FCPS Cares - March 2019

By Department of Human Resources
FCPS Cares
March 04, 2019

To recognize an employee with an FCPS Cares, please visit our submission page.

To view past submissions, please visit our previous submissions page

FCPS Cares of the Month Recipients

Central Office: Kathy Ryan, Gatehouse Administration Center

"While I selected only one day, Kathy Ryan goes above and beyond every day to help her colleagues, coworkers, and the community. Through the Collect for Kids campaign, she works tirelessly to ensure FCPS students in need are equipped with the supplies that will help them succeed. This involves countless hours of preparation, phone calls, packing/sorting and delivering supplies.  In addition, she has coordinated drives for coats, as well as prom gowns and accessories for students who might otherwise go without. Despite being located apart from her OCCR colleagues, she is always willing to assist them with questions, website help or by answering a multitude of phone calls with patience, knowledge, and compassion. She is an outstanding ambassador for FCPS with community and business partners and the general public."

- Amy Verdin, Gatehouse Administration Center

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Region 1: Sarah Ladwig, South Lakes HS

"Mrs. Ladwig is a  very caring and lovely teacher. During my junior year, I wasn't able to go to her class on the 1st day of school because there was a problem with my class schedule. When I went to her class the next day I was very shy because everybody had already gotten the chance to know each other, but she made me feel very welcome and introduced me to some of the students which made me feel at ease. She is a very thoughtful and understanding teacher. Whenever I didn't understand something in class, she would gladly explain everything to me. She would always come to class with a cheerful smile. I loved how she complimented us whenever we did something well and encouraged us when we felt like we weren't doing well in class. Overall, Mrs.Ladwig is a wonderful teacher and I hope that she has a great future and enjoys her life."

- a South Lakes HS student

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longfellowRegion 2: Riley Barrows, Longfellow MS

"Longfellow's After School Specialist, Riley Barrows saved the day! He truly went above and beyond the expectations of a staff member during school today. During lunch duty supervision, a student had a water bottle top stuck in her throat. After hearing that a student was choking. He rushed over to her and began to do the Heimlich maneuver. With the help of the school nurse, Robin Williams they were able to dislodge the bottle top and save her life! Riley is Longfellow's hero!"

- Debbie Wright, Longfellow MS

"Riley was called to hero action when our daughter choked on a bottle cap. At lunchtime, our daughter made the wise decision to play with a bottle cap in her mouth, when it made its way down her throat where it got stuck. Within 10 seconds, Riley reacted to the shouts of students and another teacher to escort her outside to complete the Heimlich maneuver. Truly scary. If not for the training and the confidence of this hero, I hate to think of what could have happened. PLEASE extend a total acknowledgment of our thanks and appreciation for this hero jumping without hesitation and saving our daughters LIFE! I came to the school to pick up a startled daughter and to personally thank Riley for his heroic efforts. I asked him to walk me through the step-by-step hero-time moves that he made. Amazing call to action. So thankful."

- a Longfellow MS parent

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Region 3: Esmeralda Castro, Claudia Epes, Nohemi Castro, Marisa Del Cid, Mayra Figueroa, Yaa Achampoma, Elva Castro, Martha D. Martinez, Yanell De Tobar, Asia Mitchell, and Marialma Gautier, Hybla Valley ES Food Services (Pictured)

"On Monday, February 25th, the power went out at Hybla Valley ES early in the morning. The regular Food Services manager was on leave and the floating manager was just out of training. The Food Services staff stepped up and did an incredible job! They served 580 students breakfast in the Classroom and 850 bag lunches in the dark! Every student received a meal and they never missed a beat! Great job, everyone!"

- Lisa Diapoulis, Energy Zone Food Services Center

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Region 4: Leigh Ashurst, Keene Mill ES

"My 3 kids have been in multiple elementary schools, but none with a guidance counselor as amazing as Leigh Ashurst. Both of my kids at Keene Mill love her. Getting to do a lunch bunch with her is the highlight of the day (and my kids say that their peers fight over who gets to eat lunch with her each day). She knows all of the kids and seems to genuinely love her job. My daughter has struggled with some issues as well as some anxiety about workload and Ms. Ashurst has always been there for her. She says, "Ms. Ashurst always talks to me and helps me figure out how to help work on a situation, but never makes me feel stupid or like she doesn't have time for me. I love going to see her. Every day I get to spend time with her is a good day for me." I have never met a student or parent who didn't think she was amazing. She's patient, funny, caring, and it's clear the kids trust her implicitly (which is huge as a guidance counselor). I feel better knowing that she is there not only for my own kid, but for any kid who is struggling with something. She does Keene Mill proud every day, and I'm so thrilled she is in my children's lives."

- a Keene Mill ES parent

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Gina Shelton, Tracy Cabacoy, Alan Borhauer, Chrissy Brownson, and Mary Breslin, Providence ES

"March 14th is a day that many refer to as Pi Day. Pie is a nice bonus but even better than pie is a Big Thinker/Pi/STEAM Night Day! Throughout the day, teachers integrated STEAM and age-appropriate Pi challenges into their curriculum. The culminating event was STEAM Night at PES. I would like to give a huge shout out to the FOCUS team/organizers of STEAM Night: Gina Shelton, Tracy Cabacoy, Alan Borhauer, Chrissy Brownson and Mary Breslin. These five individuals worked tirelessly to organize a night that was fun, innovative and exciting for all who attended.  There were Escape Rooms (one for K-2, another for 3-6), Ozobot activities, Pi Exploration (one for K-3, another for 4-6), a wind turbine activity room,  a DIY phone speaker activity, and seven STEM-related career presenters! If I used three words to describe the children who attended this event they would be: engaged, enthusiastic and entertained! Whether it was getting your blood pressure checked, using innovator skills to build a wind rotor to light an LED bulb, talking to an engineer or collaborating to solve clues to "breakout" of a classroom, this was a fun night for all who attended and the parents had as much (if not more!) fun as the kids! Gina, Tracy, Alan, Chrissy, and Mary thank you for CARING about the kids at PES. Thank you for your dedication, not just during the STEAM night, but EVERY day. All of you are appreciated MORE than Pi!"

- Stacy Greene, Providence ES

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Other FCPS Cares of the Month Submissions for March 2019

Elizabeth Hayes, Transition Support Resource Center - Fairfax

"Beth handles about 100 different tasks a day in the "office" at TSRC-Fairfax.  It is a complex, fluid environment with demands, issues, and emergencies flying around at all times. Beth knows everything, helps with everything, gets to the bottom of every problem, and with a smile and good cheer on display at all times. I don't know how she does it, but I am in awe of such a terrific FCPS employee!"

- John Barba, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Michelle Keenan, Kings Glen ES

"It’s so wonderful to have such a dedicated employee like Dr. Keenan. She has made learning the violin, much easier for my son and certainly other children. She gives extra time and positive reinforcement, and it shows as I have a kid who’s enthusiastic about music."

- a Kings Glen ES parent

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Benjamin Nowak, Falls Church HS

"I'd like to recognize Benjamin Nowak, for leading FCHS through a tragic event. His communication to parents and the community was informative and from the heart. His immediate response to provide support to students and families should be commended."

- a Falls Church HS parent

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Alan Downing, Woodson IT

"Alan, who always does a wonderful job supporting our school, recently did above and beyond for us. We had a situation where 3 of our mobile labs all decided to have issues the same day with locks and internal power strips not functioning. This was a bigger deal than normal because each cart had 16 laptops on them and therefore 48 computers were temporarily inaccessible to our students. Alan came out the same day we submitted the ticket and fixed all 3 of them and we had minimal downtime as a result. We know that our field service techs are quite busy and for Alan to get out to help us on the same day was truly amazing and very much appreciated. As the TSSpec at Fairhill, I just wanted to take a moment to thank Alan, and more importantly, to let his superiors know how important and critical his work is to help our technology function on a daily basis. Thank you, Alan, so very much!"

