is no exaggeration to say that the players lit up when they saw him. From the smiles on their faces to the way they stepped up their game when he was watching, it was clear that the players were excited that he was there and that he still had a connection with him. He also took the time to talk to all the students and their families. We just wanted to share how special these visits were for the students and their families. Ms. Ray and Mr. Simmons built a foundation for these students years ago in the elementary school years and continue to take time from their own schedules to support them. The students attended Rolling Valley 6 to 10 years ago. These teachers are a wonderful example of the dedication of Rolling Valley teachers and we’d like to thank them for fostering such a great environment for the students to thrive."
- Rolling Valley ES parents
Sherri Evans, South Lakes HS
"Sherri goes above and beyond with students. She teaches Algebra 1 and works with very low performing students and never a day goes by that she is not working with them or thinking about them. She has given 12 Saturday mornings to work with students who are identified as needing extra Algebra 1 support and she is after school every day to help anyone who needs it. Sherri mentors one student in particular. She will do home visits, call him and wake him, talk with him about life and encourages him to come to school and do his best. She is a wonderful part of the South Lakes math team and the community. We could not do the work we do without teachers like her."
- Amy Balint, South Lakes HS
Beatriz Hursey and Meg Turkson, Riverside ES
"Beatriz and Meg are the parent liaisons at Riverside Elementary School. Both women are always happy to call parents, translate meetings, and do so in a quick manner. They have made all the difference in building an amazing community with the Riverside families, staff, and students."
- Jillian Strutz, Riverside ES
John Belyea & IT Service Desk Team, Sprague Center
"My office, Digital Learning Resource Services, had new carpet installed under our cubicles during the winter break. This meant that we had to pack up as though we were moving, which also meant that 14 desk work stations had to be dismantled, packed up, and then unpacked, and reconnected...all in just a few days. John Belyea and his awesome colleagues @ the IT Service Desk swooped in and took care of everything. Including going the extra mile to make sure that when all the computers, monitors, and power supplies were put back together again that EVERYTHING was EXACTLY how everyone wanted it. We're very fortunate to share a building with a group that understands and demonstrates what great customer service looks like. They made a very pain-in-the-butt situation much less painful. Thank youuuuuuu."
- Matt Fetters, Sprague Center
Ed Haggerty, Gatehouse Administration Center
"Ed Haggerty has been an amazing resource for our building. His knowledge and guidance alone make him stand out, but he is also incredibly responsive to communication and flexible with his time. Recently, Ed came to our school to help perfect our Reunification Plan. He provided us with a variety of resources to help our planning and was extremely patient as we explored different options. Additionally, Ed had some great insights and suggestions that we plan on implementing. Lake Braddock is incredibly fortunate to have Ed Haggerty as a partner and resource."
- Tony DiBari, Lake Braddock SS
Bob Butterfield, Gatehouse Administration Center
"Bob Butterfield is an incredible resource for our school. He recently took time out of his schedule to help us perfect our Reunification Plan. In addition to providing us with a couple of great resources, his feedback and insight to the process was of immeasurable value. Some of his suggestions were immediately implemented and we are positive that our school is better prepared as a result of his input. Additionally, Bob is incredibly responsive and timely with communication. Lake Braddock is fortunate to have Bob as a partner and a resource."
- Tony DiBari, Lake Braddock SS
Tammy Ofano, Oak Hill ES
"Tammy helped us fix the locks on six Breakout boxes for our upcoming lessons. It took a lot of time and patience. Thank you, Tammy!!"
- Kim Gallagher and Christy Ryder, Oak Hill ES
Shobana Sen, Gatehouse Administration Center
"I just wanted to send a quick note and shoutout to Shoby (Shobana). I’ve been in my role for 4 months now, and I visit the café almost daily. Shoby took the time to introduce herself to me on my first day, and every day since she greets me by name and with a smile, even when she’s clearly busy with additional customers. Her customer service is outstanding and she has truly helped me transition into my role with FCPS through her simple acts of kindness. I hope this feedback is used as just a small token of reflection for those that take the time to go the extra mile, and spread kindness, as Shoby does daily."
- Ashley Hicks, Gatehouse Administration Center
Eric Laurits, Daniels Run ES
"A huge thank you to Mr. Laurits for going above and beyond the call of duty yesterday after school and for coming and sharing your expertise in photography with our Yearbook Club. Your presentation and the tips that you were able to offer students were excellent and the students were so engaged the entire time. Thank you for also staying while the students had time to practice the tips and working with them. I know that we will have an even better yearbook this year thanks to your assistance. We are so fortunate to have you as part of the DRES family."
- Michael Parker, Daniel Run ES
Amy Showker, Willow Oaks
"Amy did an amazing job of facilitating our MTSS behavior training last week. She was funny, energized, and knowledgeable! She created a safe space for our staff to do this work and was present and engaged the entire time. Thank you!!"
- Kim Gallagher and MaryBeth Anderson, Oak Hill ES
Rachel Ratafia-Levine, Fort Hunt ES
"Rachel Ratafia-Levine’s role here as a school counselor can be busy and stressful, but she does a wonderful job managing all of it with a smile. Her calming demeanor is not only beneficial for students but us teachers as well. Rachel has been a valuable resource to me with classroom and student issues and has become a friend and someone I can rely on for a smile or a chat. Her dedication to the students, staff, and school is evident through her hard work and her caring spirit."
- Kara Long, Fort Hunt ES
Scott Darwin, Lake Braddock SS
"Scott and I have collaborated daily over the course of the past year as Systems of Support Advisors at Lake Braddock so I have had the great fortune of spending much of my time with this amazingly innovative colleague. We spend much of our time brainstorming, sharing ideas, and problem-solving; whatever it takes to meet our students' needs. In an effort to create something to support attendance as well as multi-tiered systems of support for academics, wellness, and behavior, Scott has spent hours, even days teaching himself new and creative platforms. While his efforts in designing a system to support both attendance as well as MTSS are still in the design phase, Scott has already created an access database that allows our middle school counseling department to schedule their students' courses for the 2020-2021 school year with ease and timeliness. Scott's determination, perseverance, and desire to streamline many different processes and systems, to help our students and staff is nothing short of AWESOME!"
- Amy Soos, Lake Braddock SS
Rushel Grillo, Glasgow MS
"Ms. Grillo is such a kind and caring teacher/coach who puts relationships at the heart of her job. She is always thinking about the needs of her 6th-grade students and her Color Guard team at Mount Vernon high school. Ms. Grillo's students trust her and know that she is there for them. I have seen her help students through problems with bullying, mental health crises, and more. Even when some of her students could make better behavior choices in her classroom, she graciously spends her afternoons working with their families to make sure that the parent-teacher-student connection is strong. Then, in the little bit of free time that she has, she coaches after school and on the weekends. She is truly selfless and an example for all of us at Glasgow."
- Julie Bell, Glasgow MS
Michael Steenhoek, Justice HS
"Mr. Michael Steenhoek is a veteran of our Algebra 1 CT. Mike is known for challenging our norm and helping other team members manage, be it help with software applications, searching for applicable resources for lessons, even assisting with labor outside of his own responsibility. He always got his fellow teacher's back, while keeping the success of our students in mind."
- Charles Ivey, Justice HS
Nuyu Kasay, Lorton Center
"Last week I met Mr. Kasay and one of our 6th-grade girls at arrival after his morning route to Riverside was completed. She was in tears because she had lost one of her brand new earbuds that were a Christmas gift from her mom. Mr. Kasay was there with a few other 6th grade boys and a flashlight searching under every seat and looking through every crevice to find the earbud. Finally, he took one of the seats off of the rail and one of the students discovered the earbud tucked way into the corner. They brought it to her and it changed her entire day and set an amazing example of empathy and care to our entire 6th-grade class. Thank you, Mr. Kasay, for doing the little things that make all the difference in FCPS and of course for keeping our kids safe every day!"
- Paul Basdekis, Riverside ES
Stephen Alexander, Colvin Run ES
"Mr. Alexander continues to make math a fun and interesting subject for our daughter. It is exciting to see how much she continues to grow under his instruction and how much she loves math. At bedtime, she said that the most fun part of her day was "prime factorization" with Mr. Alexander. We are truly thankful to have a diligent and effective teacher who makes any topic "friendly" and approachable."
- a Colvin Run ES parent
Kelly Stratil, Sangster ES
"We sat through our first high school winter band concert, and it was phenomenal. The quality of the performance exceeded expectations. It was impossible not to reflect on how far the students have come in a short amount of time, which made us also reflect on how important the elementary band teachers are to the future of music in education. Ms. Stratil works tirelessly to teach the foundation and most basic elements to dozens of students year after year yet hears only the basic sounds. She endures endless squeaks, wrong notes, etc knowing that the payoff will come years after the students move on from her care. She is an unsung hero."
- a Lake Braddock SS parent
Nancy Mangan, Sangster ES
"My son received a lovely, heartfelt, handwritten thank you note from his teacher the day after a long field trip, recognizing him for his good behavior on the trip. We recognize that it would have taken time to write this note, and it meant so much to my son. As a parent, I love the message that this kind gesture sends: keep doing the right things, even if you think no one else notices. Someone IS always paying attention, thus kindness always matters."
- a Sangster ES parent
Rosa Lee, London Towne ES
"One of my second-grade students is very interested in Korea. During our All About unit in writing, she wrote about Korea. For our poetry unit, her poems were about Korea. She is always talking about and sharing things about Korea. By the way, her family is not from Korea but Morocco. So the class kept asking about kimchi because it was mentioned often. Well, I tried to explain to the class what it was, and finally decided that I would just buy some and let them try it. I went to Mrs. Lee, our cafeteria manager, and asked if she could recommend a brand or place to buy some. Well, she brought some in for my class to taste. It worked out perfectly because she told them to try it with rice and we had rice with our lunch that day. Everyone tried it. Most everyone liked it. They were surprised at how spicy it was. The kids were so appreciative. We are working on being Global Citizens and I am hoping that this experience will encourage them to try other food and be open to other cultures. This was definitely above and beyond her job description. My class really wants to say thanks to Mrs. Lee."
- Michelle Holtzclaw, Londown Towne ES
Elizabeth Evans, Key MS
"Elizabeth organized a vertical learning walk for Key MS teachers to visit their pyramid colleagues at Lee HS. Teachers were able to hear about Lee's FCPSOn journey, visit classrooms, connect with students, ask questions to a teacher panel and see how 1:1 technology has transformed teaching and learning. This collaboration further prepared Key MS teachers to implement FCPSOn next year. Fostering these connections contributes to students having meaningful learning experiences and showcases the caring and effective leadership from Elizabeth."
- Summer Johnson, Willow Oaks
Jacqueline Ventura, Mount Vernon HS
"Mt. Vernon HS hosted the January meeting of the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council. The event brings nearly 100 high school students from around our county as well as multiple adult leaders and experts. A successful meeting greatly relies on the partnership and collaboration of the hosting. That morning Jackie stopped what she was doing to assist our preparation and presenters multiple times. With a tight agenda, this support is greatly appreciated. Without Jackie's trouble shooting the meeting would not have been as successful. And for this I am very grateful."
