FCPS Cares - May 2021

By Department of Human Resources
May 03, 2021

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

To view past submissions, please visit our previous submissions page

Tina Utz, Sprague Technology Center

"Tina has been amazing and responsive to my team's requests for graphics for the new Employee Hub. From working on a workflow to preserving quality, a FANTASTIC eye for color and imagery... I cannot say enough about my very positive experience with her customer service. I look forward to continuing working with her!"

- Meredith Lydon, Wilton Woods Center

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Ayme Zlatnik, Groveton ES

"In this year full of challenges and changes, Ayme has stepped up time and again to help me whenever and with whatever I've needed. She's efficient, can anticipate what the kids need due to her years of experience with the kids, and is such a help to me. I appreciate her daily and she is a little ray of sunshine when things seem pretty cloudy!"

- Kara Nindl, Groveton ES

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Jennifer Collier, Great Falls ES

"Mrs. Jennifer Collier has been a continued bright spot in my child's life for the past 3 years. During the past year of virtual learning, I have witnessed firsthand how kind, engaging, and supportive Mrs. Collier is during every interaction with my child. She has made him feel valued, heard, and important and given him a huge confidence boost. She has worked patiently and effectively with him to improve his phonic awareness and reading ability. I have no doubt that my son's academic gains in reading and reading comprehension are due in large part to the support he's received from Mrs. Collier. I am forever grateful for the love she has shown my child. GFES is beyond fortunate to have such an amazing teacher on staff."

- a Great Falls ES parent

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Taylor Scahill, Dranesville ES

"My husband and I would like to recognize our son's teacher, Taylor Scahill for an FCPS Cares award. Taylor has been an amazing teacher all year virtually and in the concurrent environment. One of my favorite things that Taylor came up with was writing her own parodies of songs that the kids sing with her in order to learn a new concept. My son has been singing them all year long!! She cares so much about each and every student always is checking in on them not only on their academic level but also making sure they are socially and emotionally strong too. Taylor will call or email parents individually just to make sure they feel confident and understand what's going on with their child's academics and schoolwork and will also work with them to understand the technology in front of them. She works so hard and cares about everyone that she comes in contact with. Taylor is amazing and wonderful that not only the kids can count on, but also the parents. Kudos to Taylor, she's a great asset to the Dranesville staff!!"

- Dranesville ES parents

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Kelsey Jordan, Kings Park ES 

"Kelsey Jordan is an amazing music teacher during a regular school year, but she has been EXTRAORDINARY during this pandemic. I have had the honor of being her Distance Learning Buddy for a 3rd Grade class. She engages students from the get-go with music from different parts of the world. The children learn a little about the country or culture and talk about how the music made them feel, often making connections to their own cultures or other music they have heard. She shares her screen on the smartboard, showing the faces of all of us at home, and then pans the classroom so we can see those in the building. Then the students welcome each other by raising their voices in song--it is heart-warming to see the virtual and in-person students standing and singing. They ALL participate! They are invited to share their talents. For example, a student performed an original song and another shared a video of himself playing the piano. Most weeks, the class plays a game called Bop or Flop. Kelsey plays snippets of songs, current or from the past, and we all vote if we like it or not. Students are then able to share why they liked or did not like the song. The children are also able to submit songs to Kelsey to be used. Kelsey's music class is positive and upbeat from beginning to end and clearly something ALL students look forward to. I do, too! Her care for including all students, both virtual and in-person, at the same level of engagement is awe-inspiring!  She seamlessly weaves curriculum requirements, cultural awareness, Portrait of a Graduate traits, and social emotion skills into each lesson. Her students are not only learning more about music, but they are learning more about the world, themselves, and each other."

- Melissa Crowley, Kings Park ES

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Khulud Khudur, Cedar Lane School

"Khulud began working at Cedar Lane as our librarian this school year, in the middle of the pandemic and I never even got to see her face until February of 2021. Even so, she found ways to connect with the staff and enrich our community long before we met face to face. She is brilliant and kind and has taught me to be courageous in my approach to intentional inclusiveness. I wanted to recognize her during teacher appreciation week especially because as the rest of the staff gets celebrated with extravagant, daily food treats, she continued to quietly fast and practice her faith. I know I have been complaining endlessly (because I can't eat the food--just had surgery), so she leads by example, yet again.  She has a brilliant future in FCPS and this won't be the last you hear of her."

- Alison McHugh, Cedar Lane School

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Fran Nadel, Woodburn ES

"Miss Nadel- Thank you for making this school year the best possible for all your students! It has been a truly challenging situation and your patience, infectious energy, and kindness have made it so much better. Your open communication with our family proves how much you care about each student. We appreciate your hard work and thank you for being such a wonderful teacher!"

- a Woodburn ES parent

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Liz Busch, Virginia Hills Early Childhood Center

"Mrs. Busch has done such an amazing job this year with managing all of her preschoolers with speech in spite of the difficulties of this virtual year. I have watched in amazement as she manages to handle multiple preschoolers over Google meet every week with ease keeping them all on task. She has also done a fantastic job of keeping it fun and my preschooler engaged during their one on one sessions too. She has gone above and beyond throughout the year. She has dropped off supplies for several projects throughout the past year for them all to be able to work on together during the virtual sessions which my little one has loved. Miss Liz has spent the last several weeks raising butterflies with the kids and even arranged for a safe socially distant meet (optional of course) in a park for the kids to be able to hold the butterflies and set them free. She has gone above and beyond over this last virtual year making sure to check in with me to make sure that I am okay along with providing the best possible services for my child under the worst circumstances. I'm not sure how we would have survived this last year without her help. Thank you, Miss Liz!"