- Adrian Wolfington, Fairhill ES

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Kathleen Dickinson Jardine, Oakton ES

"Mrs. Jardine has created a classroom in which my 5th-grade daughter feels empowered to create her own educational path through project-based learning. My daughter has learned to take responsibility for her own work and for working well with group members, building her ability to collaborate. She takes pride in what she produces and appreciates help from peer editors. She also takes pride in being able to help others with editing. Mrs. Jardine's classroom is also a place where every student feels valued for who they are. Fifth-grade girls are not always inclusive but Mrs. Jardine works with them through lunch bunches to try to make sure everyone is getting along and drama stays in check. She celebrates the interests and accomplishments of all of her students. My daughter is lucky to have her as her teacher."

- an Oakton ES parent

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 Olivia Tomaselli, Greenbriar East ES

"Thank you for always having my back! Your support means a lot. Thank you also for being open to trying new things!"

- Jacquelyn Argodale, Greenbriar East ES

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Margarita Ioannou, Gatehouse Administration Center

"I am a middle school counselor and was working with a child who divulged information that needed to immediately be brought to her parents' attention, but unfortunately, the parents only spoke Russian. With only two Russian interpreters in FCPS, I called both, and Margarita responded. Margarita asked no questions and immediately conference-called with myself and the parent on multiple occasions over one day's time. She was instrumental in helping parents understand exactly what was transpiring with their child and did so in a caring, compassionate and professional manner. I have never met Margarita in person, but I have worked with many interpreters over the course of my 22 years in FCPS and I can say that she is one of the best I have ever worked with. Her skill, kindness, and ability to maintain confidentiality under difficult circumstances was outstanding. Many sincere and heartfelt thanks, Margarita!"

- Kathy Hudson, Franklin MS

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Danielle Danz, Key MS

"Danielle is the IB Coach at our school but she wears many 'instructional' hats. She has helped me tremendously in my role as teacher and CT lead. Danielle is an incredible sounding board when I need to vent or to gain insights and advice. Our school is so lucky to have Danielle on staff and I just wanted to acknowledge her professionalism and thoughtfulness."

- Patrice Heasly, Key MS

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Kimberlee Shahin, Marshall HS

"Kim is the talented school-based technology specialist and web curator at Marshall High School. In her year and a half at the school, she has completely transformed the culture of the school in terms of how communication is communicated on the school website. Her first task at Marshall was helping to migrate the current school website to the new Drupal platform. While never any easy task at any high school, it was particularly more complicated at Marshall because of the many components on the school site that were being farmed out to individual external sites that were not run from the school. Kim’s involvement in the migration process in the summer of 2017 impressed me then and her complete dedication to the Marshall High School from that moment on as amazed me since. Kim has done such an incredible job with her school site that it is relied on as the top stakeholder communication tool to the Statesmen community. The website has an identity of its own that is, in many ways, different from the other schools, even the very best. Kim’s Marshall site is full of announcements, events, and features that are put on the site entirely by her. Because of Kim’s commitment to making the website unique and complete in such a robust way, Marshall’s website has its own identity as an extension of the happenings of the school. There just aren’t any holes. The website has every sporting event (for each level), each school play, orchestra concert, art exhibition, Student Services presentation, recognition ceremony, etc. in its events section. The announcements section has such things as Rising 9th Grade Orientation presentations, 2019-20 course offerings, student parking information, student technology resources, the entire AP, SOL, and end of year exam schedule, information about the school going to FCPSOn in 2019-20. In the last five weeks alone, Kim has crafted diverse features about the upcoming ‘The Sound of Music’ school musical, how the school participated in International Women’s Day, highlights from the DECA competition, Swim and Dive State Recognition, PTSA Reflections Art Contest Winners, and the Marshall staff members recognized as the school’s 2019 Outstanding Employee representatives. Marshall is just one of two high schools in all of FCPS to use the websites online attendance form feature. Because of this, there is a much more streamlined process for reporting attendance, both for attendance office staff members as well as for parents. Kim continually replaces the homepage photo with pictures the perfectly showcased academics, arts, athletics, and student life in the school, each photo showing smiling faces while representing a different element of the student body. The Marshall High School website is the face of the school to those who do not attend the school as students or work there as a staff member. It is an ideal snapshot of what happens each day in the school. Because of Kim’s dedication, not just to the homepage, but to all of the subpages throughout the site, students, parents, staff, community members, and other stakeholders are 100% in-tune with the daily happenings of the school. Her enthusiasm and dedication to the website are contagious. Often, we are using the Marshall High School site as the model that we hope many of the other schools in the system try to emulate. Thank you, Kim!"

- Bryan Buser, Gatehouse Administration Center

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Erum Gilani, Lorton Transportation Center

"Ms. Gilani is my son's van driver. My autistic son is 16 year old who currently goes to Alternative Path Training School for his need. My son says she is a good listener to him and encourages him to have great day. She plays the radio station that my son loves to listen to and it helps him to be ready for a great day! She is very patient with my son's frustrations. My son says driving to school with her is just like driving with mom. I really want to tell her how great job she is doing for my son! I really want to thank to her. My son says she is his driver all the time; she knows him and always takes care of him!"

- an FCPS parent

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Kenneth May, Daryl Austin, Daniel Patterson, Carl VanDoren, and Sean Smith, Lake Braddock SS

"During the Wellness/Depression Screening at our school, a student suddenly exited the lecture hall and we had reason to believe that she was at risk for harm to herself. I tried to find the student but was unable to locate her. At that point, I asked the security staff for help. All the members of the security team jumped into action to help me locate the student. We searched the bathrooms, hallways, and classrooms. The student was eventually found when she returned to class at the end of the period to retrieve her belongings. It was quite a team effort in making sure this student was safe and got the help she needed. The situation highlighted the wonderful efforts of our security team. They are always out in the halls making sure students are following rules and remaining safe in our building. I am grateful to be part of the Lake Braddock Team and wanted to say thank you to the Security Staff: Kenneth May, Daryl Austin, Daniel Patterson, Carl VanDoren, and Sean Smith. I feel safer here at LBSS knowing these staff members have all of our backs."

- Dianne Stansbery, Lake Braddock  SS

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Krista Giunchi, Colvin Run ES

"Krista in the front office is always so warm, welcoming, and helpful.
When I was there this week for a meeting, she also helped to get my preschooler registered. Whether I have trouble with printing a visitor badge or am there to pick up my son for a doctor's appointment, Krista has a smile and extends a helping hand. Thanks to Krista for making CRES so awesome!"

- a Colvin Run ES parent

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Sheri Ruffle,  Franklin MS

"As our School Librarian at Franklin Middle School, Sheri Ruffle maintains a very busy schedule by providing learning opportunities for students on a regular basis. Although she has many tasks to complete, she always works with the best interest of our students at heart. Sheri very generously volunteered her time to work with students who were applying to the high school College Partnership Program this spring. She sponsored an essay writing workshop during lunches for these students, offering her expertise in assisting students with the essays required for their CPP applications. Although this is not Sheri's responsibility, she volunteered her time to help these students with this process without being asked. Sheri's kindness, thoughtfulness, and support for our students are greatly appreciated."

- Tammi Bailey-Case, Franklin MS

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Christie Day, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Christie is an incredibly caring and thoughtful educator. It comes through in EVERY SINGLE thing she does. Because she shared her compassionate heart and vast expertise we were able to plan a day of professional learning for teacher leaders from around the county that met the varied needs in the room. I'm so thankful for her as a thinking partner, as a co-planner and as someone I get to facilitate professional learning with! She pushes me to consider other perspectives and grow my own practice EVERY time we work together!"

- Margaret Sisler, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Natalie Baumstark, Sprague Technology Center

"Natalie's ability and patience is so appreciated! She has helped me in a
website redesign project that was critical to our work. Her suggestions
were offered with genuine kindness and her willingness to jump in and do the work alongside me is something for which I cannot thank her enough!   All this in addition to her eye for design, graphic creation and digital organization made her a perfect partner that I couldn't have completed this project without! Thank you, Natalie!"

- Margaret Sisler, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Dianne Stansberry, Carleen McKenzie, Mary Olsen, and Janene Pack, Lake Braddock SS

"This year we have added four new teammates to our High School Student Services Department and all have been outstanding in, not only connecting with staff but students alike. Dianne, Carleen, Mary, and Janene, while each different in their approach, possess a skill set that supports and meets students where they are, all while getting them to where they need and ultimately want to be. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with each one of these talented professionals as we strive to support our students."