- Craig Perrier, Willow Oaks
Caitlyn Zavosky, Herndon MS
"Ms. Zavosky is an Instructional Assistant at Herndon Middle School. She has a heart of gold and works so hard each and every day. Her ability to make a positive difference in the lives of the students and staff she works with does not go unnoticed. We are fortunate to have her as part of our school!"
- Tracy Bromberg, Herndon MS
James We, Greg Dizon, Leah Johnson, Jonathan Rutz, Tara Revollo, and Kristin Sheppard, Centreville HS
"Thank you so much for helping out with Curriculum Night. Your willingness to give up your evening to help us promote Social Studies courses and meet parents shows how invested you are to your profession and to Centreville High School. Thank You!"
- Anthony Hanrahan, Centreville HS
Amelia Abd, Canterbury Woods ES
"Amelia Abd is always going above and beyond her duties as our Reading Specialist. She makes time for teachers with her already busy schedule and makes that time truly quality time. She listens to teachers and offers so many resources and ideas to meet individual student needs and then remembers to follow up to ensure the child is succeeding. When attending group or individual meetings with Amelia, one would never know she is new to FCPS this year. She navigates all the many websites, links and tabs like a seasoned FCPS employee and it is very obvious she has spent many hours of her own time studying and gathering information. CWES is so very lucky to have Amelia Abd as our Reading Specialist."
- Janet Mays, Canterbury Woods ES
Cole Walter, West Potomac HS
"Mr. Walter is a major asset to the students at West Potomac. Having graduated from West Potomac and being involved in many aspects of the school, including his current role as teacher, has allowed Mr. Walter to develop a deep and natural respect from all students. He is honest with students about the urgency and importance of education on "the highway". Mr. Walter is the only teacher I've seen sit with his students during lunch at sporting events and is one of the very few teachers who will step out to assist during bus duty. Cole also recently volunteered to connect our students to former classmates of his from West Potomac to illustrate the opportunities, and pitfalls, in our community."
- Mike Henrich, West Potomac HS
Jim Lepp, Gatehouse Admin. Center
"Jim filmed, produced, and edited a wonderful video showcasing the Career and Transition Services STEP (Secondary Transition to Employment Program) partnership with USGS (United States Geological Survey). He was great to work with - professional, enthusiastic, and captured fantastic footage of the amazing students hard at work during their internships. His work helped to promote the tremendous work based learning opportunities in Fairfax County. Thanks Jim!"
- Trevor Christensen, Willow Oaks Admin. Center
Tara Williams, Cooper MS
"Tara Williams had her Peer Helping students create a lesson on baking cheddar biscuit for students in our students in Category B Special Education. Students created a book of directions and worked side by side with the students to make the biscuits. The entire class was inclusive and allowed all students to collaborate and use critical thinking skills. The entire experience was inspiring and both classes are better for being able to have participated in this opportunity."
- Dana Scabis, Cooper MS
Eddie Lupton, Nancy Otto, Heather MacLauchlan, Dena Vandagriff, Hilary Wagar, Christie Miller, and Molly Casson, Greenbriar East ES
"My amazing colleagues helped me put on a Hootenanny for the entire 5th grade today! They gave up their teaching and planning time to help the event go smoothly, and supported me throughout the process of organizing the whole event. I am so lucky to have a specials team as encouraging, selfless, and kind!"
- Bianca Baldeon, student
Rachael Altekruse, Lee HS
"Mrs. Altekruse is my guitar teacher, but she also teaches orchestra to my friends. Mrs. Altekruse is incredible, she spends time looking for extra sheet music and work for my classmates and I, and she takes the time to listen to us practice and helps us improve. She helps us realize our mistakes. She is also very upbeat, and plays the guitar badly to make us smile, strumming random chords after a nice announcement like school ending early. I believe she is one of the best teachers out there, and she is certainly the most helpful to me."
- Bianca Baldeon, student
Amy Henchey, Bren Mar Park ES
"Amy Henchey is the lead ESOL teacher at Bren Mar Park ES. She coordinated a visit from our ESOL colleagues from Alexandria City Public Schools to observe high quality English Language Development lessons including instruction for Newcomers. Amy and her team created a schedule, demonstrated superb lessons, and went above and beyond to share their practice with colleagues beyond FCPS. Their practices are not only providing high quality instruction for English learners at their school, but offer a guide for other educators to learn from them. Thank you for hosting us today!"
- Karen Kleiber, Willow Oaks
Victoria Schubert and Anna Lammers, Westgate ES
"The last few days around Westgate have been filled with music and celebration thanks to Victoria and Anna. Our wonderful music teachers have led their chorus students through a whirlwind of performances lately. Last weekend found Victoria and Anna leading a group of students to the Voke choir performance. On Monday the 5th and 6th graders entertained the school with a chorus concert in the afternoon. This performance was repeated for parents in the evening. On Tuesday, Victoria and Anna wrapped things up at the Marshall pyramid concert where they joined elementary, middle, and high school students for this event. Our students are so excited to participate in these events, overcoming nerves to stand in front of parents and peers as they showcase their hard work. We are fortunate to have Victoria and Anna guiding them along the way at Westgate."
- Michelle Scherbenske, Westgate ES
Brian Klena, Cooper MS
"Cooper Middle School is extremely lucky to have Brian Klena as our amazing Safety & Security Assistant. He is always helpful, kind, and patient but one of the most remarkable things about Brian is his ability to connect with students. He gets to know students individually and makes it a point to address them by their first names which is so important to this age group! He consistently checks in with 7th and 8th graders to see how their day is going, works with individual students to find solutions to issues they may be facing and is a positive role model to all."
- Jill Donnelly, Cooper MS
Kara Long, Fort Hunt ES
"Although this is Kara Long’s first year at Fort Hunt Elementary, her years of teaching experience (most recently at Stratford Landing Elementary) truly shine through with her students. Kara is known for building relationships with her students and fellow staff members. I have personally witnessed how her setting up routines, procedures, and expectations have made a huge difference in student behavior and learning. She gives clear directions so that students know what to expect next. Her strong communication skills also make an impact with her colleagues. Always thinking ahead, Kara is organized and considers how changes may affect others. We are very happy to have Kara as one of our newer Fort Hunt Foxes!"
- Ellen Wise, Fort Hunt ES
Rashida Williams, Willow Oaks
"Rashida, thank you once again for taking the time and leading the Caring Culture Committee’s Lunch and Learn activity on Giftwrapping 101 for our colleagues at Willow Oaks. It was a terrific and fun demonstration. I always learn something new! Thank you for putting together such a thoughtful event and for helping to foster a caring culture. We all appreciate your skills and your time!"
- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks
Silvia Caballero, Westlawn ES
"I am writing to highlight the entire team at Westlawn that is responsible for communications. I know Silvia plays a roll in that which is why I listed her. Since the beginning of the school year, we have been increasingly impressed and grateful for the proactive, prompt and thoughtful communication that Westlawn Elementary has been putting out to us. For example, when our daughter went to Jamestown we received emails, texts and phone calls to remind us about departure times, alert us of their arrival and departure from Jamestown and their return time to school for pick up. There are numerous other examples of this dedication to provide clear and proactive messaging to the parents and we commend you for your efforts!"
- Christine Lusk, Westlawn ES
Alex Forbes, Daniels Run ES
"Alex has organized and sponsored a rock climbing club (approved by FCPS!) She has over 20 students coming to school prior to the start of the day. Before and after school activities help students strengthen their connection and engagement to school. We appreciate all the hard work she has done and is a valuable member of our Daniels Run community."
- Christopher Smith, Daniels Run ES
Stephanie Nicgorski, Clearview ES
"Mrs. Stephanie Nicgorski has been an incredible source of strength and light in a challenging year! Due to a colleague’s long-term absence, Stephanie has more than stepped up into a role that no one anticipated. Stephanie has been able to keep the momentum of a challenging special education program going through various staffing changes and substitutes. She has worked hard to ensure specialized instruction has been continued, students’ needs are met across grade levels and various schedule needs. Stephanie has built stronger relationships with students and staff. She has also been a valuable asset in terms of collaborating with team members in supporting student needs and growth. She has maintained a positive attitude throughout these weeks, meeting every challenge with a sense of humor and grace. We are forever appreciative of all of Stephanie’s efforts and can only marvel at how she has been able to take on these challenges!"
- Susan Kass, Clearview ES
Amy Bruce, Edison HS
"Ms. Bruce is such a caring and wonderful teacher. She always compliments other individuals with awesome words. Ms. Bruce has gone the extra miles to assist me on such a short notice. I just want to thank her."
- Pamela Queen, Edison HS
Donald Dight, Edison HS
"Mr. Dight never, ever says NO. At a short notice he was willing and able to respond to an urgent task. Mr. Dight's smile and attitude is contagious. He is such a joy to work with and I am so thankful."
- Pamela Queen, Edison HS
Alexander Lantis, Frost MS
"I have the pleasure of working with Mr. Lantis at Frost MS. He is one of the most dedicated and hardest working teachers we have. Mr. Lantis works as a Special Education and Math Intervention teacher. He goes above and beyond for all of his students. He is constantly offering focused study hall and after school help for math. On top of that, he works to help his students succeed in their other subjects. He checks in with other content area teachers, tutors students in their areas of need, even if it's not math, and calls home to parents to further support our students. Mr. Lantis does all of this with a patient manner and a smile on his face."
- Amy Benjamin, Frost MS
Amanda Baumgarten, Great Falls ES
"Mrs. Baumgarten is a cheerful and helpful part of the Great Falls ES family. Shes always willing to step up and help. She's a champion of inclusion, and works hard to make all children feel welcome. We are so grateful to have her in our school family."
Ashley Mistretta, Rose Hill ES
"Ashley is a Math Resource Teacher at my school. Having worked at Rose Hill for over 30 years I have worked with many different math coaches, resource teachers, and math leads. She is by far the most energetic, responsive, attentive, and supportive colleague I have worked with. In our first grade CTs she listens attentively and makes suggestions and finds resources to support our students. If you need manipulatives or other math materials, you can almost guarantee you will have them that day or the next day at the latest. My teammates and other colleagues rave about working with her. I just feel that she deserves to be noticed this way. My students and most importantly, ME, have been heavily helped by Ashley."
- Danny Adams, Rose Hill ES
Mark Hyer, Sprague Center
"Mark Hyer was very helpful to me when a device needed to be moved at Sprague Center. I usually coordinate such moves with the TSSpec or I go on site and handle it myself. The TSSpec was not at Sprague that day and I was occupied. I emailed Mark and, sure enough, he was ready, willing and able to assist. I emailed instructions and he moved the device for me and saved me the trip. Mark is such an asset! He is friendly, knowledgeable, cheerful and helpful. I really appreciate Mark."