- a Virginia Hills Early Childhood Center parent

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Bev Taylor, Lake Braddock SS

"Ms. Taylor greets every student and parent with a smile. She is incredibly kind and supportive to all who cross her path. Recently, while I was in a meeting, Ms. Taylor was informed that one of my students was missing. She immediately informed others to look for him and then went out of her way to find him. When she found my student sitting on a bench outside, waiting for a bus that had left 2 hours prior, Ms. Taylor kindly let him know that she was going to help him to get home. She provided the support to this student that he needed at the time and for this I am grateful. Ms. Taylor Cares!"

- Margaret Veenstra, Lake Braddock SS

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Kristen Browning, Bonnie Brae ES

"Ms. Browning has gone to great lengths to make virtual kindergarten as inclusive and interactive as possible for my son. We appreciate everything she has done in what has been an incredibly challenging year."

- a Bonnie Brae ES parent

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Thi Thanh Loan Huynh, Fairfax HS

"I would like to take this opportunity to let you know how much Loan Huynh is appreciated and respected as our Custodian here at Fairfax High School. Throughout the day, she is smiling as she does her rounds cleaning the classrooms and hallways. Her work ethic is top-notch, and the building is cleaner than I have ever seen it in years (our entire staff is to be commended).  She is on top of all the COVID precautions, cleanliness, and maintenance of the surfaces and areas. Loan takes pride in her work and in the appearance of the school. Being back in the building with concurrent teaching has not been easy on any of us teachers. Loan is the first person that we see when we arrive at school as she is at the entrance door greeting teachers and cleaning the door handles. Thanks to her, the teachers in my hallway start our days with a smile. Loan sets the tone for our days – positive and happy. She has helped me carry things to my classroom, even though that is not one of her job responsibilities. Her positive attitude and caring disposition have been so appreciated each morning as we are trying to make the best of the current school year. We have a saying here at our school “Fairfax, We are Family!” and Loan Huynh is a valued member of our family."

- Melanie West-Matalavage, Fairfax HS

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Rich Gaul, Lake Braddock SS

"Rich Gaul is an Athletic Leadership teacher and football coach at Lake Braddock Secondary School. He consistently goes above and beyond to find meaningful ways to connect with his students and athletes and motivate them. He is someone who leads by example and during a very challenging year has helped inspire his students and teach them practical skills and reinforce important values. During a school year that has been difficult for many students, he finds creative ways to keep them engaged. They look forward to his class ...and look forward to taking his class again next year and each year until they graduate. He is a role model and mentor in and out of the classroom ... on and off the football field. He is a true asset to the Lake Braddock community and FCPS. His impact will stick with his students long after they graduate. It is clear that Rich Gaul has spent this year connecting with his students and teaching them invaluable leadership skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. I am grateful to have him as a role model for our students and athletes."

- a Lake Braddock SS parent

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Tawanya Scarboro and Margie Urano, Colvin Run ES

"The past year had been tough emotionally and socially for my kindergartner. I feared my child would hate school forever and was worried about how he would adjust to going in-person to school after being home for several months. He now looks forward to going to school. Can't thank enough Ms. Scarboro and her team to make the transition so seamless. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

- a Colvin Run ES parent

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Robin Houlahan, Lake Braddock SS

"Ms. Houlahan has made a huge difference in my daughter's life this year. Since the beginning of the school year, she has been in contact with her - answering questions, offering feedback - fostering a trusting relationship. Ms. Houlahan encourages open dialogue in her classroom so that, even during virtual class, students were engaged and actively sharing their opinions. To hear my daughter engaged and excited on her Blackboard classroom sessions with Ms. Houlahan's class was a joy! Such a bright spot in a difficult year. Her inclusive classroom environment -- encouraging debate and forward-thinking -- brought my daughter to life. Grateful that she is now in the classroom with Ms. Houlahan in person for the remainder of the year. Thank you, Ms. Houlahan!"

- a Lake Braddock SS parent

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Matthew Lindquist, Crossfield ES

"If FCPS created an All-Star Teacher Team, Mr. Lindquist would certainly be on the starting roster!  In a year of ever-changing circumstances and demands on teachers, Mr. Lindquist always maintains a positive, solution-oriented mindset and finds flexible, fun ways to keep his students engaged. Amazingly, despite the complexities of teaching in a fully virtual and/or concurrent environment, Mr. Lindquist finds ways to actually differentiate learning for his students. He consistently expends personal time and energy to create strategies that help keep his students challenged and engaged, and actually excited about school.  He teaches his students about real-life principles and demonstrates genuine concern for their well-being. He's a role model teacher, and the entire Crossfield community is lucky to have him!"

- a Crossfield ES parent

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Kenneth Kuchta, Lake Braddock S.S.

"At Lake Braddock S.S, we are privileged to have an exceptional group of teachers. Today, I would like to recognize Mr. Kenneth Kuchta to be the epitome of EQUITY and DEDICATION As an FCPS. Parent Liaison, practicing equity with all our international families is part of my everyday life, however, Mr. Kuchta’s actions, top it all. During the past three weeks, we have received two LBMS students, unconnected with each other, at an English Level 1, and these young ladies ended up in Mr. Kuchta's virtual ESOL class. Mr. Kuchta not only provided them with the same dedication he offers to all his students but went the extra mile, to ensure their success in LBSS, their first school in the U.S. With the cooperation of one of his bilingual students, Mr. Kuchta made videos of his classes in English and Spanish for the new students. He made appointments with their parents and met the students and their families at home, to instruct them, even how to use the newly received laptops. Way to go, Mr. Kuchta, we are very grateful and proud of you!"