- Amy Soos, Lake Braddock SS

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Rahul Nooniwal, Energy Zone Food Service Center

"Rahul, an operations specialist supervising 26 FCPS kitchens, is an inspiration and a pleasure to work with. He has high standards and sets a positive example while also caring deeply for his team and helping them grow. When I first started as the new Kitchen Manager, Rahul took the time to provide specific guidance on how to organize the kitchen to make sure everything was ready to provide healthy breakfast and lunches for the kids to enjoy. He also helped me to create positive relationships with coworkers and faculty and stressed that strong positive relationships with faculty, staff, and students, are very important. Whenever I ran into any issues or had any questions, good or bad, big or small, he would respond right away. I've been working at FCPS for almost 10 years and his guidance has helped me grow and ensure our students receive the highest quality of food service they deserve. It's not just me and our school, Rahul cares about each employee, he knows all of his staff by name, and interacts with them on his frequent on-site visits. Rahul makes FCPS better and an inspiring place to work, and I'm very happy to be working with him."

- Misil Martin, Deer Park ES

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Christine Ojeda, Churchill Road ES

"Christine Ojeda gave up her lunch time to come to our Publishing Party in 1st-grade. She sat with the students whose parents weren't able to make the celebration. Her students from last year were thrilled to see her and they thought they were even more special because she was there to celebrate and listen to the books they had written.

- Lisa Williams, Churchill Road ES

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Anne Scarano and Bertha Lozano, Churchill Road ES

"Anne Scarano and Bertha Lozano took time out of their planning to come to our Publishing Party in 1st-grade. They sat with the students whose parents weren't able to make the celebration. They made each student feel special as they attentively listened to them share their books.

- Lisa Williams, Churchill Road ES

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Sandi Poteet, Eagle View ES

"Ms. Poteet was my son's 6th-grade teacher for 2017-2018. My son is now at Lanier Middle School, and after having gone to Eagle View from kindergarten to 6th-grade, still talks about her. She is the most caring and approachable teacher of all times. She ensured kids understood the importance of learning and excelling. Ms. Poteet helped my son gain confidence, a higher level of education, and above all, contribute towards a better tomorrow. I really hope Ms. Poteet can share some of her wisdom for all upcoming teachers serving our community."

-  a former Eagle View ES parent

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Liz Velazco, Lanier MS

"As a volunteer mentor for FCPS for over 5 years, Ms. Velazco is one of the most engaged counselors that I have worked with. This is my second year volunteering at Lanier, and she has been the key link for pairing the student and me. She has taken the time to really assess potential students that can benefit from a mentor, to stay connected throughout the school year. She is extremely professional, cooperative and flexible to arrange meetings and provide all necessary support. Ms. Velazco has gone above and beyond to assist all students within reach, but also kept constant communication with mentor participants. She is the true definition of public service and applies the Lanier mission to inspire growth and lifelong learning for students and parents every single day."

- a Lanier MS volunteer

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David Schlemmer, Edison HS

"Mr. Schlemmer has gone above and beyond to support his students at Edison, and in particular, has made a huge difference in the success of my son, who is autistic. He went out of his way to ensure that my son not only feels safe and included at school, but also that my son is able to pursue his passion for recycling. Mr. Schlemmer even found a place in student services where my son can store bags of recycling he finds in the halls in between classes!  Mr. Schlemmer genuinely gets to know his students and their interests and helps them connect those interests to goals and future plans. He is exemplary and very worthy of this recognition."

- an Edison HS parent

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Claire Donahoe, Virginia Hills Early Childhood Center

"Ms. Claire goes above and beyond every week when she works with my son. She lately has been helping him with his separation anxiety and working with him independently. Each week she has been bringing him a prize if he successfully separates from me for the entire teaching lesson and because of this, he is very motivated to be brave and it decreases his anxiety. In addition, she continues to impress me with the different skills he is achieving in his fine motor development as she works with him each week. Ms. Claire is always very creative and has a theme that each lesson follows each week.  We look forward to her visits every week so much and are so grateful for her!"

- an FCPS parent

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Lula Hiwot, Edison HS

"I have the pleasure of seeing and talking with Lula when Edison HS hosts the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council. This brings in about students from every high school for a 3-hour meeting. Our March meeting is especially significant as it is attended by Dr. Brabrand, RAS, and school board members. As usual, Lula is always attentive to our preparation (room set up and communication) and responsive to any last minute requests (batteries, AV needs). Additionally, she is, simply put, a welcoming presence. This is especially noteworthy. Her ability to build relationships and convey the sentiment to guests that Edison is "your home" sets the tone for a successful experience. For all that Lula has done over the years, I am extremely grateful."

Craig Perrier, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Aliceson Wirth, Kent Gardens ES

"Aliceson is a sped teacher who truly believes in the potential of her students and puts forth great effort in providing the support they need to succeed. She is patient, kind, and provides guidance. She is very encouraging and celebrates our son's accomplishments and abilities. When he is having a difficult day, she can turn things around with a hug or some kind words."

- a Kent Gardens ES parent

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Marly Jerome-Featherson, McLean HS

"Marly takes care of over 2,000 students at MHS yet she makes each parent, child, caretaker, and advocates for the intellectually or emotionally disabled individuals, feel cared for and listened to. She goes above and beyond to help students and families. She brings solutions and resources to families in need. Thank you for being an advocate for our families and students. You are our angel on earth. We appreciate you so very much."

- a McLean HS parent

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Karen Wells, Fairfax Villa ES 

"While I am documenting one specific occurrence, the story I am about to relay is a normal interaction with Ms. Wells. Yesterday I was called to the school to pick up my son because he had a stomach bug. I walked in and Ms. Wells arrived with his backpack that she had collected from his classroom and immediately knew who I was and who I was there for. Today, when I walked in to drop off some supplies for the classroom, Ms. Wells quickly greeted me and asked about my son. I am sure she hears all about students all day long, but she stops what she is doing and listens carefully. Additionally, several weeks back, a student's father passed away. Ms. Wells attended the funeral to show support for the student. She is the first face parents see when they enter the office and I believe she sets the tone for our wonderful little community school."

- a Fairfax Villa ES parent

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Dawn Shaw, Bren Mar Park ES

"Every morning when we get to school, we are happily greeted by Dawn in the office as the first person we see. She always asks how we are doing and if we have any problems or concerns, she is there to offer advice. If we have to abruptly leave and get a sub because of a family illness or other emergency, she always manages to make it work. If we have professional development, she helps us find a great substitute to teach our class. Dawn is also so amazing to kids who have to come to the office. She is often found comforting those who have a late parent pick-up from kiss and ride or may have missed their bus. Every day, she also helps parents when they come into our school with any issues and directs them to the right avenues to get help. She does it all and we are so lucky to have her here."

- Shannon Springfield, Bren Mar Park ES 

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Ha Nguyen, Garfield ES

"Hanna is an amazing second year teacher who goes above and beyond for her students. She welcomes all students each morning with a smile and a handshake or side hug. She makes sure to pull aside students who need a little pep talk each morning. Hanna takes her lunch time to have lunch bunches with students and really build strong bonds with them. In addition, Hanna is teaching an afternoon hip hop club and also teaches a fifth grade class before school science club."

- Alicia Ogrodny, Garfield ES

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Jennifer Cowett, Lees Corner ES

"Mrs. Cowett and her team have been an amazing support to our son and us. They have been wonderfully welcoming us to the elementary school experience and keeping us informed about daily events and successes. It has been a delight watching our son grow and overcome challenges. We cannot say enough about what a joy Mrs. Cowett is! She and her team of special education teachers are truly making life-altering differences in their students. Thank you!"

- a Lees Corner ES parent

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Allison Hough, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Allison has gone above and beyond supporting curriculum writing and professional projects for HS Science. She dedicates time weekly to plan and collaborate on writing lessons for Biology and Environmental Science courses. Allison thoughtfully plans for how to maximize professional development to include ESOL support for science teachers. She enriches every lesson and PD that she collaborates on."