- Claudia Haggerty, IT Field Services
Corina Haywood, Holmes MS
"I am blown away by the love and dedication Mrs. Haywood has for all her students. Beyond knowing hundreds of children’s names, she goes that extra mile for all the students of Holmes MS. She builds strong relationships and trust with these children. She gives them an opportunity to be responsible and to be respected. Mrs. Haywood makes the library experience enjoyable and a safe place to be. I saw her joking with students, giving tangible incentives for kids to participate in a school event like the book fair, take time to help them with work, gives students someone to talk to when they needed it, and truly treated these children like real people not like prisoners(which I have felt all too often in other schools). Building trust with children is everything and taking that time to show and treat people with respect goes a long way for a successful future and I’m so glad she fosters that at school."
- a Holmes MS parent
Lily Williams, South County HS
"Lily called us after school to check to see if our student was in the right place for his activity. She walked him around to different locations he thought his leadership class might be. After it became obvious that there had been a mix up she hung out with our son until I could get there to pick him up. He doesn’t have a cell phone so once he didn’t get on the bus he was stuck. Thanks, Lily for keeping him safe."
- a South County HS parent
Eve Davies, Aldrin ES
"We held our annual Aldrin PTA Bingo event last night and, as always, Eve Davies stepped up and ran the program like a champ! Eve brings such enthusiasm and professionalism to all that she does, and last night was no exception. The show went off without a hitch thanks to her technical savvy, AV experience and passion for the event. We truly could not do it without her. Thank you, Eve!"
- an Aldrin ES parent
Karen Hawley, Liz Smith, Kristen Carneal, Aldrin ES
"We hosted our annual PTA Bingo night last night and Kristen Carneal, Liz Smith and Karen Hawley volunteered to lead our 'Adapted Bingo' event for our students and families needing a quieter, less chaotic environment. The Adapted Bingo event was a huge hit in large part due to the wonderful energy from Kristen, Liz, and Karen. We are so grateful for their willingness to take on this extra work and to make such a special Aldrin moment for our students!"
- an Aldrin ES parent
Marta Sanchez, Aldrin ES
"Marta and her team helped with our PTA Bingo event last night. It was a huge amount of work - especially do to a planning error that meant pulling in chairs from all over the school - and Marta and her staff stepped up without a moment's hesitation or complaint. They went above and beyond, and we are so grateful to them every day, but especially today! A huge thanks to Marta and her team!"
- an Aldrin ES parent
Beatriz Hursey and Meg Turkson, Riverside ES
"Beatriz Hursey and Meg Turkson are phenomenal parent liaisons! As the AART at Riverside, I feel so fortunate to have amazing parent liaisons who help me communicate and collaborate with Riverside Elementary School’s families. Beatriz and Meg consistently go above and beyond by calling parents to help them understand advanced academic services, the screening process, and important deadlines. Their hard work and commitment have helped to empower our families to advocate for their students and I am extremely appreciative of their support!"
- Jamie Wilson, Riverside ES
Daniela Pastor, Fairhill ES
"Over the past decade I have worked with the most educated of professionals within the school system and I have never witnessed anyone like Ms. Pastor. I have also never seen anything like the way she supports her students. Ms. Pastor possesses the unique ability to meet students where they are while keeping them engaged with their peers and giving them every opportunity for success. While she is an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable educator, she also possesses an understanding of inclusion and a passion to support it with excellence. Her knowledge combined with her heart for education makes her an irreplaceable educator, team member, and FCPS employee. Ms. Pastor can adapt lessons, work with aligned standards, and consider the future academic potential of each child. Her strengths-based focus while also supporting individual needs allows her to meet the needs of the most advanced child while also supporting the needs of a student with significant delays. This not only allows for students with significant delays to have the opportunity to be exposed to grade-level curriculum it also further fosters inclusion, community, friendships, and caring. Ms. Pastor understands that a student’s learning is fluid and allows opportunities to re-engage at grade-level with each new lesson, knowing the potential for a student to grasp some concepts more easily than others.
Ms. Pastor's dedication to educating each of her students is unparalleled. She routinely makes choices that require more of her both during school and after hours to be able to meet her students' needs. When other educators would take the path of least resistance, she challenges herself and her students to do better, to engage more, and to break through assumed competencies into greatness. She also inspires the educators and staff around her to do the same, and the result is a team that meets needs while exceeding goals. Ms. Pastor goes far beyond any educator I have ever witnessed to support her students, her team, and her school. As a professional, I can say that she is an incredible teacher and without hesitation is the most outstanding educator I have met within FCPS and the surrounding counties over the past decade. Personally, as the mother of a child with an IEP that has worked with Ms. Pastor in special education for two years I can say she is a life changer. My daughter has grown academically, socially, and emotionally due to the support of Ms. Pastor. Every student needs someone to believe in their ability beyond what they’ve shown in the past, beyond what is written in an IEP. They need someone who will see their potential and support them and challenge them to meet it with each new day. Every student needs a Ms. Pastor. I am forever grateful that one of those students is my daughter."
- a Fairhill ES parent
Kim Hammond, Lake Braddock SS
"Kim Hammond has created an absolutely phenomenal double block algebra 1 class for our ESOL students. She makes the learning material fun, engaging, and easy to absorb (which can be especially challenging when instructing ELL's). I firmly believe that I would have had an easier time in high school math courses had I been in the care of a teacher who made the material so accessible and made herself so available to her students. This exemplary teacher has boundless energy and is passionate about the success of all of her students by meeting the needs of struggling students, students in the "middle", and advanced students who need additional a challenge. She not only does stellar work while in the school building but also does her own professional development at home by reading up on current pedagogical topics.
It is refreshing to have such a prime example of teaching in our midst here at Lake Braddock, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this amazing educator."
- Kenneth Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS
Susan Hurley-Abbasi, Lorton Center
"Bus #503 picked up students at one of the bus stops. A long line of cars lined up behind it. After she completed the pick-up, she pulled over to the curb and allowed all these cars to pass her. I have never witnessed such curtesy from other bus drivers. I have been telling everyone about this experience. It truly put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. She deserves to be commended."
- a Poplar Tree ES parent
Deanna Sivik, Chesterbrook ES
"My child has special needs. Mrs. Sivik, despite have more than 20 other students, tunes into my son every morning when he enters her classroom, giving him a pep talk, and encouraging him for the day. She tunes into his interests and gives him appropriate assignments that connect his personal interests with the subject matter. My husband and I are beyond grateful that Mrs. Sivik is my son's 5th-grade teacher. She genuinely cares about her students and it shows in every way.
- a parent from Chesterbrook ES
Sherry Cosby, Oak Hill ES
"I want to express how grateful I am to have Mrs. Cosby as my child's teacher. My husband and I could have never imagined that our son could finish these pages of blogs without me nagging. Mrs. Cosby really knows how to bring out the potentials of these kids who would otherwise just play video games. And from the school work my son brought home, I am very impressed with how diligently Mrs. Cosby checks their work instead of just checking for completion. She is no doubt the best teacher our son has ever had!"
- an Oak Hill ES parent
Debra Metzler, Centreville HS
"I teach one class in Debbie’s room, and there is not a single day she doesn't greet my students with the warmest, welcoming smile. I admire that in her busy schedule, she would care enough to greet and extend kindness to students not even her own. I work with beginning ESOL students who work 2-3 jobs, take care of younger siblings, fight against poverty and sense of defeat as foreigners of this country. In the month of December, Debbie donated a huge box full of gifts she collected over the years to my students as a gift. They brought home bags of holiday gifts not only for themselves but for all of their family members. What a perfect example of genuine generosity, compassionate heart, and heartfelt kindness, going above and beyond to show my students and the community that we care!"
- Esther Park, Centreville HS
Cassie Burk, Willow Oaks
"I cannot rave enough about Cassie Burk. She is meticulous, detailed, she makes problem-solving easy and efficient, and as a result, she makes other people's work (and lives!) so much easier. I work with Cassie for summer school and every question I ask her is answered with an incredibly thorough email and the cleanest spreadsheet you'd ever see. I know this may seem minimal, but summer school is never without an onslaught of issues after onslaught of issues. Cassie answers your initial questions and your 5 follow up questions in one go, and she's honestly saved what could be hours of work in one email or discussion. She clearly works incredibly hard, and it's such a relief when you have one or two less things to worry about. She is a true asset to any team, and we couldn't possibly be happier that she's one of the amazing summer program managers we get to work with."
- Shannon Laws and Nataly Mautino, Gatehouse Administration Center
Jackie Kwon, Herndon ES
"I've had the opportunity to work with Jackie for several years. She is an amazing AART who is always looking for resources to support rigorous student learning opportunities. Recently she helped facilitate the opportunity for an Academy Course at Herndon ES. Not only did she help to arrange for an instructor and help with finding funding sources and facilitating dinner for the teachers -she came to every evening class! She offered support and ideas for teachers as the implemented the strategies and structures from the course and reached out to the instructor (me) with ideas and questions teachers may have about projects or resources. Her professionalism, enthusiasm, creativity, and relationship building with the staff shines through. Thank you, Jackie, for introducing me to your amazing staff and the opportunity to work with you all."
- Lori Bedsole, Willow Oaks
Sandy Goodwin, Herndon ES
"I recently had the opportunity to teach an Academy Course at Herndon Elementary. After the course ended I needed to put in some codes for MyTime and couldn't locate the correct information. Sandy helped me to find the code source, brainstormed ideas for which source to use and then followed up the next day with an email to make sure everything was now running smoothly and to see if I needed further assistance. Her attention to detail and kindness showed throughout all of our interactions. She represented Herndon ES with professionalism, generosity, and kindness. Thank you, Sandy!"
- Lori Bedsole, Willow Oaks
Brigid Williams, Willow Oaks
"I have had the pleasure of working with Brigid over the past few years. We are in different offices, yet sit next to each other. Time and time again Brigid's amazing work ethic shines through. Today I was having difficulty with an index code in MyTime. Several other people attempted to discover the glitch to no avail. Brigid sat down with me, asked me to show her what I was experiencing, double-checked data in Focus and then let me know that the code was not in MyTime and helped me locate the people who could add the code in.
This wasn't a part of her job - yet due to her kindness, she took a few minutes from her day to gather the data, diagnose the difficulty and find a solution. I appreciate her caring and her developing of positive relationships and how she always takes the time to help when a colleague has a need. Thank you, Brigid."
- Lori Bedsole, Willow Oaks
Ellen Wise, Fort Hunt ES
"I have had the pleasure of working with Ellen Wise for almost three years. Ellen is not only professional but kind and caring toward everyone who comes to our library. Moreover, she has put her unique style of efficiency and warmth into our library. Ellen is a devoted librarian and teacher. She cares about our students’ needs and does her best so that their reading experience is the best it can be. With us, teachers and staff, I can personally attest to Ellen’s eagerness to be of assistance to all of us regardless of what time it is and how busy she may be. Ellen, keep up the wonderful work, our school and community are very fortunate to have you!"
- Juana Miller, Fort Hunt ES
Adam Lucas and Michael Tierney
"My daughter plays a number of sports at McLean High School. She is a fierce player and gets hurt a lot. These two gentlemen have wrapped her ankle approximately 60+ times throughout the field hockey season alone this year. Additionally, they have coached her through concussions, contusions, blisters, and numerous other bumps and bruises. And through all this, they still seem happy to see her and check in with her each day. We are so grateful for all they have done for her and the other athletes so that our kids can focus on playing and enjoying their sports. Thank you, gentlemen!"