- Stella Zoccoli-Perez, Lake Braddock SS

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Kathryn Becker, Interagency Schools - TSRC Graham Road Community Center

"I would like to take a moment and recognize, Mrs. Kathryn Becker, for doing an amazing job in getting Power Pack food to our virtual students and their families during this pandemic. Thank You, Mrs. Becker."

- Celine Sinclair-Peebles, Interagency Schools - TSRC Fairfax

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Heather Baucum, Crossfield ES

"We have the most dedicated & hardworking librarian at Crossfield Elementary School. She produces a daily news video of students broadcasting virtually to our school community. She quickly pivoted to online library book ordering & curbside pick-up last fall and has pulled every book order herself & distributed books at the curb to families in the heat, cold, wind & rain! She sings, she dances, & she never stops creating engaging content for our kids. She also hosted Book Fair bedtime stories & trivia nights for our school community to promote literacy and community during the time our students and families were apart this year. Ms. Baucum is the best and we are so lucky to have her at Crossfield!"

- a Crossfield ES parent

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Stefanie Bressi, Bush Hill ES

"We wanted to take this time to express our sincere gratitude to Ms. Bressi for all of her efforts during this school year. This school year has been one that has tested us in ways that we could not have imagined, yet, Ms. Bressi has continued to be a bright, shining light for all of the children in her class. She is so positive and supportive and we are beyond thankful that she is our child's teacher during this pandemic. We LOVE Ms. Bressi!"

- Bush Hill ES parents

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Cheryl Spevak, Fairfax HS

"This submission serves as less of a documentation of a singular event, and more of a documentation of weeks. Before in-person school began, I found it extremely difficult to connect with any of my teachers and peers. I had a hard time making connections the year before too, so I essentially entered in-person school anxious and nervous to present myself to my peers and teachers. But it was Mrs. Spevak's class that made me feel comfortable in school for the first time in months. I immediately felt at ease in her class, Journalism I. This is entirely due to Mrs. Spevak's fun and social nature. She made it extremely easy for me to open up and share my thoughts in a class without fear of judgment. I honestly have such high respect and appreciation for Mrs. Spevak for allowing me to come out of my shell and feel comfortable and safe in a classroom. She's likely one of the best, if not the best high school teachers who I have learned from, and I hope to see her next year. Needless to say, there's a reason why all of her students love her. She is such a pleasure to have as a teacher, and she deserves as much credit as she can receive."

- a Fairfax HS student

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Nina Rumohr, Wakefield Forest ES

"Mrs. Rumohr has gone above and beyond for her 2nd graders, especially during this challenging year. She shows an unmatched level of care for her students and goes out of her way to make sure each student keeps up and does their best. It's rare to find a teacher who cares so much about every child in the class."

- a Wakefield Forest ES parent

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Diana Chou, White Oaks ES/Lake Braddock SS

"Mrs. Chou is an amazing and extremely talented orchestra teacher who joined the orchestra CT at Lake Braddock Secondary School (LBSS) midway through this school year. In addition to her base school duties at White Oaks Elementary School, she has jumped in seamlessly and has led fantastic student learning not only virtually, but also concurrently from the classroom.  Her passion for helping students learn and master their next steps (or notes) in their musical journey is always clearly visible, and she has a great rapport with orchestra students at LBSS."

- Austin Isaac, Lake Braddock SS

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Jason King, Lake Braddock SS

"My Shout Out to Mr. King! I am so thankful for Mr. King this year.  He has had a huge impact on our students and eased this virtual experience for me as well. His ability to connect with students has increased the comfort level and personal support for students who are back in person. You can see how relaxed they are when they are in his classroom or asking him questions. He has truly been amazing."

- AJ Keifer, Lake Braddock Secondary School

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Abigail Giordano, Oakton HS

"Chemistry 1 HN is not an easy class and is made even harder, I think, during this school year. However, Ms. Giordano has made this class not only informative but also fun and exciting!. My sophomore has thoroughly enjoyed this class thanks to Ms. Giordano. She is an amazing teacher who is able to pivot seamlessly and offer grace and guidance to all students (my child is all virtual)."

- an Oakton HS parent

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Erica Mirabello, Oakton HS

"A shout out to Ms. Mirabello for making Algebra Honors a fun and exciting class during this unprecedented school year. My sophomore is loving this class (virtually and now in person), and Ms. Mirabello's teaching style and personality are the contributing factors to my child's success and enthusiasm."

- an Oakton HS parent

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Eileen Castelli, Kings Glen ES

"Ms. Castelli goes above and beyond and is the BEST!"

- a King Glen ES parent

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Jennie Hettema, Kings Glen ES

"We love Ms. Hettema and my son enjoys being in her class."

- a King Glen ES parent

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Sandra Brennan and Margaret Kivlen, Sprague Technology Center

"Sandra Brennan and Margaret Kivlen have tirelessly worked to support the production of a video for FCPS' participation in the Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network. Their expertise, ability to capture and share a compelling story, and ease of collaboration have made the project enjoyable from to start-to-finish! (and they are ALWAYS positive, warm, and fun!) Working with you both is always a highlight of the year!"

- Jeff Lonnett, Willow Oaks Admin Center

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Lydia Montero, Kimberlee Robinson, Bertha Sanders, Nataly Blanco-Pacheco,  Eric Johnson, Marianne Estornell,  Michael McHenry, and Cara Chaapel, Herndon ES

"Happy National Teacher Day and Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week to the Herndon Elementary Kindergarten Immersion Team and to the Instructors teaching the 'Specials' classes. I appreciate all that you do for our children, school, and community! Thank you for providing a welcoming space for virtual learning and growth during the hardest of days. May the Fourth be with you... always!"