- Yaara Crane, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Catherine Fernandez Martell, Fairhill ES

"Mrs. Fernandez Martell is the absolute best. Since the beginning of the year, she has been consistent in putting the children first, in finding their strengths, and in her enthusiastic teaching methods. She called me to discuss my son's progress and realized something about him that no one had realized before. She makes herself available to talk to and I feel I can talk to her about anything concerning my son. Also, she makes it easy for parents by providing a calendar with a schedule of test dates, projects, and homework due dates. I really appreciate knowing about things in advance and it makes everything organized. This is definitely something all teachers should adopt. Thank you, Mrs. Fernandez Martell!"

- a Fairhill ES parent

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Andrew Mitchell, Fairhill ES

"Mr. Mitchell has a wonderful demeanor and I am so glad that he is the counselor at Fairhill Elementary. He called me about something that had happened and I was so pleased with how he handled everything. It really means a lot when a teacher or counselor calls you to talk to you about your child. It shows that they care. Thanks, Mr. Mitchell!"

- a Fairhill ES parent

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Nicole Taruc, Fairhill ES

"Mrs. Taruc is out of this world. She helped me this morning when I forgot to turn something in and she was so responsive and available to help me right away. I am so thankful that she is my son's teacher. She is always so helpful no matter what. She encourages him like no other. She is truly the best second grade teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Taruc."

- a Fairhill ES parent

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All Staff at Lynbrook ES 

"That Friday morning began with the unsettling news that one of the apartment buildings down the street where our students live was on fire. The staff gathered in the front hallway before school to receive the news and to offer a moment of silence to express, in our own personal way, our support and strength to our families. We then organized ourselves - teachers at their doors to welcome students with hugs and provide as much normalcy as possible. All other staff who were available spread out from the school to the apartments. To see the long line of staff walking down Backlick Road (most dressed in green; it was, after all, "Lenny Day" at school) to bring our children to school, was an emotional experience. We ARE a Lynbrook family! Because buses couldn't get into the apartment complex due to the emergency vehicles, we walked those students to school with the help of our kind local policeman who held traffic for us. Student services, parent liaisons, and others rallied to find out which families were displaced and what support was needed. Families are still thanking the school, often through tears, for the outpouring of care that was shown to the Lynbrook community. They know we love their children and that our school is their home away from home. I couldn't be prouder to work on a staff like this that comes together in the true spirit of family!"

- Karen Baxter, Lynbrook ES 

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Wael Mosa, Energy Zone Food Service Center

"We were so thankful for Wael Mosa's support of our cafeteria today. He was working in a substitute capacity for our current cafeteria manager. He was friendly, supportive and responsive to our school needs, including a bit of a "food emergency" that occurred with our fourth graders returning late from a field trip. He handled this positively and with exemplary professionalism. It was a pleasure working with Mr. Mosa today."

- Kevin Morris, Groveton ES

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Keith Walker, Wilton Woods Technology Center

"Many thanks to Keith and his team for assisting Lanier with SIS and technology issues. You make it easier to do our jobs by doing yours so well. You take excellent care of us!"

- Kathryn Teague, Lanier MS

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Steve Snow, Irving MS

"I recently started covering Washington Irving while a coworker is out on maternity leave. Steve has been a huge help as I get to know the students and the building. He has helped troubleshoot technology issues on site between my visits to the school and has made sure that students have access to school-based technology. He constantly puts students first and is an amazing part if the WIMS school community. Thanks, Steve!"

- Caitlin Radek, Instructional Programs Support Center

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Patricia Fausser, Lake Braddock SS

"Pat Fausser goes above and beyond for students and staff consistently. Her goal is to ensure that student needs are met and that often requires giving the staff in Middle School Student Services A LOT of help and support. In recent weeks, we've been short-handed in our office and Pat has stepped right up to do whatever it takes to keep our office running smoothly. While this action isn't surprising, her efforts are greatly appreciated. Pat's dedication to our students and staff is a big reason why Lake Braddock Middle School Student Services is a place where students can find support and a safe place to fall when faced with challenging circumstances. We are extremely fortunate to have her as the face of our department."

- Tracey Butler-Johnson, Lake Braddock SS

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Gabriel Frimpong, Marina Garcia, Tuan Duong, Yasmin Ramirez, and Pedro Mercedes, Sideburn Support Center

"Huge thank you to Gabriel, Marina, Tuan, Yasmin, and Pedro, for all of their custodial assistance while our building supervisor was out on extended leave. They worked tirelessly to keep us sparkling, inside and outside of the building. Numerous employees commented to me about how nice the building has looked. Thank you for contributing to our positive working environment!"

- Tracey Jewell, Sprague Technology Center

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Shobana Sen, Carmen Saravia, Dinora Del Cid, Eyman Maldonado, Liqin Liu, Nghia Tang, and
Nguyet My Tran, Gatehouse Administration Center

"I think the Gatehouse Café staff does an outstanding job on a consistent basis. The salad bar in particular always stands out and really made my day earlier this week. On a daily basis, it so bright, colorful and professionally arranged and displayed.  I had to resist the temptation to grab a fork and pull a chair up to it and start eating. I worked in the commercial food service industry and I know how challenging this work is, and how thankless it can be. On a daily basis, everyone in the Café is friendly, helpful and provides us all with great food at an affordable price. I sincerely want to thank everyone in the Gatehouse Café for providing such delicious and healthy food, excellent staff and great service every day."

- Richard Michelback, Gatehouse Administration Center

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Liz Grozis, Herndon HS

"If only all high school teachers were as wonderful as Elizabeth Grozis! Mrs. Grozis is everything you could hope for in a Pre-Calculus teacher and then some. My daughter lacks confidence in her math ability and has struggled with many of the concepts this year. Mrs. Grozis has been beyond patient and super flexible, working with her both before and after school to help her master the content. She is also very encouraging, recognizing the hard work that my daughter is putting in, even when her grades don't reflect that work. We appreciate all of her support and positivity this year. Thank you, Mrs. Grozis, for all that you do!"

- a Herndon HS parent

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Teresa Woods, Lorton Transportation Center

"Ms. Teresa is very accommodating, caring, and loving to one of the autism students who rides her bus. She knows he can't sit for extended periods of time, so she buys him toys, books, and gum to keep him occupied during the ride. Ms. Teresa purposefully gets to know the student, his interests, and how to work best with him. She has made an amazing connection and relationship with him. She is willing to do whatever it takes to make his bus ride the most enjoyable. On top of that, she has a whole bus full of other students who love and adore her! We are so grateful for Ms. Teresa!"

- Ann Sheehan, Silverbrook ES

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Nancy Chang, Bryant Alternative Learning Center

"We are a small school, but the majority of our students come from low-income and/or difficult living situations.  Recognizing that many of their needs were not being met, Ms. Chang single-handedly collected donations from the community and established a school-based food pantry for the students. Once a week, they are able to request non-perishable food to take home over the weekend, along with a variety of personal hygiene items. A full one-third of our students accessed the food pantry in just its first week, and more are taking advantage of it every day. Food insecurity hurts all our kids, but knowing that they have resources available to them makes the weekends easier to manage. They also know that there is at least one adult in their lives who cares about them, and that's even more important than the food."

- Kaye Pearse, Bryant Alternative Learning Center

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Monica Barrett, Keene Mill ES

"We have been blessed with many great teachers for our three kids in FCPS, but none seem to have really connected and " gotten" our eldest like Monica Barrett. Our daughter has struggled with the adjustment to more homework and the usual girl drama that comes with 6th grade and middle school. Monica has been so patient with her, taught her strategies like deep breathing when she gets overwhelmed and the Pomodoro Method for making homework more manageable, and has been her biggest cheerleader this year when she really needed one. My daughter has always thought about being a teacher, and she said, "If I ever become a teacher, I want to be just like Ms. Barrett." I also found this in one of her homework assignments, "Maybe the character feels very lucky, because on page 34 it says, “I could show your girl the way”, when if Isabel didn’t get what was needed she would most likely get punished. I can relate to this because I feel very lucky when I get extra help in math or even just having Mrs. Barrett as my teacher." Ms. Barrett is also a great communicator with us, as parents, about what we can do to help our daughter with any challenges. She emails frequently and includes the guidance counselor where appropriate. She is a gem and I hope she knows it!"