- a McLean HS parent
Caitlin Tucker, Shrevewood ES
"Ms. Tucker is a nurturing, caring teacher who has made the classroom learning environment one where my son is excited to learn each day! He is always excited for school and I credit her with building a positive classroom culture where kids can become confident learners. She is a wonderful educator and someone who deserves recognition for all of her hard work!"
- a Shrevewood ES parent
Meg Turkson, Riverside ES
"I arrived at Riverside Elementary during the 2014-2015 school. My son was accepted into the AAP program. His first 3 years of school were emotionally overwhelming for my son, my husband, myself, and my entire family. When we arrived at Riverside were we very cautious. This quickly went away because of Ms. Jordan his 3rd-grade teacher and it continues today with our second son (currently a 3rd grader). I love Riverside! I believe there is an amazing energy that flows from the front office to the classrooms to the library to the administrators. While EVERYONE at Riverside is amazing and I would like to celebrate ALL of them. I'm writing to celebrate the dedication and commitment to families exhibited by the parent liaison Meg Turkson. I have watched her, over past 4 to 5 years, motivate parents to volunteer, attend events, join the community outreach committee, participate in our empowered parents' workshops (which is attended by at least 20-25 parents from diverse backgrounds, including fathers) and become more involved in their children's educational journey. She has proactively sought out local businesses, churches, and other organizations to supply families in need. This includes food baskets, clothing, and other needs during the holidays, a monthly food market, donations for school events, etc. While Riverside is amazing and many people make it a welcoming and caring environment, Mrs. Turkson makes a big difference in making this environment welcoming and caring for parents."
- a Riverside ES parent
Thomas Hearin, Shrevewood ES
"Mr. Hearin is my son's 3rd-grade teacher. He has always shown kindness, patience, and tolerance of my active and boundary-pushing 3rd grader. Mr. Hearin often jokes with my son and strives to form a bond with him beyond teacher/student since he can tell that my son thrives with positive attention. He noted in conferences that he touches base with my son each day to ensure he knows that he's loved and a contributing member of the classroom community. This positive attention is instrumental to my son's success and "buy-in" to school and I don't believe he would be as thrilled to attend school without having that bond with his teacher. When test scores, grading, and documenting seem to have taken over, Mr. Hearin strives to form lasting relationships with his students, especially my son."
- a Shrevewood ES parent
Evan McGrew, Fairhill ES
"We are very thankful to Mr. McGrew for instilling confidence in our son and in helping him go above and beyond in his favorite subjects such as Math. Thank you for being a positive impact in his life and for all that you do."
- a Fairhill ES parent
Courtney Korb, Fairhill ES
"I am very Thankful to Mrs. Corb for supporting my son and maintaining a friendly school environment. I'm grateful that she takes every form of bullying seriously and does not tolerate disrespect. Thank you for all that you do."
- a Fairhill ES parent
Mike Carr, Fairhill ES
"I am so pleased with the progress my son has made in playing the clarinet. I had questions about my son joining band before school had started and Mr. Carr was very nice about reaching out to me and answering the questions and being so helpful. He has given my son confidence and helped him explore his talents. Thank you!"
- a Fairhill ES parent
Lisa Reid, Gatehouse Administration Center
"I have been struggling with the performance section in MyPDE and Lisa Reid showed that she cared by taking the time to walk me through the steps that I was missing. With the transition from MyPLT to MyPDE, I was feeling like I was falling behind the evaluation timeline. Ms. Reid was patient as she shared new MyPDE features and walked me through the steps. Thank you, Ms. Reid, for your time and patience!"
- Sarah Blake, Willow Oaks
Suzie Shank, Daniels Run ES
"Suzie organized a Winter Art gallery walk to coincide with our winter music concerts. The gallery walk had art from students in all grade levels and was displayed through our hallways. Families, students, staff and community members had an opportunity to view the art before the evening events and during the school day. We heard many positive comments from parents regarding the art display and witnessed students demonstrating their pride in their artwork. Suzie is a valued member of our Daniels Run community and we are fortunate to have her here!"
- Chris Smith, Daniels Run ES
Michael Sanchez, Willow Oaks Admin Center
"I was having an issue creating offerings in MyPDE and reached out to Michael via email for assistance. Within minutes, he called me and walked me through the process that was causing me an issue. We actually started from the beginning and he taught me some tricks to help make the process more efficient. He was patient and thorough in his explanations. He even offered to check my work once I was done building my 9 Employee Engagement K12 Insight workshop offerings. Thank you, Michael, for always being responsive and helpful!"
- Shelli Wayland, Gatehouse Admin Center
Beth Boivin and Shelli Wayland, Gatehouse Admin Center
"Beth Boivin and Shelli Wayland are two employees who genuinely care! They always go above and beyond to make others in the school system feel valued, supported, and recognized. Recently, I witnessed them framing new pictures for the redesign of the Outstanding Employee Awards recipient wall to save the school system money. This is just one example of all that they do. They are the epitome of a caring culture, premier workforce, and resource stewardship. Thank you, Beth & Shelli, for all that you do to support the strategic plan and for making staff feel appreciated!"
- a FCPS co-worker
Cameron Owens, Armstrong ES
"Mr. Owens is an Emotional Disability Teacher at Armstrong Elementary School in Reston, VA. Armstrong has a unique population of learners with diverse learning and emotional needs. Mr. Owens is such a gift to a group of kids who really need strong role models. He is patient and calm even in the face of extreme situations. Even outside observers can tell he truly cares for each child in his class. He can often be seen playing football with his kids at recess and gym, or giving a supportive word or hug or handshake in the halls. The school is lucky to have so many talented special education professionals!"
- an Armstrong ES parent
Angela Kehler, Little Run ES
"My student, unfortunately, was sick on Ms. Kehler at the end of the school day on 12/18. After visiting the school clinic, it was discovered she had a high fever so I picked her up Her pediatrician diagnosed her with the flu! Ms. Kehler handled the entire situation with compassion, care, and respect for my daughter. The next day was the Winter Party in Ms. Kehler's class, and knowing how much my daughter was looking forward to the party and how upset she was to miss it, Ms. Kehler prepared a kit of the activity the students were completing and gave it to me so my daughter could participate at home. She also checked in with us to see how my daughter was doing, in the midst of what I know is one of the most tiring and hectic weeks of the year for all our teachers. The generosity and selflessness Ms. Kehler showed in this trying situation, as well as every day in her classroom, is inspiring to all her students and demonstrates the concept of Character Counts perfectly."
- a Little Run ES parent
Rania Saliba, Franklin Sherman ES
"We wanted to express our deep gratitude for our child’s special education teacher Ms. Rania Saliba of Franklin Sherman Elementary, who habitually goes above and beyond the call of her duty to help her students succeed. We feel lucky to have a partner like her, who is so invested in her student’s success. We witnessed how the strong bonding she formed with our child always inspired him to try the strategies she taught him and keep working on challenges, sometimes, till they are challenges no more. Ms. Saliba is also an excellent partner to us as parents, always lending a helping hand and providing us with resources to work on at home, when we asked for it. She is the kind of teacher who cares deeply about making a difference in her students’ lives. We will always be grateful to Ms. Saliba for her dedicated contributions towards our child’s success. Last, but not least, the fact that she is always so sympathetic about the constraints of working parents and often took time to talk to us beyond official school hours, is to our mind, truly exceptional, and one more example of her going well above and beyond the call of her duty."
- a Franklin Sherman ES parent
Patty McNeill, McLean HS
"Our daughter is a gifted and motivated student who's faced a variety of learning challenges (which are better described in a private setting). After frequent international moves, we saw her encountering obstacle after obstacle and starting to lose her way, with falling grades and dripping tears. Other counselors were trying to help, but Patty McNeill saw something in our daughter and went out of her way to help during a very very vulnerable time. And since that day, she has been tireless in her support and advocacy for both student and parent. Although I think she knows how grateful we are for her professional skills, FCPS and the larger learning community should know how wonderful Patty McNeill is, too. I would be happy to provide additional detail and context to support this nomination."
- two McLean HS parents
Chrissy Roehm, Cardinal Forest ES
"Chrissy started the "Giving Tree" at Cardinal Forest Elementary seven years ago. She spends countless hours from November through the week before winter break organizing and managing every aspect of it. She makes sure that all children and families that need assistance are counted; calls and finds out their wish lists; gets support from staff/community to get items delivered to our school, and holds an event to distribute the gifts to families before the holidays. In December, over 50 children in 20 families were supported and provided gifts. As if that wasn't enough, Chrissy also organizes a staff gift for the custodial and cafeteria teams at Cardinal Forest. Chrissy truly goes above and beyond to help others and shows that she cares about our students, staff, and community. She often runs a one-man show and she deserves to be recognized for such wonderful and selfish acts of kindness."
- Lucia Ortiz, Cardinal Forest ES
Amiee Anthony and Lindsay Blanchard
"Amiee and Lindsay are impactful leaders as the Reading Specialist and Math Resource Teacher in our building. Amiee's knowledge of Guided Reading and analysis in moving students forward has impacted grade-level teams. She is a mentor to new teachers and works side by side with them to create Guided Reading lessons using Jan Richardson's work and by modeling strategies regularly. Lindsay has brought Math Workshop into the building and has worked to help many of our neediest groups of students specifically our Students with disabilities. She has launched "Cue Think" in our building which has exposed students and teachers to talk through strategies in solving problems. She has worked to incorporate performance tasks to pinpoint skills areas. Both have had a key role in the development and maintenance of MTSS across grade levels. Their collective work has led to an increase in student performance across grade levels and increased knowledge and skills in our teachers. They truly help us maintain our focus on 'Every student soars every day!'"
- Kanchana Iyer, Eagle View ES
Mallory Johnson, Providence ES
"Mallory Johnson works hard to advocate for the needs of her students, the needs of her team, and the needs of the school. She speaks her mind and is conscientious of how her words have the ability to impact others around her. She is a team member and always encourages others to go above and beyond, while also challenging herself to do the same."
- Catherine Campbell, Providence ES
David Sturdivant, Woodson-IT
"I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize David for his excellent service at Rolling Valley ES and Hunt Valley ES. As the TSSpec that supports these sites, I rely on David to handle the hardware issues that arise. The workload this fall has been extreme and David handles it all with patience, persistence, professionalism and a sense of humor. He is an integral part of getting working technology into the hands of students in a timely manner. Thank you, David, for being an awesome partner in technology, and always doing it with a smile."
- Mary Lou Bare, Rolling Valley ES and Hunt Valley ES
Amanda Snyder, Sleepy Hollow ES
"There is no particular date to refer to, Ms. Snyder is an angel to our family. She is so good to our son. I can rest easy on a daily basis knowing this teacher is here for our son. She demonstrates patience and genuinely cares for the students. She needs to be recognized for what she does every day!"