- a Herndon ES parent

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Sara Salih, Keene Mill ES

"Thank you so much for being a tremendous inspiration to my daughter. We are delighted to have had you as a teacher for the last two years. Your enthusiasm is infectious and we wish you all the best! Thanks again for a great 1st Grade experience. 😁 "

- a Keene Mill ES parent

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Martha Hellman, Lees Corner ES

"Hi, Mrs. Hellman. Happy Teachers Appreciation Week! We are really grateful to have you as my son's teacher in Kindergarten! We really appreciate your efforts, dedication, and how you make learning a fun experience for little kiddos. Thank you so much for being a responsible and wonderful human being with a positive attitude and who is always a problem solver.  :)   "

- a Lees Corner ES parent

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Olivia Hepler, Springfield Estates ES

"Mrs. Hepler goes out of her way to connect with students and leaves no child behind. In her quest for teaching excellence, she has truly exceeded all expectations. She is by far the best teacher we have worked within our six years enrolled at FCPS (K,1,2,3,4,5th grades). Thank you for teaching our child."

- a Beech Tree ES parent

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Rebekah Chon, Beech Tree ES

"Ms. Chon has been a bright spot in a tough first-grade year for my son. Her positive energy, ease with technology, and patience has been unbelievable. We are so grateful for all she has done to keep everything in 1st grade moving this year."

- a Beech Tree ES parent

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Cindy Trinca, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Cindy Trinca has been an incredibly valuable resource. Recently, we worked through an issue that was very nuanced and involved multiple people. Cindy provided thoughtful, detailed feedback on both the process and the product. She took the time to walk both myself and a colleague through every step, was very supportive, and took the time to answer all of our questions. Cindy is incredibly knowledgeable and made us feel welcome to engage collaboratively in the process as opposed to just dictating at us. We are incredibly fortunate to work with Cindy and are grateful to have her as a resource!"

- Tony DiBari, Westfield HS

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Virginia Tyler, Lake Braddock SS

"Thank you for making geometry fun and so easy to understand!! I've really had fun in your class this year so thank you for making a type of math fun for me!!!!"

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Brian Bailey, Lake Braddock SS

"Thank you for making history such a fun and engaging class!! I really never thought I would be excited to go to a history class!! So thank you for making the year super fun!!"

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Veeda Ranjber, Lake Braddock SS

"Thank you for making this year super fun and joyful!! I never thought I would ever look forward to a history class but you really changed that for me so thank you!!!"

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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William Corey Wright, Lake Braddock SS

"You've been one of my best teachers this year and I really am glad that I took your class!! Thank you for making your class engaging and fun at the same time!! You've made this year a lot better and I had lots of fun in your class!!!"

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Katie Burns, White Oaks ES

"Katie has recently joined White Oaks full time after being with two schools for the past few years, and we could not have asked for a more kind, patient, and experienced TSPEC. This year she has taken on so much for our staff without complaints. She goes above and beyond on every project. Just the other day, Katie helped one of my special education students with computer problems during SOL testing. Sitting back and watching this interaction blew me away. Her ease with students and knowledge of technology are unmatched. She was clear with directions and so very patient in helping this student who was clearly frustrated with our technology. Katie is our tech wizard and we are truly blessed to have her work with us (full time!!) at White Oaks!"

- Erin Morency, White Oak ES

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Patricia Roberts, Newington Forest ES

"Mrs. Roberts went above and beyond with her second-grade class this year. Through the pandemic, virtual school, two-day in-person, and now 4 days, she demonstrated utmost patience and professionalism. We are lucky to have her as our teacher."

- a Newington Forest ES parent

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Caroline Hilton, Fairhill ES

"Mrs. Hilton is very patient in handling the Kindergartners. All kids want time with her. She teaches at kids absorbing pace. Thank you, Mrs. Hilton."

- a Fairhill ES parent

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Helen Rose, Baileys ES

"In this special time, we could not count on better guidance and advice, which we greatly appreciate."

- a Baileys ES parent

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Kim Sloan, Willow Oaks Admin Center

"A huge shout out to Kim for sending IAS English Teachers poetry lessons to celebrate National Poetry Month in April. She challenged herself to write a poem every day and inspired teachers and students to do the same. She sent us lessons via flip grid, which provided modeling for the teachers and students. Every day (yes, every day!) she provide a mini lesson for teachers and students to celebrate the month. The lessons were creative and easily adapted to different sites. And, they were a lot of fun! Thank you Kim! My students and I loved the lessons!"

- Julie Grady, TSRC West Potomac

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Kelly Bunting, Riverside ES

"Thank you for taking the time to make goodie bags for the kids. My daughter was SO excited about being able to pick up her bag. We walked to the school and back, which took her excitement to the next level! 😊 It was a kind and thoughtful act. Thank you for all you do for them in this remote environment!!"

- a Riverside ES parent

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Amanda Blakley, Fairhill ES

"WoW! What an amazing teacher. Mrs. Blakley has a ton of patience, a whole lot of teaching skills, which include discipline, making sure the kids understand the concepts, amazing reading and drawing skills. My kindergartener has improved a lot under her. My son is very shy but he participates in every activity now. He started opening up a lot under her and is now a confident kid. Mrs. Blakley has a unique skill of conveying the best in everything and she translates every kid's awkward, half-complete answers into amazingly positive ideas, giving confidence to the kids. Mrs. Blakley established the rules for the online class quickly and made the online experience wonderful for all the kids. Thank you, and we wish you a belated Happy Birthday."