- a Keene Mill ES parent

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Jeanette Merryman, Instructional Programs Support Center Warehouse

"Jeanette gets the new library books out to all the schools in FCPS in a very timely fashion. And makes happy faces on a lot the students."

- Kenneth Carter, Instructional Programs Support Center Warehouse

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Roberto Obando and Nicole Ferree, Annandale HS

"Roberto and Nicole have taken on the role of providing Tier 2 support for our English Language Learners. This level of targeted intervention for specific students with specific math needs is being implemented at AHS for the first time and it is the tireless efforts of teachers like Mr. Obando and Ms. Ferree developing and delivering varied student approaches that will support students in their academic performance."

- Brian Valentine, Annandale HS

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Denise Poole, Thoreau MS

"Denise is a compassionate force in the classroom! Upon helping our ESOL students learn figurative language, one formerly struggling student described her as "a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day" and her positive effect in our team-taught ESOL class in the last few weeks have been very evident; students are more confident and achieving at higher levels in a more integrated and cohesive class since we've started co-teaching together for the past few weeks. Her cheery and positive demeanor and eagerness to best serve all of our students is infectious. Denise brings a lot of positive energy and creative ideas with a wealth of experience and expertise in both teaching Spanish and ESOL at various levels with a special knack for crafting educational games that engages all learners on various levels. Working with Denise has been very energizing and rewarding for all, and I'm so grateful to partner with her as new team-teachers and a proud colleague of hers at our school she is new to call home at Thoreau!"

- Michelle Gabro, Thoreau MS

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Kathleen Hammerle, Kilmer Center

"Kathleen is always a good team member to have around. Today she took time out of her busy day as our technology specialist to track down some mixing bowls so that the post-grad class (IDS) could mix ingredients to make dog biscuits for our charity vocational project. She followed up with us shortly afterward to make sure everything was going ok and we had everything we needed, along with engaging with the students on her way through. She truly cares about the staff and students in our school! Kathleen also eats her lunch in the cafeteria every day, standing near the service area to assist students with their lunch. We have a large population of severely autistic children and she helps them with transitions through the lunch line on her own time."

- Sarah Day, Kilmer Center

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Margaret Sisler, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Margaret Sisler leads the FCPSOn charge with grace, charisma, knowledge, and patience. She is always willing to support schools, teachers, students, and SBTS to help transition to 1:1. She has personally helped me and my school in many ways, from participating in a Tweet & Eat to sharing valuable resources and engaging presentations. Margaret is a gem and I truly value her contributions to FCPS."

- Nishi Langhorne, McLean HS

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Samantha Melton, Hollin Meadows ES

"I am submitting this FCPS Cares nomination to recognize Ms. Melton, 4th Grade Teacher at HMES, as both a parent and a PTA Board member. From a parent perspective, she has consistently demonstrated in so many ways throughout the school year that she genuinely cares about my child starting with a welcome phone call before school started, sending an email after she met my daughter for the first time during back to school open house when I wasn’t there, learning and embracing the use of technology to support her individual needs, sharing a picture from the school day just because, expressing interest in her extracurricular activities, and much more.  I am confident in sending her to school each day knowing that she has a caring, kind and compassionate teacher. As a PTA Board member, I have communicated with Ms. Melton throughout the year about various PTA efforts. One of our PTA goals has been to increase the participation of students in upper grades in afterschool programs and clubs. She has talked to her students (many are ESOL) and encouraged their involvement in various activities such as our new Eco Club and Inova Healthy Plate Club, as well as Girls on the Run (GOTR). For GOTR, she has communicated with our PTA Board members and PTA parent volunteer head coach about her students’ participation. She has even been added to the parent email list so that she can read the weekly updates and any other important information and help translate it to make sure one of her students is prepared for practices.  She printed pictures from one of the weekly parent emails to display in her classroom. When I stopped by the school one day recently, she was wearing a GOTR shirt to school that day and very kindly wore it again a few days later when requested for PTA communications photo opportunity. Our PTA sincerely appreciates the caring and collaborative efforts of our HMES teachers like Ms. Melton and appreciate how they put the T in PTA."

- a Hollin Meadows ES parent

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Jane Thatcher, Annandale Terrace ES

"Jane consistently goes above and beyond for the students and staff at ATES. Her kindness and positive attitude are contagious and I feel very lucky to work with her!"

- Hannah Miller, Annandale Terrace ES

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Alan Estep, Carson MS

"On Mondays, we collect the time sheets from the drivers at Carson. The supervisors that usually collect the timesheets have been on runs so Al has been collecting the timesheets from the drivers until we can get them. He has done this on a weekly basis without any complaints. We are truly so grateful for his help.Thank you!"

- Judy Daines, Stonecroft Transportation

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Debbie Hollings, Armstrong ES

"Debbie Hollings, the AART for both Armstrong and Cherry Run Elementary School, is a believer in all students. I’ve had the profound pleasure to work with Debbie more closely this year, as we transform Collaborative Learning Teams and the learning for all students at Armstrong ES. I’ve found her honest and transparent way of communicating while also sharing the evidence for best teaching practices, to be inspiring. As an AART, Debbie looks at the learning, creativity, and potential of all students in our school. Her lens of teaching-learning expands past the young scholar or student receiving Advanced Academics learning. She uses her knowledge of learning at all points of the spectrum, Portrait of a Graduate, and high-level Bloom’s and Depth of Knowledge questioning, and can merge them as she guides us in the classroom and our CLTs. Debbie is a true leader in our school. She takes an idea and unrealized need and brings it to the front of our thinking. She volunteers to design materials for teachers to strengthen the metacognition of our students and has also taken on a leadership role of our after-school learning program. I feel so lucky to have Debbie as a colleague and enjoy her positive attitude!"

- Carrie Pratt, Armstrong ES

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Cheryl Harrod, Forest Edge ES

"From the first of December until mid-March each year, RYBL utilizes the Forest Edge gym on weeknights and each Saturday for our youth basketball program. We rely on Cheryl to have the gym ready for practices, games, and tournaments. Throughout this past season, she has been her usual cheerful and professional self. Everything is done with a smile. The gym and the surrounding facilities are spotless. If chairs are required, they are there on time and appropriately placed. She makes an extra effort to help and cooperate. Much of the success of our program is due to Cheryl's efficiency and attitude. We are so very pleased to count her as a member of our team and we want you to know how much she contributes to our program. We want to thank her for all her hard work and to let her know how much we appreciate her!"

- a Forest Edge ES community member

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Wil Lara, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Mr. Lara is a Multilingual Services Specialist in FCPS. His expertise was invaluable today in regard to the translation of a time-sensitive document. He was extremely timely, provided useful feedback while also including an example of how I could strengthen my document to better serve the needs of families. His thoughtful and clear communication style coupled with his timeliness made this encounter FCPS Cares-Worthy! Thank you, Mr. Lara!"

- Laura Thieman, Virginia Hills Administration Center

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Margaret Sisler, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Margaret, thank you for taking the time and leading the Caring Culture Committee’s Lunch and Learn activity on creating our own Bitmoji to or our colleagues at Willow Oaks. It was a terrific and fun training session. Thank you for linking the creation of our Bitmoji to our daily work and for helping to foster a caring culture. We all appreciate your skills and your time! YOU ROCK!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Hollie Smith, Halley ES

"I want to applaud Ms. Hollie at Halley ES for her drive and determination in getting her kindergarten students to break out of their shells and try new things; be it foods or coming out to scholastic book shows, or talent/game night opportunities. She inspires the kids and parents (wallflowers like me), all around! Thank you, Ms. Hollie!"

- a Halley ES parent

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Jackie Ventura, Mount Vernon HS

"I have the pleasure of working with Jackie on a daily basis and have witnessed first-hand her dedication to doing her job well. She goes above and beyond in every facet. She exemplifies the true meaning of customer service and is there for the students and parents first! She never turns a staff member away and is always pleasant, to the point that no one would ever know if she's having a bad day. She's our greeter and is most likely one of the reasons we consistently have substitutes return to work at Mount Vernon. A day without Jackie is truly like a day without sunshine!"