- a Sleepy Hollow ES parent
Lee White, Jennette Leiva, and Betsy Whiting, Deer Park Elementary
"Lee White, Jennette Leiva, and Betsy Whiting jumped in to help a classroom in need this fall and winter when a teacher went out on leave unexpectedly. They have fully supported these students and have been ensuring consistency throughout their day with routines and instruction. They have been working closely with our leadership team to determine needs and to address any concerns that have come up. This exceptional team increased communication with families, have built strong relationships with students, and have been a rock to these students during this time."
- Melissa Miller, Deer Park ES
Marialys Gruneiro, Riverside ES
"Our 1st-grade team lead switched positions in October and the team was fortunate enough to have Marialys step up into the role. Since Marialys has become the team lead, she has been very intentional in working to become an effective leader. She advocated meeting with me (her admin) weekly to not only work through issues and concerns the team is having but also to learn, develop, and practice strategies that will help her better facilitate and lead her team. We practice paraphrasing and posing questions and discuss ways to approach conflict and strategies that support collaboration. She is honest about the challenges she faces in this role and has become reflective of both her actions and interactions with her teammates. I have enjoyed watching her grow as a leader and am extremely proud of the progress that she has made!"
- Gina O'Neal, Riverside ES
Bridgette Joskow, Oakton ES
"Upon arriving early at a full day of professional learning, Bridgette observed that the room/facility was not set up. She jumped right in to support the facilitators in problem-solving: setting up, rearranging the room, finding tables and chairs. It was a generous and spontaneous act of giving up valuable time to help others in need. Thank you, Bridgette, for your positive and proactive spirit."
- Andrea Hand & Mary-Lynn Robosky, Willow Oaks Admin Center
Kim Hammond Lake Braddock SS
"Kim Hammond planned, put together and implemented another VERY successful Algebra remediation again this year. With the help of our amazing middle school and high school math departments, she was able to get numerous Juniors and Seniors a verified Algebra 1 credit and help get those students one step closer to an on-time graduation. Thank you, Kim!"
- Maya Nardone, Lake Braddock SS
Jenny Walker, West Springfield HS
"Jenny not only is a huge asset to West Springfield, but she also helps everyone! When Lake Braddock reached out to her about Algebra remediation, she was quick to respond and helped us out immensely! Her Desmos resources helped us to get numerous Juniors and Seniors a verified Algebra 1 credit and help them get one step closer to graduating on time. Thank you, Jenny!"
- Maya Nardone, Lake Braddock SS
Kevin Hauser, Willow Oaks Admin Center
"Mr. Kevin Hauser has been providing home-based instructional services for a special education student for about a year and a half. At an IEP meeting on 12/17/19, the student shared that Mr. Hauser has taught him many valuable lessons. The student shared that Mr. Hauser is patient and takes the time to explain academic concepts to him. He has taught the student strategies to improve his reading skills (the student even demonstrated a strategy Mr. Hauser taught him). Additionally, the student shared that Mr. Hauser encourages him to try his best and has been a good role model. The student stated that Mr. Hauser has worked with him to improve his behavior and his ability to deal with things that bother him. The student stated that Mr. Hauser believes in him and knows he can do well. When staff at the IEP meeting complimented the student on his grades and passing SOL scores and the student said it was all because of Mr. Hauser. Mr. Hauser deserves to be recognized for the positive impact he has made in this student’s life. He has been a teacher, a mentor, and a coach providing this student with academic supports but maybe, more importantly, life lessons such as how to work hard, advocate for his needs, develop future goals, the importance of trying new things, and the power of believing in yourself. We just wanted to say thank you for all you have done and continue to do to support this student and the staff working with him. You have made a life long impact on this student!"
- Dora Tetteyfio and Susan Kannengiesser, Willow Oaks Admin Center
Tracy Irwin & Jessica Schaedel-Brygider, Saratoga ES
"My daughter is a kindergartener in Ms. Irwin’s and Ms. Brygider’s classroom, and they have made her first year in school so incredible. As an FCPS employee, I know that I am surrounded by amazing educators, but Ms. Irwin and Ms. Brygider are very special. My daughter is loved and cared for while also being challenged and engaged in what she is learning. I could not ask for better teachers for my daughter’s introduction to school."
- Margaret Barnes, Holmes MS
Christie McCormick, Oakton HS
"Ms. McCormick works tirelessly for her students each and every day. She is constantly creating innovative and engaging lessons focused around Portrait of a Graduate skills. Christie is a true leader and helps to push this work forward in the department and school-wide. She has a genuine enthusiasm for teaching and student learning. We are truly fortunate to have Ms. McCormick at Oakton!"
- Jamie Lane, Oakton HS
Magaly Rivas Wyatt, Oakton HS
"As a member of the Oakton Pantry committee, Ms. Wyatt has put in a great deal of time and effort establishing a culture of community and kindness at Oakton. Today she spends much of the day assisting families in need by providing them with donated food, Christmas gifts, and Oakton spirit wear. She treats each family that comes in with care and respect ensuring they get what they need for the duration of the winter break. In addition, to something special for the holidays. We are very fortunate to have Ms. Wyatt. She goes above and beyond to help this program be such a success!"
- Jamie Lane, Oakton HS
Emma Rutstein, Frost MS
"Emma goes out of her way to build positive relationships with the students, collaborating with teachers to develop behavior plans and incentives that would work well for all students. She is able to anticipate what students need and alleviate concerns before they become problematic. Her attentiveness in the classroom allows lessons to flow seamlessly. Emma engages with students in meaningful and positive ways. She consistently initiates supporting students in the classroom and is friendly and welcoming to all students and staff. Emma embodies FCPS' caring culture. She goes above and beyond her job duties, and we are so grateful to have her!"
- Rachel Rubio, Frost MS
Kelly O'Connell, Willow Oaks
"Kelly O'Connell consistently supports the whole Woodson pyramid. At Frost Middle School, Kelly has done an outstanding job of building relationships with staff and families in order to best support the needs of our students. Her expertise, guidance, and professionalism goes above and beyond and makes a difference in our community."
- Alexis Centers, Frost MS
Chris Berg-Hoggatt, Frost MS
"Chris works tirelessly to ensure that all of the teachers at Frost Middle School are supported and have what they need to provide meaningful instruction and effectively manage the IEP process for our students. Chris takes time to answer questions and develop our skills as case managers. She facilitates IEP meetings and ensures that all team members' voices are heard. She provides a welcoming environment for our school guests and embodies FCPS's caring culture. Chris is an outstanding leader for our special education department and we are thankful that she is part of the Frost community!"
- Rachel Rubio, Frost MS
Loreal Crumbley, Gatehouse Administration Center
"Loreal has been so helpful during this transition to My PDE. Every time I have called her, she has quickly called me back and walked me through any issue I was having. She is always helpful and friendly - a true exemplar for a 'caring culture'. Her support has been invaluable while switching to the new system for evaluations."
- Maureen Boland, Rolling Valley ES
Tahir Porjosh, Dunn Loring Center
"Tahir is a phenomenal interpreter. He has been a vital part of our Parklawn team. He has built relationships with the family, student, and staff and works hard to support our team in communicating with the families. He goes above and beyond to reach out to the family, oftentimes with very little notice. He navigates complicated conversations and always does it with a positive attitude."
- Jackie White, Parklawn ES
Andrea Vechery, Kilmer Center
"Drea is an amazing teacher. She goes above and beyond every day for her students. She spending time to make sure even the most fun activity meets each student's goals and needs. I wish she was my child's teacher. She loves each of her students as if they were her own child. I have never seen a more happy and thriving group of students as I do with her class."
- Patti Madden, Kilmer Center
Janet Dougherty, Garfield ES
"There is not just one experience that can highlight how much Ms. Dougherty cares about all the students and staff at Garfield Elementary School. As our Guidance Counselor, she wears numerous hats. She runs lessons in classrooms, small groups, checks in on countless students and teachers one-on-one each day and interacts with parents daily. She is supportive, encouraging, positive and always helpful no matter the time you call. At this time of year, Ms. Dougherty works tirelessly to make sure all students have what they need for the upcoming break, from full bellies to warm coats and winter accessories to bundle up over the break. She truly is an inspiration."
- Jess Prout, Garfield ES
Chris Dux, Centreville HS
"Mr. Dux is a wonderful teacher! He is committed to all students being successful and maintains an equity lens! While discussing a student who had academic challenges, he aligned with the student, expressing that it was a shared effort and he was committed to the students' success. Thank you, Mr. Dux!"
- Francesca Knight, Centreville HS
Cia Makrigiorgos and Ella Tillotson, Westgate ES
"I am able to spend time with our PreK class weekly. It is clear that Cia and Ella work hard to create a joyful, inclusive space for their sweet students.
It is always a pleasure to watch this little community at work and play. I so appreciate the efforts of Cia and Ella to provide these students with the best possible start to their education!"
- Michelle Scherbenske, Westgate ES
Charlie Brewer, Lake Braddock SS
"Over the last few weeks, middle school counselors have been in the computer labs doing career lessons with our seventh and eighth-grade students. While doing my lessons, it seemed like there was some glitch with the sound, video or monitor in every lab that I encountered and I would have to e-mail or call Charlie in a panic. He always responded by quietly coming in the room in a matter of minutes to see what the issue was and then calmly working through it. I greatly appreciated his patience and quick response each time to help support me carrying out lessons for the day!"
- Melissa Staab, Lake Braddock SS
Erik Kreiensiek, Fairfax Villa ES
"Erik has taken a leadership role in running the class (as an IA) while the lead teacher was on Workman’s comp. My first day Erik trained me in my role as a PHTA in the ED program. No matter what the day brings Erik is always willing to jump in to make sure his (and all) students get their needs met."
- Jill Bayder, Fairfax Villa ES
Jennifer Mrowka, North Springfiled ES
"Ms. Mrowka went above and beyond to provide support and safety to a student in need. She did whatever was needed to help my student ease back into a normal school day and guide the family with the resources needed. She is a true asset to North Springfield ES and has the children's best interest as her priority. Can't thank her enough for her kindness and support!"
- a North Springfield ES parent
Dylan Taylor, Willow Springs ES
"Principal Taylor deserves to be acknowledged for the FCPS Cares Award because he consistently goes above and beyond to support staff and students at Willow Springs. Recently, there was a day where substitute coverage was short, and our special education team needed support in providing accommodations to students with disabilities during an assessment. Principal Taylor jumped into action, and delivered accommodations himself when there were a million other things he had to do. During the assessment, one of the students became anxious and very upset. Principal Taylor took even more time to genuinely comfort the student and implement strategies that worked to de-escalate the situation. This was only possible because of the meaningful relationships Principal Taylor has built with ALL students."
- Jessica Boger, Willow Springs ES
Juana Miller, Fort Hunt ES
"The word from her peers is that Senora Juana Miller is a great team player, who is super organized and an amazing team lead. She goes the extra mile to assist her other teachers through writing agendas and teaching them new programs important to her grade level. An important fact to remember about Juana is that she is a former Instructional Assistant at Fort Hunt who worked her way up to being a teacher, which makes her a great role model for ALL of us at Fort Hunt. As a parent, I can personally attest that my daughter would not be the same person she is today had she not had Senora Miller. She is wonderful to her children, providing not just solid leadership but a kind shoulder. Senora Miller is a shining example of why I am PROUD my daughter attends Fort Hunt Elementary School. Three cheers for Juana! She deserves it!"