- a Fairhill ES parent

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Erica Campbell, Fairhill ES

"Thank you so much, Mrs. Campbell, for being an excellent, kind, and passionate teacher. Always guides her students to do better. We appreciate the fact that we can always reach out to her for any kind of help. I can say that Mrs. Campbell made a difference in my son's education."

- a Fairhill ES parent

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Deborah McCoy, Newington Forest ES

"Ms. McCoy has been so instrumental in my son's success and improvement this school year. Starting virtually, and having had received an ADHD diagnosis and implementing a 504 plan with the school, teachers, and counselors, my 2nd grader struggled early on in the school year, and one of the only reasons he’s made a drastic improvement in his education, attention, focus, determination, and his overall achievements and success this year is due to none other than the amazing dedication, patience, instruction and guidance Ms. McCoy has provided him. This school year has been a struggle for many reasons, and I saw my once bright and engaged child, suffering and losing his outgoing and social personality.  His effort and our efforts at home were so stressful and adding unnecessary hardship to all of us. Ms. McCoy has been so kind, patient, and helpful, and has been such a wonderful teacher, and has overcome all of the adversities many of our educators have faced this year. I don’t think my son, and I -  as I have also played a large role in hurdling the obstacles we’ve faced this year virtually and working tirelessly on his assignments each week and suffering right alongside with him - I don’t believe we would have been as successful and made the improvements we have and he has if it weren’t for Ms. McCoy and all of her love and support. We are so very appreciative to have her as our son's teacher. I don’t think we would’ve had the same experience if we had had any other teacher this school year. Thankfully, now my son is back in person 4 days a week in Ms. McCoy’s Second grade class, and we have seen a phenomenal change in his attitude and behavior. His excitement and energy for school and learning returned and I just couldn’t have done any of it or gotten through this school year without Ms. McCoy. Thank you so much! You have no idea the impact you have made on my son and us as well, and we are forever grateful for all you have done and continue to do for him and all of your students and their parents. Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts!"

- a Newington Forest ES parent

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Ian Brodie, Jennifer Cortesti, Michael A. Edwards, James  Mroz,  Lake Braddock SS

"These dedicated professionals support the middle school students assigned to the Gold Magic Team. I meet with this group of caring and innovative professionals each week as a member of a cross curricular team. Thus, we come together with different areas of expertise that we combine ALWAYS with the essential goal of serving as advocates for our students. When we disagree, it is about strategies --  we do not question one another's intentions. Because we have developed such a high level of trust and collaboration among us, we have been able to be part of implementing a multi-disciplinary Capstone for the past several years, in which we ALL contribute our unique individual talents. I applaud and celebrate the fact that this team of educational professionals almost seamlessly transferred the components of the Capstone to enable this massive year-long endeavor to effectively work in a virtual environment. Gold Magic students have remained engaged and challenged because of the work of Mr. Brodie, Mr. Edwards, and Mr. Mroz, and most especially because of the skill and generosity of Ms. Cortesi, who leads us. Every day, I believe I become a better teacher because of these people."

- Lisa Williams, Lake Braddock SS

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Heidi Fornili, Hayfield ES

"Thank you, Mrs. Fornili, for your unending support and love for your students. You absolutely have been a gem this school year, and our daughter has enjoyed having you. Your understanding and compassion during such a different year have been much appreciated. As parents, we are so happy that our daughter has had a great year and made great progress in your class. We appreciate you and will always cherish the mystery gifts that appeared at our door this school year. You are awesome and we wish you a Happy Teacher's Appreciation week!"

- a Hayfield ES parent

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Beth Flanagan, Hayfield ES

"Thank you Mrs. Flanagan for your passion for educating and providing lifelong lessons to your students. My husband and I are so grateful for the experience you have afforded our son this school year. He loves having you as a teacher and has thrived this school year even in the midst of so much uncertainty. Thank you for being awesome and Happy Teacher Appreciation week!"

- a Hayfield ES parent

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David Wickham, Lake Braddock SS

"Thank you for always exhibiting inclusive practices so that no one is left out. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Team Beene appreciates all you do for all the Bruins!"

- a Lake Braddock SS parent

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Deborah Wolin, Chantilly HS

"Ms. Wolin has helped us tremendously in the last 2 years that we have been with Chantilly High. She has always patiently replied to our innumerable questions, and helped us immensely every year during course selection. She has always been our go-to person whenever we have any question about school and don’t know whom to ask. We are deeply in gratitude towards her and appreciate all her help."

- a Chantilly HS parent

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Nina Rumohr, Wakefield Forest ES

"I want to acknowledge Mrs. Rumohr for an, especially remarkable year. From our first meeting in August, she has been so supportive of the children, acknowledging their shared difficulties and finding ways to mitigate some of the hurdles. She engaged parents with lots of communication, allowing us to better support the children from home. She also found creative ways to minimize computer-based frustration, which substantially reduced the number of tears and arguments over assignments in my house. Thank you, Mrs. Rumohr!"

- a Wakefield Forest ES parent

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Amanda Thompson, Forestdale ES

"I would like to take a moment and recognize Mrs. Thompson for her hard work, love, dedication, and professionalism. Mrs. Thompson got us through this extremely difficult Covid time flawlessly and for that, she is our superhero! We love you, Mrs. Thompson. Thank you."

- a Forestdale ES parent

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Robyn James, Newington Forest ES

"I would like to recognize Mrs. Robyn James for her dedication to her students during this past school year. She worked tirelessly to create engaging material for her students. She specifically took time out of her day at the beginning of the school year to virtually host a one on one with my child to go over all materials needed and helped my daughter organize herself for a successful year. I can’t thank her enough for all her hard work. Thank you, Mrs. James!"