- Karen Bryan, Mount Vernon HS

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Latrena Warthen, Mercedes Amaya, Hoa Nguyen, Cuong Pham, and Dung Vo, Greenbriar East ES

"Thank you so much for helping the Tech Office and Speech Office swap. We know this is a huge undertaking and we so appreciate all that you do!"

- Lori Purvis, Greenbriar East ES

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Camelia Lazarescu, Hayfield SS

"Mrs. Lazarescu has been so patient with my son. I appreciate the time and effort she put into helping him understand math. A lot of the concepts being taught are not easy, yet she hasn't given up on him when it gets challenging for him. Teaching is not easy and having teachers in your corner that care enough to give the extra time and effort REALLY MATTER. THANK YOU!"

- a Hayfield SS parent

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Karen Ramsey and Arielle Banal, Riverside ES

"A BIG shout out to Karen Ramsey and Arielle Banal for co-planning and co-facilitating a joint meeting with ESOL and SPED teachers. The teachers were able to gain an understanding of ways dually identified students can receive ESOL services as well as what supports are most impactful. The teams were able to collaborate and make commitments of continuing to work alongside each other as well as improvements to incorporate for next year."

- Anna Macedonia, Riverside ES

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Tracey Kyle, Key MS

"Ever since I came back from maternity leave, Tracey Kyle has offered to help me in every way that would make the transition easier. She has made copies so that I can get home to my daughter and substituted my class so I could leave early for a doctor's appointment. Her consistent offers to help have gone far to help me to feel supported and able to balance work and home."

- Liz Schaefer, Key MS

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Lydia Bakke, Clermont ES

"Ms. Bakke is nice and caring. She makes learning fun so I can enjoy school."

- a Clermont ES student

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Stephanie Pepper, Frost MS

"Ms. Pepper did a fantastic job presenting the third Cultural Proficiency module to staff. Ms. Pepper is an extremely engaging presenter, using her knowledge and humor to create a comfortable environment despite the depth of content. Ms. Pepper is a wonderful employee, and has done a tremendous job as the equity lead at Frost Middle School."

- Daniel Clements, Frost MS

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Mary Miller, Brookfield ES 

"Thank you to the entire Brookfield ES Staff for opening your doors during the FCPSOn visit. It was truly exciting to experience all the warmth and positivity during our visit. The dedication and hard work are definitely visible throughout the school. Thanks again for leading the way!"

- Lichele Carmichael, Lorton Station ES

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Tami Stubblefield, Robert Gibbs, and Sharon Eisenberg, Franklin MS

"I would like to thank you for giving me this chance to share my thoughts and experiences. I work in Franklin Middle School as a PHA. From the very first day I reported to work, Ms. Stubblefield, Mr. Gibbs, and Ms. Eisenberg all gave me a very warm welcome. They treated me with kindness and respect and it made my day. They explained my job responsibilities and schedule. They made me feel very comfortable and always asked about my day. I have been employed for 4 months now and am very, very happy with FCPS. I also want to say thank you to all Region 5 staff, too; they create a  very positive atmosphere in the school. Thank you so much!"

- Manisha Dubey, Franklin MS

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Erin Ruddy, Glasgow MS

"She is a new teacher here at Glasgow, yet she is one of the best. She relates to us really well. I am one of her students and I feel appreciated every time I walk into her classroom. Nominating her for this award is the best way I can show thanks. Please give her the title of BEST TEACHER EVER!"

- a Glasgow MS student

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Maggie Contreras, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Maggie Contreras, Employment and Transition Representative at Woodson High School exemplifies the qualities of a strong student advocate, consummate professional, and leader for students with disabilities. Maggie approaches each day with the goal and manner that emphasizes the positives and possibilities of each student. She is an individual who is always working to enhance her skill set, knowledge, and craft in order to best serve the student community. Maggie readily shares her knowledge and expertise with her colleagues in a collaborative spirit. This combination of humility and an unwavering work ethic makes her an exceptional candidate for FCPS Cares recognition. Maggie CARES."

- Teresa Denton, Woodson HS

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Kellen Scott, South County SS

"Kellen Scott led the South County DECA Chapter into 2019 Virginia DECA State Leadership Conference with 74 competitors. We are thrilled to say that Kellen Scott received an Outstanding Advisor award and recognition as the Chairperson for the Virginia DECA Board of Trustees. Through Kellen’s leadership, the South County chapter also received recognition for being the largest chapter in the region, increasing student membership, and for our community service and advocacy efforts which earned us up to six leadership spots at International Conference. Finally, they were also recognized for being a Gold Certified School-Based Enterprise in their first year of operation collaborating with the WAT program."

- Mike Pflugrath, South County SS

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Michele Saint Germain, Cooper MS

"Michele was the lead on our Career Day for all 7th-grade students.  She coordinated sessions/locations for all the teachers, students, and parent volunteers. This event allowed students to hear information on a variety of careers. Feedback from teachers, students, and parents was overwhelmingly positive and much was due to Michele's dedication to the event."

- Dana Scabis, Cooper MS

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Denise Meridieth, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Denise went above and beyond her job responsibilities when my lost phone was turned in to her security desk. She saw a text on my locked screen, looked up the name in Outlook, and sent an email about my phone being at her desk. Thank you, Denise, for helping me to very quickly find my lost phone! Your extra detective work and thoughtfulness is so appreciated."

- Marnie Garnier, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Lynn Musti and Monian Simpkins, Fox Mill ES

"Today we got an email from Mrs. Musti to let us know that our daughter was upset because we forgot her library book on library day. While we were not able to bring it to school, this is just one example of how Mrs. Musti and Mrs. Simpkins care for the students in their class. I am also an FCPS employee and a first-time parent. Since the beginning of the school year, Mrs. Musti has kept us very informed about the daily kindergarten happenings. She is thoughtful, kind, and her classroom is everything that you would hope for when sending your first child off to school. We are so very grateful for Mrs. Musti and Mrs. Simpkins."

- a Fox Mill ES parent

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Tammi Sisk, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Tammi, thank you for taking the time and presenting about the FCPS Digital Citizenship initiative to the teachers at the Fairfax County Adult High School. Your presentation was informative, engaging, and thought-provoking. Teachers remarked on how your session introduced them to the Google site where they can locate resources that they can use. The restorative conversation practice was extremely useful. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our teachers. We all appreciate your insight!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Rick Stegman, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Rick, thank you for taking the time and presenting about the FCPS Digital Ecosystem to the teachers at the Fairfax County Adult High School. Your presentation was informative and engaging. Teachers remarked on how happy they were to learn where to locate approved digital resources and learn about the distinctions between tools in the different digital ecosystem categories. Thank you also for sending them the pamphlet outlining the Core Tools for Teaching and Learning via the pony. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our teachers. We all appreciate your insight!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Margaret Sisler, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Margaret, thank you for taking the time and presenting about FCPSOn and blended learning to the teachers at Fairfax County Adult High School. Your presentation was informative, engaging, and thought-provoking. Teachers remarked on how your session introduced them to blended learning and started them on the path to learn more about it as well as to begin to incorporate this practice in their lesson planning. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our teachers. We all appreciate your insight!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Candace Jones, Lake Braddock SS

"Candace Jones is one of our awesome CAT B special ed teachers, who also agreed to take on two students in our mentor program. She is dedicated to following up with these two students, offers them time to work with her after school, and continues to pursue them even when they haven't followed up on meeting with her! She reaches out to me often to check on their grades and attendance, and just won't give up on helping these kids! She is an example of what a mentor should be! She never quits!"

- Jacqueline Naughton, Lake Braddock SS

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Tim Roberson and Ryan Northcutt, Woodson - IT

"Thank you Tim and Ryan for your hard work to ensure our special event would be able to be shared throughout our building. Your support beforehand and checking in the morning of the event is greatly appreciated! Thank you!"

- Laura Reed, Frost MS

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Patricia Mangas, Poplar Tree ES

"Thank you so much for coming to the basketball game this weekend to see a group of your students playing, including my son! It meant a lot to my son and his classmates to see you on the sidelines. We are so lucky to have you as a teacher this year!"