- a Fort Hunt ES parent
Elizabeth Landrith, Glen Forest ES
"Elizabeth has always been a great part of the Third Grade team and Glen Forest community. Every year she always takes the time to support various programs that are run for the kids here at Glen Forest including Family Food Market, YMIM, Curriculum Night, tutoring, and the list goes on. She has come to all of our YMIM and Fit Girls races, even when they are hosted on a Saturday. She comes to cheer on past and present students and takes pictures to share. For the past few years, she has taken on the role of leader of our yearbook committee. She makes sure that every student, staff, and team is represented in the yearbook. It is a remarkable and tedious task that she does with ease. She has always been a great listener, colleague, and friend. This is evident in the copious notes she takes to keep the team on track during our CT meetings. She is always coming up with new ideas, lessons and strategies for students, which she willing shares with her colleagues and team. She is an extraordinary teacher and her students and team are lucky to have her."
- R. Pipitone, Glen Forest ES
Kim Morrison, Daniels Run ES
"Kim goes above and beyond to build relationships with students and families. Kim greets each student to start their day and gives them a fresh start regardless of previous behaviors. She is always positive and models being a life-long learner to her students and colleagues."
- Lauren Hein, Daniels Run ES
Lori Huberman-Hayes, Daniels Run ES
"Lori organized a family Science night in conjunction the Children's Science Center. She organized 20 volunteers to run Science stations. She worked with our Family Resource Center to communicate the free event, including communication with our Spanish speaking families. We had over 200 students and family members attend the event."
- Chris Smith, Daniels Run ES
Anna Panacek, Westlawn ES
"Ms. Panacek has gone out of her way to ensure our daughter has the extra math practice she needs. She does a terrific job of communicating with parents by sending us the weekly agenda and emailing important updates. She is positive and upbeat and is always encouraging her students to do their best. Thanks so much for giving our daughter such a positive 3rd-grade experience!!"
- a Westlawn ES parent
Denise Taylor, Holmes MS
"Ms.Taylor is excellent year-round! It is our first year at Holmes and she has made the experience a lot easier for our family. She helped us enroll in the summer camp program so that our child could get acclimated to the school, but she also keeps a special eye out for the children. She speaks up when she sees something that needs correcting. She represents Holmes well in the community and pulls her knowledge of STEM to introduce cool afterschool clubs for the children. She truly seems like she wants the kids to have bright futures and looks into programs that can introduce the students to STEM career fields. Thank you for caring Ms.Taylor"
- a Holmes MS parent
Katie Han and the Language Services Team Language Services, DSS, Gatehouse Administration Center
"I am so very appreciative of Katie Han, Grace Edmonds, Luisa Osorio Murray, Valerie Ruiz, Rosana Bergquist, and the entire language services team who work together seamlessly to deliver "spot-on" service any time we need interpreters. Oftentimes, our office presents a challenge: we have a last-minute need for a translator at a critical meeting. Without fail, Katie, Grace, and their teamwork together to make it happen. In one instance, Katie even sent someone from her office to assist with translations at a high-level meeting, leaving her office shorthanded. The interpreters are very professional, highly qualified, responsive, and represent FCPS well in all matters for which we've needed their assistance. Thank you to each and every staff member in Language Services for providing such outstanding assistance."
- Barb Larsen, Gatehouse Administration Center
Melissa Rossman, Freedom Hill ES
"Melissa presented to our Literacy Essentials Class on the subject of Making Guided Reading More Powerful to secondary teachers working with English Learners who have gaps in their formal education. Melissa offered ways for teachers to continue to nurture student's learning environments through connections and modeling hands-on activities. Our class of teachers left with many great ideas and strategies on how to implement guided reading into their classrooms. Thank you so much for taking the time to present to our class. You are a wealth of information."
- Suzanne Federico and Connie Thibeault, Leis Center
Daniel Gray and William Foster, Forte Center
"Daniel Gray and William Foster went above and beyond to ensure that a pick-up and delivery of risers for our school happened. We had loaned our risers to another school but needed them back in time for our Winter Concert. On the day of delivery, the weather was cold and rainy which made it impossible for them to drive the truck to the back of our school near the entrance of our stage due to lots of mud. They decided to get the risers into the building and hand carry them down a flight of stairs to be placed on our stage. Without the two of them, our Winter Concert would not take place."
- Lisa Warden, Hayfield ES
Kate Adams, Graham Road Community Center
"Kate was my mentor last school year when I transitioned from class-based to itinerant services. Her support, perspective, and resources made it possible for me to successfully transition to a very different work-place dynamic. Even as I've "graduated" to handling my own caseload, I know she is always available to answer questions, commiserate on our difficulties, and I am thankful I get to call her a friend!"
- Becky Rock, Graham Road Community Center
Shira Brothers, Willow Oaks
"Shira is such an open, supportive supervisor and she is always available to problem solve difficult student and staff relationships. She always offers an understanding and listening ear, and objective recommendations for solutions. She has personally assisted me in transitioning from class-based to itinerant world and offered a plethora of support and resources!"
- Becky Rock, Graham Road Community Center
John Kownacki and Ali Iannucci, Whitman MS
"Kudos to Mr. Kownacki and Ms. Iannucci for their great work with students in producing the 2019-20 Whitman musical, Annie Jr. Their passion, inspiration, and willingness to go the extra mile created a life-changing experience for so many students through the gift of theater!"
- Craig Herring, Whitman MS
Cynthia Mynard, Lorton Station ES
"Cyndy thanks for helping me push a parent's car out of the kiss and ride line so we could keep things moving along! You always jump right in to help and we need that when unexpected things happen. So happy you're a Roadrunner!"
- Christopher Latham, Lorton Station ES
Ania Mikelinich, Riverside ES
"Ania is the newest member of our ESOL team at Riverside this year. She has certainly hit the ground running by building excellent relationships w/ her colleagues and students. She demonstrates extreme care and positivity for all of the students she supports and is well prepared every day to provide differentiated instruction that makes her kids feel successful. Her encouragement, patience, and flexibility have helped her fit right into our culture and she has been an incredible bright spot on our staff. We greatly appreciate all she brings to the table here at Riverside. Thank you, Ania!"
- Paul Basdekis, Riverside ES
Karen White, Stonecroft Transportation
"I reached out to Ms. White needing to order a field trip bus for the Region 1 breakfast, 7 days before the breakfast. The problem was I needed the bus during a time when busses would be on their runs. I only needed one and did not want to disappoint the request of the Region 1 Assistant Superintendent so I asked her to please see what she could do. Ms. White escalated my request and was able to get approval for the one bus we needed. During our entire process of working through this, Ms. White was very professional, honest and pleasant. She made no promises except to do her best to get a bus and get a bus she did. I am very thankful to her and continue to enjoy working with Ms. White. She really knows how to problem solve and get things done and without a doubt deserves this honor."
- Sybil Terry, Rachel Carson MS
Barbara Beck and Laurie Inman, Keene Mill ES
"These wonderful instructional assistants ensure that our Kiss and Ride process is a pleasant experience, while always carrying out their task with huge smiles and loving gestures. They serve the school with vigor and passion, despite sometimes having to face the elements of all sorts of weather. True superheroes!"
- Bushra Khan, Keene Mill ES
Brianna Lucas, Julia Brimage, Joy Broussard, Kimbrell McGhee, Lindsey Powell Riverside ES
"Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with Riverside Elementary School’s 5th Grade Team to plan a Project-Based Learning unit for Language Arts. While this is the first PBL unit for some teachers, I have been impressed with the team members’ commitment to providing meaningful learning experiences for our students. In our CLT meeting this week, team members were very engaged and demonstrate strong collaboration skills while developing a strong rubric that can be used as a tool throughout the process of our PBL unit. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with 5th grade as we finish planning this PBL unit and I am excited to see this meaningful learning experience in action after Winter Break!"
- Jamie Wilson, Riverside ES
Shawn Gardner, South County MS
"Shawn often is observed going above and beyond ensuring that his colleagues are doing well and have what they need to be successful. He’s so welcoming and does a great job lifting others up and supporting faculty, staff and even substitute teachers. His baked goods are pretty amazing too!"
- Laura Dougherty, South County MS
Holley Remer, Chesterbrook ES
"Holley always goes out of her way to help any parent or student. She always finds the time to patiently hear what every person has to say from Kindergartens to grandmothers and tries to do her best to help. Holley radiates positive energy, she makes the Chesterbrook front office a happy, vibrant and always welcome place."
- a Chesterbrook ES parent
Diana Albergotti, Lorton Center
"This morning my son left his Yeti half gallon water bottle jug on his bus. He was frantic because it was expensive and it was a birthday gift. He contacted transportation and then I followed up with a contact, and all of our interactions were polite and helpful. The most amazing thing though is that Diana was his driver this morning but had already left the bus and gone on to work in the office. She actually went on her own time, after work, to look on the bus on her way home. Not only did she find the water bottle, but she also offered to bring it to our house to return it to him because she lives near us. She really has gone above and beyond and we are so appreciative!"
- a Justice HS parent
Susan Rogers, Gatehouse Administration Center
"Susan reached out to me to help adjust our school crisis management plan. She was able to identify areas for clarification and offered clear and specific solutions. She helped me to access the plan and to make the updates in a timely manner. Susan was extremely responsive to my needs, and I appreciate her team spirit. She added sunshine to my day! I am very grateful for her support."
- Sara Van Aalst, Fairview ES
Claudia Naworol, Cooper Middle School
"Ms. Naworol is an excellent example of a patient, caring, and encouraging teacher who competently guides her students through organized lessons in the German language, starting from the fundamental basics. She goes above and beyond in various ways to keep her students interested in the language and culture."
- a Cooper Middle School parent
Courtney Korb, Fairhill ES
"Courtney Korb is a key component to the thriving success of the entire Fairhill community. She exudes warmth and is always part of the positive dynamics of our school. Courtney is kind-hearted, approachable, and always puts forth more effort than what is asked. Ms. Korb continues to work hard to bring staff together such as planning a special activity for each of twelve days leading up to winter break. From her genuine feedback, witty commentary, and simple presence, Courtney Korb demonstrates daily how she is more than an Assistant Principal at Fairhill Elementary."
- Amanda Arman, Fairhill ES
Aki Goto, Woodson HS
"I want to commend Aki Goto for her commitment to inclusion. This year at Woodson, Aki and all the Learning Services teachers in the Cat B department, have worked hard to introduce their students to the Woodson community. Aki has helped her students create videos to air on the morning tv program. These videos introduce the special needs students by name and show their wonderful personalities. There are videos with ASL words and videos about special celebrations, all featuring happy, enthusiastic kids. She has hosted numerous events with the Buddies club after school and invited ALL students to come and enjoy the fun and friendship. The time and effort to bring together students and support a #onewoodson culture is applauded and appreciated."