- a Newington Forest ES parent

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Carol Stovall, Willow Springs ES

"Mrs. Stovall has been a wonderful kindergarten assistant teacher this year. She brings a happy outlook and smiling face to everything she does. During such a tough year, especially for kindergartners, she has been a bright spot in my sons day to day. He always looks forward to going to class, virtual or in-person. Mrs. Stovall has such a caring and sweet personality that fits perfectly for kindergarten. The couple of personal interactions I have had with her this year have left myself and my son feeling welcomed, included, and happy. She is a great employee for FCPS."

- a Willow Springs ES parent

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Kimberly Dennis-Burgoyne, Willow Springs ES

"Mrs. Burgoyne has been an amazing kindergarten teacher for my son this year. I had no idea what to expect from virtual kindergarten, but Mrs. Burgoyne has made the experience smooth, enjoyable, and fun for the kids and parents. My son is always excited to go to school in the morning, virtual or in-person. During this unprecedented and extremely challenging year, Mrs. Burgoyne has always been positive and caring towards the class. She has unlimited patience for kids finding the work they need and comes up with creative ways to work around a situation if they don't have the needed materials at that moment. Having been a 'fly on the wall' during virtual school, I am happy to say that FCPS is lucky to have a teacher like Mrs. Burgoyne who brings her best every day. My son has definitely flourished this year because of it."

- a Willow Springs ES parent

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Jennifer Allworth, London Towne ES

"Throughout a year of multiple changes, transitions, and technical challenges, Mrs. Allworth has maintained a positive spirit and has shown patience, kindness, and remarkable resolve in providing a consistent and encouraging learning environment for her 2nd-grade classes. She tackled unexpected responsibilities with multiple teacher partner changes over the past few months. During these times of transition, she has carried the load of both classrooms. Her love of teaching and genuine connection to her students shows through every day."

- a London Towne ES parent

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Anita Branch, Ravensworth ES

"Mrs. Branch has been so supportive with helping our child learn their letters and numbers. We are very thankful for Mrs. Branch and all she does for her students."

- a Ravensworth ES parent

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Bryna Erickson, Lake Braddock SS

"She helps me with retakes and math homework every single Monday, and she helps me understand the material."

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Virginia Tyler, Lake Braddock SS

"I have never liked math and it has always been confusing to me. This teacher helped me understand it and she makes the students feel cared about. Whenever you make a mistake she never puts it against you and helps you through it. She is dedicated to her students and motivates them."

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Jennifer Min, Cedar Lane School

"Min is such an invaluable source of support to both students and staff at Cedar Lane. She is always cheerful and caring, always ready to lend a hand, and steps in to help anyone of our students when they are in crisis, that alone would be a full time job. However, Min is also our PTSA Lead, which means she is coordinating Staff Appreciation this week. She has arranged for 'Heroes Work Here' card signage in front of Cedar Lane, she has obtained free lunch one day and free muffin breakfast on another,  and she solicitated the community and parents for gift cards as well. She is very much a NEEDED asset to Cedar Lane.  Thank you, Min."

- Nancy Gadd, Cedar Lane School

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Corey Wright, Lake Braddock SS

"This teacher really cares about his students and makes them feel important. He helped me feel more comfortable at this school and always gives a warm welcome. The daily questions are fun, and I enjoy the way he teaches :) "

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Corey Wright, Lake Braddock SS

"He is very understanding and really helped me by not putting any pressure on schoolwork while I was going through a very rough time in my life at the beginning of the year."

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Arturo Ujeta, Cedar Lane School

"Arturo is a day time custodian. He is at the building, by himself, when the students are present. Our students keep him busy to say the least. He has been instrumental in keeping our building Covid-19 safe. Thank you, Arturo!"

- Nancy Gadd, Cedar Lane School

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Ana Chicas, Cedar Lane School

"We only have Ana part time on the late shift, and the entire building knows who she is. She works very hard to make sure our building is Covid-19 safe, while doing all the other jobs she is asked to do, including moving furniture and 'regular' daily cleaning. We are so happy to have Ana with us, even if it can only be part time! Thank you, Ana!"

- Nancy Gadd, Cedar Lane School

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McLu Buah, Cedar Lane School

"McLu works our evening shift. This shift is when the bulk of the cleaning happens. All our staff know McLu and her wonderful smile and willingness to help. The amount of movement that was needed to get us Covid-19 ready with furniture was a big job and McLu still made sure our building remained Covid-19 safe. Thank you, McLu! Keep smiling!"

- Nancy Gadd, Cedar Lane School

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Mynor Estrada, Cedar Lane School

"Not only has Mynor supervised the daily deep cleaning of our building, he has been instrumental in ensuring that our building gets top ratings on the fight against Covid-19. He keeps the school grounds clean and looking good, and he is a brand new employee!  Thank you, Mynor!"

- Nancy Gadd, Cedar Lane School

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Cristian Santiago Beauchamp, Groveton ES

"Since my autistic son started virtual and in-person on February 2021, I’m very thankful for the hard work and kindness of Mr. Santiago. I appreciate him."

- a Groveton ES parent

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Brooke Allan, Terra Centre ES

"Ms. Allen, a Kindergarten teacher at Terra Centre, is absolutely amazing with our Kindergartner. Despite all the remote challenges with COVID, then figuring out a system for teaching in person, she has remained patient, optimistic, energetic, and really has a spirit for teaching. Our student absolutely loves her, and we appreciate her. She maintains the students' attention, keeps them on task, teaches the information, but also balances to keep it fun and moving along for the age group.  Ms. Allen has been a gift this year - and we appreciate her. All the staff at Terra Centre has been wonderful, but Ms. Allan, is amazing and wonderful!"