- a Poplar Tree ES parent

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Eileen Gwin, Greenbriar East ES

"Thank you for taking the time to put together so much stuff for our friend in Ms. Ashforth's class. It's wonderful to know that we have such great teachers, like yourself, that cares enough for our ESOL friends to go above and beyond to provide me with assistance! Appreciate you!"

- Heather Maclauchlan, Greenbriar East ES

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Amanda Spangrud, Herndon MS

"She has motivated my child since the first day of school and I couldn't be more grateful. She works really hard."

- a Herndon MS parent

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Rich Schlobach, Longfellow MS

"Every day I walk the dog with my 8th-grader and we talk about school. What I typically hear the most is about what he learns in civics class, history, current events, debates, and citizenship. Mr. Scholbach's passion for teaching certainly influences so much in students' growth. His civics class has become my son's favorite class. Mr. Schlobach puts in extra hours to create the opportunity for students to speak at the immigration citizenship ceremony. It proves to be a great and positive experience for the participating students. I appreciate Mr. Schlobach being a dedicated teacher and great role model for students to look up to."

- a Longfellow MS parent

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Kim Starkey, Edison HS

"Today I went to a community work site to observe students who were participating in community work experience at the Johnnie Forte Center in Springfield. I observed Ms. Starkey working with three students on assembling science kits for the county. During my observation, I was extremely impressed with the structures and visual supports she had in place for them. Through watching the students, it was evident to me that she had established clear expectations and a routine for them to follow. I was also impressed with the level of independence the students displayed, thanks to her ability to prompt only when needed. Thank you to Ms. Starkey for her outstanding work with students and for helping them to showcase their abilities in the community!"

- Heather Padgett, Pulley Center

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Bryan Buser, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Bryan is always going the extra mile to help out with any requests that our office has in regards to Summer School. He had a limited amount of time to be able to perform his job so we could post positions online and throughout the process, he was courteous, efficient and always accessible. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication!"

- Nataly Mautino, Gatehouse Administration Center

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Victoria McCue, Stonecroft Transportation

"Ms. McCue goes above and beyond to ensure all our Union Mill students feel safe and have a positive ride to and from school every day. She welcomes students with different needs and differentiates for them by providing books, visual cue posters, and anything else they may need. Ms. McCue goes out of her way to collaborate with classroom teachers, special education teachers, and administrators about the students on her bus. One morning, she contacted her supervisor because she was worried about a student that did not want to get on the bus, which then enabled our staff to get involved and better support the student and family. We are so lucky to have Ms. McCue supporting our UMES students!"

- Jennie Skerker, Union Mill ES

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Rachel Miller, Herndon MS

"Rachel is always going the extra mile to help out her co-workers. She stepped up to the plate to run our NJHS program while I am out on leave and she is doing a great job. Rachel wants the students to have the best experience possible and she is working so hard to make that happen for them! Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication, Rachel!"

- Kaitlyn Konicki, Herndon MS

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Scott Steele, Liberty MS

"Thanks to Mr. Steele for going above and beyond in his role as a school counselor by providing one of our Vienna ES students with an exceptional transition experience to prepare one of our Vienna ES students for 7th-grade at Liberty Middle School. This particular student was feeling pretty nervous about attending a middle school apart from all of his peers and you helped assuage his fears and inspired excitement about his middle school experience. The day after he met with you and toured Liberty MS, the student came to school with a big smile excited to share all this with me. Way to go in supporting all students, even ones that aren't enrolled at your school yet! THANK YOU!"

- Sharon Powers, Vienna ES

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Kelsey Gordon, Kings Park ES

"Ms. Gordon always looks for ways to incorporate lessons about different cultures around the world through her music class. She is known by the students to be willing to find traditional songs from any country that they want to learn about or in a recent case to make a new student who just moved to our country feel welcome. During the school’s annual Dance Mania combined physical education and music lessons, Ms. Gordon took the time to incorporate a new musical dance that incorporated brightly colored silk scarves and traditional Chinese music with only a few weeks' notice. Parents are always invited to the final Dance Mania class and when I mentioned I loved the new song and dance, Ms. Gordon told me she pulled it together when she found out the third grade teachers were switching the lessons on China and Egypt so that the students would be studying China during the Chinese New Year so she wanted to include something in Dance Mania as well. This is just one example of how Ms. Gordon goes above and beyond what is expected of her and really cares about her students and their education."

- a Kings Park ES parent

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Patrick Clark, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Clark embodies what it means to be an excellent teacher. He delivers engaging lessons using evidence-based practices and an understanding of individual differences. He demonstrates a commitment to fostering students’ strengths, puts in tremendous efforts to help them improve in their areas of need, and is truly dedicated to promoting their self-esteem."

- Jodi Snodgrass, Lake Braddock SS

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Cierra Council, Riverside ES

"Mrs. Council is absolutely amazing! She has done a stellar job keeping me and the loop and communicating the needs of my daughter. She definitely has a heart for the children and it shows! I am so thankful for the hard work and dedication she's been putting in. Thank you, Mrs. Council! YOU ROCK!"

- a Riverside ES parent

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Tommy Garner, Stonecroft Transportation

"Mr. Garner is a wonderful attendant for one of the Special Education buses at our school. Mr. Garner shows how much he cares about the children every day by letting the staff at school know details about the child's morning. He is a delight and makes sure to greet all staff that he passes. His pleasant and joyful attitude helps make our days much brighter."

- Ashley Kappatos, Lees Corner ES

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Diane Wilson, South County MS

"Ms. Wilson is a hard-working English teacher and probably one of the best teachers I have seen so far. With all her different teaching methods and her funny jokes, she makes the perfect teacher at South County Middle School."

- a South County MS student

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Sheliah Calhoun, Groveton ES

"Ms. Sheliah Calhoun has demonstrated exemplary professionalism, patience, and flexibility in recent weeks. Ms. Calhoun and her second-grade students have been displaced from their regular classroom for nearly a month due to a facilities and maintenance issue in her classroom. We know that routines and procedures are critical for student success, and I am so thankful for how she has weathered this inconvenience with her students. She still maximizes learning time and has made a difficult situation seemingly non-existent for her students and learning environment. Well done."

- Kevin Morris, Groveton ES

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Maribeth Luftglass, Sprague Technology Center

"We are profoundly thankful for the ongoing communication and data recovery efforts from DIT. While we cannot imagine the stress the team has encountered these last two weeks we appreciate the professionalism demonstrated by the entire department. Thank you for all you do for us on a daily basis."

- Kate Salerno, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Lisa Barrow, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Big thanks to Lisa Barrow and her terrific professional coaching sessions. She has been supportive of my journey as a leader and is highly skilled providing growth producing feedback. Her conversations provided me the opportunity to frame my perspective and reflect on my day to day impact as a school leader. I’m actively and thoughtfully making daily adjustments in my leadership practices as a result of our conversations together. I’m thankful for the resources and professional learning FCPS offers to school-based leaders."

- Kevin Morris, Groveton ES

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Kesha Samuels, Riverside ES

"Kesha has been an office assistant at Riverside for the past few years now. She works very hard and is extremely flexible in her efforts to be the best support possible to our staff while providing high levels of customer service to our families. She collaborates well and exercises tremendous teamwork each day in the office, but one day this week we needed her help to provide supervision in an Art classroom when many of our substitutes had canceled. Kesha trusted that our admin team needed her support and we trusted her to deliver, although when I checked in with her during the day, I was shocked to see how naturally she applied structure and classroom management to the situation. I noticed clear, explicit directions, positive reinforcement, and time management skills in-play as she handed the class back over. We are grateful to people like Kesha in our building to uphold our slogan of Effort and Attitude."