- Joan Brown, Woodson HS
Rhodah Mwanje, Glasgow MS
"Ms. Rhodah is an IA for our Cat B class for the second year. She is always willing to do whatever is asked of her. Today she covered my class so I could help with a transition meeting. This is a regular occurrence for her to help with but she always does it with a smile and fidelity. She also assists in our WAT class and even when things don't go the way we anticipate, she is there for help and step in wherever we ask her to. Ms. Rhodah also has gotten recognition from our Adapted PE teacher recently for the same reasons. It is safe to say she is a saving grace for those of us who work with her. And most importantly she is patient, loving, and joyful with our students. Ms. Rhodah is deserving of an FCPS Cares award and so much more!"
- Keely Norris, Glasgow MS
Jenny Sobota, Hughes MS
"In her work with the SCA, Jenny has helped to create a culture of pride and spirit here at Hughes. On Friday, December 6th, she and the SCA organized a great pep rally, which kicked off with 'We Are Langston' shirts for all staff and students - including our bus drivers and renovation team! Students and staff all gather in the gymnasium to engage in friendly competition through a pie-eating contest and relay contest, and students on the intramural basketball teams were recognized, along with our Step Team and our JROTC club. The event was a highlight of the year for students and staff and helped to cultivate school pride and build a sense of community for our Langston Hughes family."
- Jody Lawrence, Hughes MS
Michelle Keenan, Kings Glen ES
"Happy Holidays. We wanted to take a moment to recognize the outstanding efforts, expertise, and acknowledgments our son has been receiving over the past two years from Dr. Keenan. We are very fortunate and appreciative that she can give our son the gift of music through the viola. Our son is very happy playing the viola, as he learns something new every day from Dr. Keenan."
- a Kings Glen ES Parent
Samuel Elson, Christine Ritter, Kathleen Popovich, Lisa Sonntag, Hayley Hollis, Jay Ann DiGrazia (Kings Glen ES) and Michelle Weaver (Lake Braddock SS)
"Happy Holidays to the Kings Glen School Community. I simply wanted to take a moment to sincerely appreciate the tremendous efforts and contributions that the Kings Glen Staff is taking with our two sons at Kings Glen Elementary School. We have seen a steady progression in our sons' academic performance and abilities throughout their time at Kings Glen, and especially this year. Their teachers and staff led by Mr. Elson and Dr. Ritter have involved many innovative and creative ways to "connect" with our boys, as well as involving the transition process to Lake Braddock Middle School. We are very grateful and happy with their progress. Thank you so much."
- a Kings Glen ES Parent
Ji Ahn, Simon Tham, and Michael Sanchez, Willow Oaks
"Shout out to Ji Ahn, Simon Tham, and Michael Sanchez for walking Career and Transition Services (CTS) through the MyPDE registration process. We had many questions and struggled with the answers – but, you were kind and patient with us. We also appreciate the IT short-cut (Windows/left arrow) that you shared with us. CTS cares about you!"
- Sarah Blake, Willow Oaks
Cindy Reyes Amaya, Glasgow MS
"Cindy joined the student services team soon after the school year started as our office assistant. It was a busy time of year and Cindy threw herself into everything that came with the job (and more) with enthusiasm and a smile. It was as if she had always been working with us! Recent staffing changes have Cindy taking on more responsibilities and with every request that is made of her, Cindy accepts with the most positive attitude. In the short time that Cindy has been with us, she has truly become the backbone of our department! We are so lucky to have her as a part of the student services team and to have her support with whatever we need. We are so grateful for Cindy's warm smile and gentle demeanor which meet and greet every student, family and staff member who enters our doors or calls our office. Thank you, Cindy, for ALL that you do!"
- Jenn Pallotto, Glasgow MS
James Yang and Kennedy Truong, Woodson-IT
"James Yang and Kennedy Truong from Field Services helped out South County MS in a big way! They were both willing and able to assist with a projector move that restored a teacher's classroom setup. all in a day. They move fast and always take care of us. We are sincerely grateful and value your support."
- Jen Barry, South County MS
Julia Dowsett, EddieMae Saines-Walker, Linda Adgate, Lesley Aschenbach, Aldrin ES
"During our Thanksgiving Luncheon, we had a visitor enter Aldrin without permission. Our Front Office Team (comprised of Julia Dowsett, EddieMae Saines-Walker, Linda Adgate, and Lesley Aschenbach), with their keen eye to keep our school safe, spotted the person almost immediately. They quickly approached him and asked how they could help him. Once they found out he wasn't supposed to be at Aldrin, they quickly helped him exit the building. The front office team made sure he remained outside, called the police and kept a close eye on doors to prevent him from re-entering. The Aldrin Front Office Team’s attention to monitoring the front lobby and watching who was entering our doors, most certainly helped us prevent a more serious interaction/situation from occurring. Their quick thinking and selfless actions put the safety of our staff and students above all else, including their own safety. It is for this, and so many other reasons, that I nominate this amazingly talented Front Office Team for a Fairfax Cares award."
- Shane Wolf, Aldrin ES
Dan Seymour, Justice HS
"Our department had a teacher go out on unexpected medical leave and Dan adroitly stepped into the breach, sharing his expertise and lesson plans assisting not only our ailing colleague but her/our students during her absence. His efforts embody the FCPS Cares ethos. Many thanks to Dan!"
- Douglas Pielmeier, Justice HS
Christine Sheehan, Vienna ES (now at Parklawn ES)
"My son was in Ms. Sheehan's kindergarten class, and he could not have had a better year. He learned to read, he made friends, and he really came out of his shell. I contribute his growth to Ms. Sheehan and her patience, organization, and expertise!"
- a Vienna ES parent
Jim Wright, Greenbriar West ES
"Mr. Wright is one of the most giving, knowledgeable and compassionate teachers I've met."
- a Greenbriar West ES parent
Bill Hurd, Fort Hunt ES
"Bill Hurd has been an amazing member of our Foxtastic Family. He is one of the most patient and positive people in the building. He supports all students as much as he possibly can. He learns the names of the patrols and is quick to point out when they are doing something good and recognizes them so they can be given recognition by the school at large. He always has a kind word and a smile for everyone. He goes above and beyond for our students. He took the time to stop by during summer school to get to know some of our incoming Kindergarten students. His enthusiasm is contagious, and he builds relationships with even our sixth graders. Students who have never been in his class know him as a friendly adult in the building who is a safe person to talk to and someone who cares about them. Thanks for always brightening my day and bringing smiles to the faces around you!"
- Alicia Hawks, Fort Hunt ES
Stephen Alexander, Colvin Run ES
"Mr. Alexander is very conscientious and instills that spirit in the class. His classroom has an air of diligence and thoughtfulness. For picture day, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he modified recess because their picture slot came right after recess. He wanted to make sure the kids and their clothing were in decent shape for their photos. In addition, Mr. Alexander came to the Gym and asked for combs for students whom he thought could use them and specifically asked for help from the volunteers to straighten the kids up for the photos. Mr. Alexander is a truly caring teacher and we are very happy to be in his class."
- a Colvin Run ES parent
Victoria McCue, Lorton Transportation Center
"Ms. Victoria McCue always picks up our kids with a smile on her face! Today, she purposely came early, so that my son could hear ‘jingle bells’ on the radio because she knows how much he LOVES that song! But, it’s not just today, she is such a kind and amazing person! I’m 100% sure she made my son’s day (& mine)."
- a Colin Powell ES parent
Meghan Crowley, Pickett Street Annex 1
"Meghan, our new attendance specialist is committed to ensuring that chronic absenteeism is reduced at Lake Braddock. She is not only an integral member of our weekly attendance team meetings, Meghan commits to creating time in her schedule and is an active participant in attendance plan conferences for some of our most challenging of situations. Meghan supports our teams “out of the box” thinking and willingness to have fierce conversations, while always presuming positive intentions with parents and students in an effort to ensure we have really given thought to all possible interventions. Meghan, we appreciate all you do for our students. You’re the best!"
- Amy Soos, Scott Darwin, Ana Cingel, Liz Eby, Lake Braddock SS
Daniel Smith and Lindsey Kearns, Lake Braddock SS
"Daniel and Lindsay organized an outstanding opportunity for a group of staff members at Lake Braddock to attend the VASCD 2019 Conference in Williamsburg Virginia. The conference focused on “Learning Begins with Culture” and the importance of relationships and equity to drive our work. The conference provided us an opportunity to learn from educational professionals from all over the country. It provided us a great opportunity to network with educators from all over Virginia and to build stronger relationships with members of the Lake Braddock staff that we do not always get to work with closely. It was an impactful experience for all of us who attended and energized us for the work ahead of us at Lake Braddock. We all have taken away at least one new thing we committed to implementing this year as a result of this opportunity. It was one of the best professional development opportunities many of us have participated in. We would like to thank them for making it possible and for providing us with the leadership to try new things."
- Daniela Daniels; Courtney Klein; Kristy Carballo; Safia Moten; Kim Hammond; Katelyn Touhey; Pui Sham; David Walrod; Scott Darwin; Betsy Desouza-Wyatt; Sarah Pevner; Kristin Girardin; Allison Rockmann; Ashley Elliott; Jen Bury; Amy Soos; Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS
Cathy Bailey, Orange Hunt ES
"Mrs. Bailey is such an amazing resource! In the past, she has made wonderful recommendations when my daughters have approached her to find a library book their younger brother might like. In this most recent encounter, she went above & beyond to ensure that the girls did not duplicate book fair Christmas purchases for their brother, to the point where I know it took her extra time/work. We are so appreciative of all she does for her students!"
- Liz Busch, Virginia Hills ES
Christina Roehm, Cardinal Forest ES
"Chrissy is such an asset to our school and our community. She is a leader with one of the biggest hearts. I can go on and on about the many ways she contributes to our school like organizing The Giving Tree, helping with Veteran's Day, and serving as a team leader, but this FCPS Cares entry isn't about those things. This is about the pure joy that Chrissy exudes when it comes to celebrating and honoring her students for who they are. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other evening and read this post by Chrissy:
Warning: Proud teacher humble brag
I’m really excited this year because I’ve decided to really delve into celebrating various major celebrations around the world. Each week this month we will be participating in different activities connected to each holiday.
Today was Diwali: The Festival of Lights. I found a great kids video explaining Diwali and we made connections to the importance of lights, family, food, and fun in this and other holidays we are learning about. I also found this dancing video and we had a dance party. One of my students was so excited. His family is from the same area of the world this dance style is popular and boy, did he bust a move! He was so excited showing off his dance skills that all the other kids (and teachers) got super into it too. We pulled out scarves like the dancers and had a blast. I was just excited to get expose kids to all the fun holidays of the world but watching this student make that home-school connection and how proud he looked proved this lesson to be so much more. And all I did was play this video.
Chrissy deserves to be recognized beyond her Facebook post. She is an exemplar of what it means to honor equity in our classrooms. I am inspired by the passion that she has for teaching. It is clear how much time and effort she pours into making meaningful learning experiences for her preschoolers. Cardinal Forest is lucky to have so many amazing teachers, but especially Chrissy. Thank you for all that you do and loving your students so much. Your dedication and warmth do not go unnoticed."