- Terra Centre ES parents

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Teresa Llano, Ravensworth ES

"Thank you for always staying so calm with a class full of 5th graders, even when we misbehave. Thank you for being our virtual teacher."

- a Ravensworth ES student

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Joe McGuire, Ravensworth ES

"I would like to submit a long-overdue FCPS Cares to recognize Mr. Joe McGuire for his outstanding work teaching first grade this year. My son has the pleasure of having Mr. McGuire as his teacher. He has been shaped by Mr. McGuire, who consistently exhibits a high level of dedication, enthusiasm, and tailored instructional approach. Mr. McGuire not only shows his genuine love and care to his students, he also strives for academic excellence. He tailors his instructional approach that engages students in class. This is absolutely vital during virtual schooling during the pandemic. For example, Mr. McGuire saw that my son is doing a better job in reading, so he adjusted his syllabus, and moved my son to a stronger reading group so he can excel with his peers. Our family also really appreciates his happy notes that he sends home to students who did well or are well-behaved in class. The happy notes inspire my son to strive for excellence not only at schoolwork, but also in his family life. For instance, when I was very sick, he made a happy note for me because, according to him, Mr. McGuire’s happy notes made him happy, so his happy notes to me would also make me happy and recover faster. Not a day goes by when I am not profoundly appreciative of Mr. McGuire’s fine work and the impact he has toward my son’s growth academically and emotionally. Mr. McGuire is in constant communication with us and provides updates to us frequently via timely emails, and phone calls on weekdays and during the weekends. He sacrifices his own rest time during the weekend to call the parents of all of his students. His phone calls kept us in the loop of how well our son is doing in class.  It has been our own experience, and the experience of the many parents that I have spoken to who have/had children in Mr. McGuire’ class over the years, that he is among the very best in teaching first grade."

- a Ravensworth ES parent

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Jude Welling Barrows, Interagency Schools

Throughout good and bad times, Jude leads the Math Department with grace, common sense activities, and helpful demonstrations, while trying to keep overload to a minimum. She created and shared function slides and many other materials - life saviors for remote teaching and learning - providing real time interactions with our students. Jude is a good listener and demonstrates genuine respect for people around her. She incorporates the good ideas of her colleagues into meetings and makes sure they are shared digitally and in small groups.

- Inna Winchell, Interagency Schools

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Suzanne Engels, Interagency Schools

Hooray to Suzanne Engels for doing an amazing job to prepare our senior student for the W!SE test. The student passed it on a first try, and now there is no barriers to her graduation. Suzanne also helped this student to pass EPF with an A, instilling self-confidence in a student, who will be the first to graduate in her family. Suzanne is warm and easily approachable, has a great sense of humor, and is always ready to help even on her days off. Last year she helped all our students to pass the W!SE test, including a very reluctant senior. Thank you, Suzanne!

- Inna Winchell, Interagency Schools

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Jenna Hoff, Ravensworth ES

"Throughout the year, Mrs. Hoff has gone above and beyond to provide support to our child. She also took the time to walk us through our child's progress and provided some creative suggestions of what we could do at home to help. We are very thankful that our child has an amazing teacher."

- a Ravensworth ES parent

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Ralph DiBacco and Gina Silva White Oaks ES

"Mrs. DiBacco and Mrs. Silva have been really amazing teachers for our children in 2020-2021! It would have been 'easy' to accept a reduced level of effectiveness during the pandemic; however, that has not been the situation at all! Our children are learning, they are prepared, and they are excelling in a reality that none of us were prepared for! My child is thriving and he looks forward to learning. Before the year began, I said 'Thank goodness our child went to pre-school and has been learning at home!'  My wife and I really did not know what to expect, so our hope was that our child knew enough to sustain a year of remote (now mixed) learning. Now as the year is coming to a close, I am thankful that our teachers have instilled a positive learning experience, and a culture that encourages additional learning beyond the classroom. Additionally, as an unexpected side benefit, our child has increased his computer literacy dramatically. We are grateful to Mrs. DiBacco and Mrs. Silva for the professionalism, dedication, and care they have shown to their students.  Thank you!"

- White Oaks ES parents

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Kayleigh Cox, Oakton HS

"Ms. Cox has made the transition from virtual to 2-days to 4-days seamless and exciting for my sophomore. Thank you for being a great teacher and making every day enjoyable and fun!"

- an Oakton HS parent

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Kirsten Collison, Island Creek ES

"My daughter has been blessed to have Mrs. Collison as her teacher for 4th and 5th grade at Island Creek Elementary School. Mrs. Collison has provided my child with opportunities for self-expression and academic growth. She is a superb teacher with the biggest heart! We greatly appreciate you, Mrs. Collison!"

- an Island Creek ES parent

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Gloria Glenn-Yates, Dawn Cochran, Sharon Smith, and Kristi Broady,  Stonecroft Transportation Center, and Katie Wigenton, Lorton Center

"Centreville Elementary School would like to recognize and thank Area 3 Transportation.  Gloria Glenn-Yates; Supervisor, Dispatchers; Dawn Cochran, Sharon Smith, Kristi Broady and Katie Wigenton Special Services Transportation. When reaching out to Gloria, unless she is in a meeting, she is always available to talk and respond. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will take the time to find out. She is also excellent at answering emails promptly. The other day, Gloria took the time to talk over the phone with 3 students. She listened to what happened. Gloria had empathy for the students and told them she would investigate what happened and get back to us. She did exactly that. The phone conversation probably took approximately 30 mins. She did not make the girls feel rushed or make them feel what happened to them was unimportant. Our dispatchers are amazing as well! Even when they have had a stressful day, they answer the phone with happiness and positivity in their voice. They are always willing to help and they have a sense of humor! Ms. Wigenton is just as valuable to us as all the other members of our team.  She, too, works tirelessly to solve problems and to make sure our Special Education Students are assigned to a bus as quickly as possible. We love working with all of you and we appreciate you!"