- Paul Basdekis, Riverside ES

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Amanda Francois, McNair ES

"The McNair community is incredibly fortunate to have Ms. Francois as one of our dedicated instructional leaders! Anyone visiting her classroom would find it hard to believe that she is only a second-year teacher. She has created such a warm and inviting learning community where students feel safe taking risks and feel comfortable accepting constructive feedback from her in order to help them grow. Students are presented new material through engaging, hands-on activities that incorporate the 4 C's and align with all components of Portrait of a Graduate. Learning is alive and fun in Ms. Francois' classroom. She has created a true student-centered classroom environment! Additionally, in her short teaching career, she has become a well-respected teacher leader. This year, she is serving as her second-grade team's math team lead, where she creates weekly agendas that focus on student learning. She leads her team through unpacking the pacing guides, developing engaging classroom activities, creating common assessments, and discussing the data to determine next steps to best meet the needs of all students. She is encouraging to her team and, oftentimes praises them for all of their hard work in keeping student learning and student engagement at the forefront of their work. Ms. Francois' students, their parents, and her colleagues love her because of her positivity and inviting smile! We are grateful to have Ms. Francois at McNair, as she reflects the true qualities of what defines a teacher."

- Melissa Goddin, McNair ES

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Jean Bender, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Thank you for going above and beyond today! You jumped in and supported my project. You did so with ease, highlighting you not only as a  master teacher but also as a compassionate, amazing and dependable colleague! You heard we were short on volunteers and jumped right in, rolled up your sleeves and made it look easy! Our field trip would not have been the same without you!"

- Caitlyn Saxton, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"Thank you for going above and beyond today! You jumped in and supported my project. You did so with ease, highlighting you not only as a master teacher but also as a compassionate, amazing and dependable colleague! Our field trip would not have been the same without you!"

- Caitlyn Saxton, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Suzanne Williams, Stonecroft Transportation

"In addition to getting my daughter to and from school safely every day, Suzie takes an active interest in the students on her bus. She takes the time to get to know them and does what she can to make their days happy and productive. My student struggles with anxiety with the bus having been a trigger in the past. Suzie has made my daughter feel comfortable and welcome on the bus. In turn, bus rides have gotten a lot calmer and less stressful. Students who start their school day with someone who cares as soon as they get on the bus are bound to be successful. We really appreciate Suzie!"

- an Oakton HS parent

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Susan Savage, Willow Oaks Administration Center

"The Office of Professional Learning and Family Engagement extends gratitude to Susan Savage for stepping in and supporting the Professional Growth and Career Development team with finances in a colleague's absence. Susan took the initiative to run monthly reports and check in with our team while balancing her own responsibilities in ISD. We appreciate the time she spent ensuring our team had the information we needed to comply with monthly reporting requirements. Recognizing a need of a group beyond your team speaks to your caring nature and willingness to support others. We are so appreciative."

- Lisa Barrow, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Hector Hermosilla, Gatehouse Administration Center

"On behalf of the Professional Growth and Career Development team, I want to thank Hector for his ongoing support from late fall, 2018, until the end of February 2019. While an employee was out on extended leave, Hector responded quickly to our emails and requests for support in completing financial transactions. Hector provided guidance to our team and was always willing to help us. Hector's keen eye to detail ensured our team stayed afloat. Thank you, Hector. We are so appreciative."

- Lisa Barrow, Willow Oaks Administration Center

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Caroline Bruss, South County HS

"Caroline Bruss is a relationship builder. She checks in with students on attendance issues, communicates with students, parents, teachers, and administrators about a myriad of issues that occur throughout the day. In addition, she completes daily tasks with students such as providing presentations on various topics, scheduling and discussing opportunities for students. Recently, Caroline was asked by students to sponsor an afterschool club. She meets weekly with her club after school and uses their activities to build community within the school. Caroline Bruss is an exemplary counselor who demonstrates excellent judgment, encourages student involvement and assists students with decision making. Devoted to our school and her students, she represents the FCPS goal of educators who are striving to make decisions while always considering what is best for the child."

- Kaaren Lowder, South County HS

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Susana Carrasco, South County HS

"Susana interfaces with new families on a daily basis to ease their transition to South County High School.  She ensures that our records are processed in a timely manner and has a great depth of knowledge in regards to residency requirements.  She is an integral member of the Student Services team!"

- Marci Norem, South County HS

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Christy Ryder, Oak Hill ES

"Thank you for your help today. I appreciate how you took time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Thank you for always being so kind and caring! I can always count on you!"

- Lilly Shin, Greenbriar East ES

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Allison Leonard, Sunrise Valley ES

"Mrs. Leonard routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty to make her classroom a fantastic learning experience.  For example, she just held a Socratic Seminar and got the students really thinking about literary versus popular fiction.  The kids were in circles and each level got a bit more challenging with depth of thought.  Additionally, she has the students truly engaged in helping the environment and there will be a show in a week that highlights ocean and other trash and how even little changes can make a big difference.  These are just two examples out of an unbelievable year of learning.  Mrs. Leonard makes learning fun and has helped my child so much—and he is just one of 24 examples in the classroom.  Please recognize Mrs. Leonars for her outstanding commitment and radiant joy for her job. Thank you!"

- a Sunrise Valley ES parent

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Lynne Stratton, Frost MS

"Lynne was very helpful in the coordination and administration of a required survey and we could not have done it without her help!  Thank you so much, Lynne!"

- Joe Berret, Frost MS

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Brian Head, Energy Zone Food Services Center

"Brian Head worked with me to provide catering for our Region 2 Math Symposium. He was consistently professional, friendly, and helpful, through a change in date, increases in quantity, and lots of questions. He and his staff delivered excellent service, before and during the event. His support inspired confidence that everything would be handled and would provide a good experience for our meeting attendees. I look forward to working with Brian again."

- Michelle Doyle, Westlawn ES

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Amy Edwards, Colvin Run ES

"Ms. Edwards introduced my daughter to fantasy novels.  She encouraged her to enhance the quality and diversity of the books she read when she saw how quickly she was reading short novels.  We appreciate that she does not only teach but also gets to know her students.  For the past two years, she has brought a lot of joy to our children and found ways to challenge them based on what she learns about them.  We are very fortunate to have such a committed teacher."

- a Colvin Run ES parent

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Kevin Deans, Lanier MS

"Mr. Deans goes above and beyond for all of his students. He is positive and encouraging. He sends emails and makes phone calls to families to share info and updates. To quote my 8th grader, Mr. Deans is always happy to see us and is excited when we do well.  I can tell he really cares about us. Thank you, Mr. Deans!"

- a Lanier MS parent

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Susan Stager, Forbes Place

"Susan Stager has helped me tremendously through the application for the retirement process. She met with me in May of 2018 and outlined everything I needed to know and took the time to patiently answer my questions, despite the fact that it was late in the day and a terrible thunderstorm was raging outdoors. Since that meeting, she has responded immediately to my questions throughout this school year, even though some of my questions had been previously answered and I should have known the answers. She has been professional and patient with me during this process and while I felt bad that I asked questions that she’d already answered but I wasn’t clear about the answers in my own mind, she was kind enough to simply respond in a timely manner. I started teaching in FCPS 34 years ago, and retirement is a huge step for me, but Susan Stager has really helped me feel like I am doing things correctly and has greatly reduced an anxiety-producing situation into a manageable situation for me and my family. Her work is highly appreciated."

- Theresa Early, Laurel Ridge ES

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Brian Green, South County HS

"After school, Mr. Green brought me the work one of my students did not complete when requested to do so in class. This is just a very simple and one of many numerous instances when Mr. Green shows how much he cares for our students and their progress in their classes. Day after day, Mr. Green shows his vocation, his love to the teaching profession, his love to the students (who sometimes other teachers do not know how to reach), and his support to his colleagues.  He deals with students who struggle in school always with a positive and genuine interest.  Mr. Green is an outstanding teacher in South County High School."

- Gloria Blumenthal, South County HS

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Esperanza Ruiz, Alfonso Lopez Marrero, Reneca Claybrooks, Beth Hendricks, Dana Smith, Groveton ES

"Thank you for being a critical part of the kick off for our Groveton Family Literacy Sessions. Your dedication to our community is greatly appreciated. Your session was engaging and parents learned wonderful strategies to support our students at home."

- Francoise Casablanca, Groveton ES

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Nataly Mautino, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Recently we have had a couple of unusual health situations which has caused us to have to come up with creative staffing solutions. Nataly has been a problem solver and a partner in each situation. She is able to stay within policies and procedures AND completely support the needs of the school and most importantly the people involved. I am always confident that when I work with Nataly she is going to be open minded and creative as she supports our staff and students. Well done, Nataly!"

- Martin Grimm, Hayfield SS