- Michele Meshover, Cardinal Forest ES
Becky Kohm, Herndon MS
"Becky Kohm is the AP in charge of the special education Comprehensive Services Site at Herndon Middle. She is an absolutely phenomenal AP. Her staff is amazing and her CSS is definitely a best practice site. Last year my son transitioned from Private Placement to the CSS site and it went amazingly well, I credit Ms. Kohm and her team for the great transition. This year, despite moving mountains to mainstream my son into Honors classes this year, (which he was recommended for by all of his teachers and high SOL scores due to his 2e profile) it has been a very difficult fall for him. Regardless, Ms. Kohm and her team have been tireless in their work to help my son and our family. She always has time to talk to parents and students, she employs best practices and her staff is kind, compassionate and caring whether the students are having a good day or a difficult day. Thank you to Ms. Kohm and the staff of Herndon Middle!"
- a Herndon MS parent
Emely Marquina, Gatehouse Administration Center
"Emely Marquin started helping me weeks ago because I experienced difficulty and delays with The Social Security Administration Office. HR needed a copy of my Medicare card. My card was delayed and I was worried that without it my benefits would be impacted. Emely worked with me and reviewed letters that I received late from SS services. She detected errors in the letter and alerted me that I was not enrolled in both parts A and B. Social Security made the corrections and Emely made note of it. During this process, Emely answered many questions for me, explained the Medicare process and my benefits completely. She made sure that I did not experience any lapse in benefits. I just received my Medicare card on 12/5. Emely epitomized professionalism and courtesy. She was knowledgeable and could explain all things to me and answer all of my questions. She was patient and kind. She emailed and called me when necessary. When one has to accept getting older and have to learn to manage all that comes with that process, it is comforting to know and feel that someone in Emely’s position cares. Thank you Emely and many thanks to FCPS HR Office of Benefit Services for having someone as special as you on staff. I am grateful."
- a retired speech pathologist from FCPS
Christina McLain, Justice HS
"I would like to nominate my coworker Christina McLain. Since my first day as a new teacher at Justice, Christina welcomed me to the school. Her work style is collaborative and very helpful to everyone around her. In addition, she is welcoming to the newcomer students, creating a positive and student-centered learning environment. I have observed that she works tirelessly to support students in all areas of academic growth and personal growth. She provides life and community building skills through her leadership program/class. In addition, she has written a curriculum to support Level 1 students. Christina is an awesome teacher and truly exhibits the core values of Justice High School."
- Mary Hammond, Justice HS
Betsy Butler, Chesterbrook ES
"Mrs. Butler, Chesterbrook Elementary 2nd grade teacher, organizes and attends a monthly weekend lunch at Pizza Hut with students who completed the Book-It program and earned free pizza. Our daughter, one of her students, is tremendously motivated to complete the reading required to earn Book-It so she can spend time outside school hours on a weekend with her teacher. Ms. Butler's dedication to inspiring her students to become strong readers is truly commendable. I can imagine having a work/life balance while teaching must be challenging yet still, Ms. Butler takes time from her busy weekend to spend time with students. She has been doing this since she began teaching... meeting students for lunch on the weekend monthly for YEARS! I want her to know we really appreciate this!"
- a Chesterbrook ES parent
Denise Williams, Chesterbrook ES
"Mrs. Williams is an exemplary and caring teacher. Even before school started, she was reaching out to make sure that students got off to a good start. Since that time, she has gone above and beyond every day to make sure that students have positive school experiences. Mrs. Williams understands the importance of supporting students so that they can reach their full academic potential. At the same time, she is so kind and caring. She appreciates that students will do their best if their social and emotional needs are also addressed. She has the unique ability to identify important concerns and to maintain ongoing, consistent communication between school and home. Her day doesn't begin and end with the ring of the bell. She is emailing parents from home to make sure that students are ready for school the next day. Her positive and supportive attitude make a difference every day. She is a role model for her colleagues, her students, and their parents. All of us know when someone truly cares. Mrs. Williams' smile conveys everything. She is a warm, empathetic, organized and effective teacher. For all these reasons, her contributions should be recognized."
- Christine Leonard, Chesterbrook ES
Mike Porterfield, Riverside ES
"Mike Porterfield has been with us at Riverside for many years as a PE teacher, Wellness Committee member, FSAC member, Patrol Sponsor, Team Leader, and most importantly a solid and consistent role model for our students. This man shows up every day to be a positive influence for our students and brings a “Can do” attitude to support so many school initiatives that help us realize our vision. His voice is loud and he can be heard throughout the halls greeting students and colleagues with a “Good Morning” and you might see him pulling a student aside to help take advantage of a teachable moment. His “Effort and Attitude” is a model for our school culture and he is widely respected by our entire team. Over the past few years, Mike has come to embody the most desired behaviors that we look for in our staff and it is people like him that do the little things right each day that make Riverside a special place to work and learn. Thanks, Mike, for stepping up as a teacher leader and for all you do to make our students successful people."
- Paul Basdekis, Riverside ES
Allison Loht, Greenbriar East ES
"Aly is a caring coworker who always looks out for people in the building. She will share an apple with you if you don’t have lunch, cover your duty unexpectedly, and so much more. She is a wonderful counselor!"
- Melissa Hoffman, Greenbriar East ES
- Melissa Hoffman, Greenbriar East ES
Manuel Gomez Portillo, Leis Center
"Manny has worked with several of our students and informed the work of our MTSS team with some of our students with interrupted educational experiences. He is especially positive and works extremely well with our school team. Every time he comes we learn so much and our teachers and students are so much better off with his support!"
- Christopher Latham, Lorton Station ES
David NeSmith, Parklawn ES
"At around 10 a.m. on October 31, Parklawn Elementary School parking lot was jammed with costumed students; their parents; and their cars for Halloween Parade. Bus drivers returned from morning runs unable to park their buses or retrieve their personal vehicles. On his own initiative, David NeSmith directed traffic away from the bus parking area, safely clearing away parents’ vehicles, and allowing buses to park sooner. His actions helped both the school and other bus crews."
- Joe Landson, Parklawn ES
Sara Forsyth, Glen Forest ES
"Sara is a hard-working colleague that always goes the extra mile to make sure our students and 3rd-grade team are getting the experiences they need to be successful. For the past two years, Sara has taken on the task of organizing field trips for our entire grade level. She organizes everything for the team and our students down to the permission slips and lunch count. Also, Sara is a math facilitator for our team. She has a calm way of facilitating our meetings so they are meaningful and productive. Thank you for all you do Sara!"
- R. Pipitone, Glen Forest ES
Judith Tuebner, Sangster ES
"Ms. Tuebner has a unique gift of inspiring confidence and courage in her students. I'm honestly not sure she even realizes how amazing she is or the impact she has on the kids she works with. My daughter has been lucky enough to have Ms. Tuebner as her PE teacher for the majority of her time at Sangster. Over the last four years, I've watched my daughter develop a "never give up" attitude about everything related to PE and today she finally achieved a goal that no one in her family has every accomplished--she did a cartwheel! Before Thanksgiving Break, my daughter talked about how she got extra help from Ms. Tuebner to learn how to do a cartwheel. Somehow, Ms. Tuebner gave up her planning time or maybe her lunch to work with my daughter one on one until she finally got it right. To most, a cartwheel might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but to a little girl who is a perfectionist and hates to not be able to do it "right" the first time, doing a cartwheel meant the world to her--Ms. Tuebner taught her that she can do anything with a little bit of effort and that's a lesson she can carry with her in everything she does--inside and outside of school."
- a Sangster ES parent
Maggie Hummel, Kilmer MS
"Maggie is a special education teacher at Kilmer Middle School who never hesitates to help out her colleagues. Multiple times during the last two months, Maggie has volunteered to give up her planning periods to come into my classroom to give additional support to a student with special education needs because there was not an IA available and this student often needs individualized attention and support during direct instruction and writing tasks. Maggie is always available to brainstorm strategies to meet the needs of all special education students, but her support of this particular student is especially exceptional because she does not personally teach him. When she offered to help, she gave up multiple planning periods to observe in my classroom and additional hours after school to brainstorm ways to meet his needs. She truly embodies the idea that 'all students are our students'."
- Kristen Mattix, Kilmer MS
Yuston Arana Zapata, Kilmer MS
"Yuston Arana has been the building supervisor at Kilmer MS since October 2018. From his first day, he demonstrated his enthusiasm and dedication to our school. He is responsive to faculty needs, going above and beyond in following up on broken equipment or other immediate needs. He leads by example, and will be sorely missed when he moves on to high school."
- Debra David, Kilmer MS
Alison Neun and Jody McCabe, Robinson SS
"I was able to observe Mrs. Neun's team-taught English 12 classroom. Mrs. Neun and Mrs. McCabe created a Survivor activity throughout a unit where students are reading The Road The book is an intense and difficult read, but Mrs. Neun and Mrs. McCabe were able to create an activity and atmosphere where students are perpetually engaged in learning. It is clear they have taken time to create meaningful relationships with their students, which is evident daily in their classroom. Great job!!"
- Daniel Clements, Robinson SS
Kim Horn, Daniels Run ES
"My current student and her past student broke his leg playing soccer on the field. She saw us through her classroom window, got coverage and came to support both me and the student through that painful time. After she was sure that the student had a reliable way to school every morning, so they wouldn’t have to walk to school on crutches in the morning. She is constantly checking in with him and showing her support for him and his family any time she can. The student and I both see just how much she cares for her students even after they have left her classroom."
- Monica Negron, Daniels Run ES
Jennifer Zabel, Traci Lindsay-Luper, Chris Berg-Hoggatt Frost Middle School
"I actually have never had a meeting where you guys weren't already ahead of what I was already thinking and everyone was so kind. It makes a huge difference walking in when you're already raw waiting to see what’s going to be said about your kid. These ladies are an incredible team. They support students, families, and staff in a million ways each and every day. Their work has such a positive impact on our school culture and community. Special education meetings can be really daunting for parents and they work really hard to make sure parents understand, participate, and feel valued."
- a Frost MS parent
Jeff Heitzmann, Wilton Woods
"Jeff stepped up to take the lead in the migration of the software stored on two servers that need to be decommissioned due to the OS support expiring soon. He recognized that the customer staff that would normally perform this work was depleted and inexperienced in the process. He accomplished the entire process in a seamless fashion that meant no downtime to the user community. It should be noted that this was done as he continued to perform his regular duties as a database engineer and software developer."
- Isaac Randall, Wilton Woods
Lyndsey Reinheimer, West Potomac HS
"Ms. Reinheimer is an exemplary teacher. She sincerely enjoys and takes pride in teaching the most challenging and vulnerable students. Although one of the strongest teachers in the building, she is constantly searching for ways to improve and enhance her class. She structures her entire class around the needs of her students and is able to do so because she asks for their feedback and listens to their concerns. She even buys her students pizza on test day!!"
- Mike Henrich, West Potomac HS