- Cindy Luck, on behalf of Principal Josh Douds and the entire office staff, Centreville ES

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Emily Dahl, Camelot ES

"Everyday Ms. Dahl is absolutely crushing the three E’s - energy, effectiveness, and execution. Her ability to keep the entire class engaged and committed to their success has been fantastic to watch. My family is so proud to have been afforded the opportunity to have her teach our daughter this year."

- a Camelot ES parent

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Atlee Taylor and Alesia Fortier, Oak View ES

"This kindergarten teaching team has exceeded my expectations of what could be accomplished this year with these first time students. Thank you for all your hard work this year. We really appreciate all the time you put into this wild year of Kindergarten."

- an Oak View ES parent

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Susan Poliquin, Cooper MS

"Ms. Poliquin is, quite simply, the BEST! After a rough start to the school year, my daughter changed to her class. Ms. Poliquin has been so understanding, helpful and has made learning interesting and fun. She has restored my daughter's love of math and I overheard her telling my sister that Ms. Poliquin is her favorite teacher EVER!!!"

- a Cooper MS parent

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Chiffon White, Forte Center

"Chiffon White is a highly valued employee because she produces exceptional work and she exercises extreme attention to detail. Chiffon is thorough, accurate, organized, and productive. Chiffon is the kind of worker who makes sure that the little stuff gets its due attention and makes a conscious effort to keep it in mind while performing her job daily. Chiffon is diligent and focused when carrying out her deliveries to the schools, resulting in her ability to spot errors or discrepancies which save us time and money by avoiding re-work, customer returns, etc.  This type of attention to detail of Chiffon’s work demonstrates and produces a higher standard and pushes others to the same level. On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, while making her normal delivery to a school, Chiffon noticed that her delivery of product to the school had two different items than what was supposed to be delivered. Chiffon returned the product to the Warehouse, which led us to discover that the wrong product, which looked identical in size and count, were mixed and received incorrectly from the vendor. This extreme attention to detail exercised by Chiffon led us to discover that 51 cases had to be retrieved from inventory and customers to correct this problem, which resulted in a cost savings of $1929.84 if she had not discovered this error by the vendor. Chiffon has continuously demonstrated this type of performance throughout her years of working with us. So, we Shout Out to You, Chiffon, and thank you for a job well done."

- Jeannine Carter, Forte Center

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Alexandra Milfeit, Fairview ES

"Mrs. Milfeit taught all four of our children during their time at Fairview. She instilled in them self-confidence and a love of math. She went above and beyond to connect with them personally and academically. She quickly got to know each of them, their learning strengths, and their areas of need, and seamlessly brought them further than they thought they could go. So grateful to her!"

- a Fairview ES parent

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Mike Marasti, Fort Hunt ES

"Shout Out to Mike - he has been very instrumental in the planning and preparation of this year’s SOLs and I couldn’t have done it without him."

- Katie Pluntke, Fort Hunt ES

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Kerry Urbatch, Woodlawn ES

"Ms. Urbatch has been an outstanding kindergarten teacher through the pandemic. She goes the extra mile to make sure her students have the materials they need for a successful day of virtual learning. She has been to my house maybe a handful of times this school year to leave items in the mailbox or on the porch: worksheets, books, calendars, poems, fun buttons to count, and dirt and seeds to plant. Whatever the task may be, she is ready for it. My kids get so excited when they see her outside and we all just waive distantly. Thank you, Ms. Urbatch, for taking the time out your day to make sure your students are happy. You can really tell she genuinely loves her job, and the students love learning with her."

- a Woodlawn ES parent

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Drew Patterson, Merrifield Support Center

"Drew Patterson, HVAC technician, was at Mason Crest this morning and smelled smoke so he drove toward it. He arrived on the scene and a home was fully on fire. He found a hysterical lady outside the house saying that her dog was inside, so he went in and saved the dog, risking his life. The fire department then arrived, and Drew had to spend a few minutes in the ambulance so they could check for smoke inhalation and a dog bite on his finger. Afterwards, he went back to his work request for Mason Crest like nothing had happened. Drew is a great example of the exemplary employees we have at FCPS in our trade teams and it's an honor to work with him."

- Mark Schull, Merrifield Support Center

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Virginia Brasher, Ravensworth ES

"My son is attending in Ravensworth ES and he's in the 5th grade. He told me that his teacher, Ms. Brasher, reads a story book with realistic sounds in the words and she also imitates the characters' voice sounds very well. Every student loves her reading so much that they always wait for the story time. And she is indeed a terrific teacher with kindness, care and passion towards her students. We strongly recommend her as the best teacher in FCPS. Thank you!"

- a Ravensworth ES parent

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Kim McAleer and Preeti Jain, Ravensworth ES

"There is no one day I have to remember how magical you guys are. I have seen my kid grow every single day with your help, love and your support. Ms. Kim and Mrs. Jain have done the miracle. Thank you so much for your effort. We love you guys."

- a Ravensworth ES parent

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Karen Green, Forestdale ES

"Ms. Green, the first grade teacher, has so much patience for her students. She’s great at keeping them on track and focused, and challenging and encouraging them. I appreciate her teaching style and especially during this pandemic."

- a Forestdale ES parent

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