FCPS Cares - September 2019

By Department of Human Resources
September 03, 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

lorton transportation centerCentral Office: James Swider, Lorton Transportation Center

"Mr. Swider went out of his way to help a sad kindergartener who would not get off the bus in the morning. Mr. Swider talked to him in a calm and friendly voice while sharing all the wonderful things the student might do in school. The student was willing to walk into the building, in part, because Mr. Swider was willing to walk with him to class. The student exited the bus and then reached for Mr. Swider's hand and held it until they got to the classroom. Thank you for your patience and kindness, Mr. Swider!"

- Amy Williams, Wakefield Forest ES

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Herndon High School FCPS celebrationRegion 1: Jillian Bickelman and Jennifer Lawrence, Herndon HS

"These two remarkable humans spent their Sunday evening delivering a donated refrigerator to the home of one of our Special Education students. This student's family was using a cooler and ice after their refrigerator broke and they had no way to replace the broken appliance. A remarkable member of the Herndon community located a new (previously owned) fridge via Facebook and we delivered it to a very grateful family! Such an amazing community to live and work in!"

- Katherine ThompsonAllen, Herndon HS

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north springfield fcps cares celebrationRegion 2: Allison Mallon, North Springfield ES

"My daughter fell on the playground at recess and was crying uncontrollably. After picking her up from school, Mrs. Mallon reached out and let me know she was worried about her and wanted to make sure all was okay. She ended up breaking her arm. Mrs. Mallon was so concerned, she asked if it was okay if she paid a visit on a Saturday to see my daughter. It was the highlight of my daughter's weekend. Seeing her teacher in her homemade all pain fade from existence. And that Mrs. Mallon brought her a cheer-up treat, too, was amazing. It was the first time I have seen my daughter ask to write a thank you note to someone on her own. This isn't the only time Mrs. Mallon has gone above and beyond. She generously gave up an evening early in the school year to be the guest speaker about Responsive Classroom Management at our PTA meeting. We do free babysitting at PTA meetings, and our children loved that she brought her daughters with her to play with them as well. Mrs. Mallon truly makes NSES feel like a family. We are so glad she is back!"

- a North Springfield ES parent 

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riverside elementary schoolRegion 3: Donna Eyler and Marye Carter, Riverside ES

Donna Eyler

"Donna is an instructional assistant who has supported our Kindergarten students for many years at Riverside. She is a dedicated professional who is always learning and willing to listen to new ideas that will support her students. This year, she welcomed a new change in the most positive and flexible manner to support another classroom teacher and has been met with a very challenging situation from the start. This Kindergarten teacher was on medical leave to start the year and Donna worked tirelessly to set up the classroom, organize plans, and put routines in place to help our long-term substitute be successful in the classroom and hit the ground running. She also has been instrumental in supporting one of our most energetic students as she applies tier 2 and 3 interventions with fidelity to support his executive functioning skills.  Donna has been patient, understanding, and remains resilient in her approach to support all of our students and we appreciate her very much. Donna is completing her coursework to become a full-time classroom teacher and will be an excellent addition to our team in that capacity when the time comes."

- Paul Basdekis, Riverside ES

Marye Carter

"Ms. Carter is a General Ed IA at Riverside Elementary, but she is also so much more! A few days before the first day of school, a kindergarten teacher went out on medical leave unexpectedly. Ms. Carter has stepped in to provide support to the long-term substitute and the Kindergarten IA. Her contributions are limitless, and she can be found providing instruction, working with small groups, and supporting the class in a variety of ways. Ms. Carter has been observed providing engaging instruction! In one instance, she combined an alphabet lesson with 'How to use scissors and glue safely and appropriately' lesson. We are certainly glad to have such an indispensable individual on our support staff here at Riverside."

- Dawn Champion, Riverside ES

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cherry run recognitionRegion 4: Shakila Asif, Cherry Run ES

"Shakila Asif is an instructional assistant with a commitment to excellence. Shakila and I have had the pleasure of working together for 4 school years in a preschool autism class. Shakila brings many talents to our classroom team, especially in the area of organization. Details make a big difference in the smooth running of a classroom. This fall we welcomed a new member to our classroom team. I quickly realized how many details Shakila just quietly handles in a day as we began to teach our new team member. Shakila has taken our new colleague under her wing and is patiently teaching her about the many tasks that need to be completed each day for our students to have successful days at school. The transition has been as smooth as it could be due to Shakila’s consistency and commitment to our students. I am grateful to have Shakila as my colleague."

- Leslie Lauth-Torres, Cherry Run ES

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woodson high school fcps cares celebrationPeggy Linski, Woodson HS

"I am a new librarian at Edison High School. Peggy Linski (Head Librarian at Woodson HS) came over on her own time during the summer to help me set up the library at Edison. She spent countless hours helping me weed the collection, sorting, and tagging the fiction section into genres in to make it easier for students to find books they love. She also mentored me on the best way to setup the library to create a welcoming, safe space for all of Edison's students. On behalf of Edison and myself, I want to thank Peggy for freely giving her time during the summer to help another school and another librarian create a great library space for the school."

- Sarah Mahan, Edison HS

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Other FCPS Cares of the Month Recipients

Amy Edwards and Ken Junge, Colvin Run ES

"Mrs. Edwards suspected that my son was short-sighted. She has been carefully observing his behavior in the classroom. Neither my wife nor I had a clue. Even after she sent us an email noting her observations, I doubted there was an issue. We took him to the optician over the weekend and they prescribed glasses with a strength of -1.50 and -1.25. This would have remained undetected for many months. It would have inhibited his classroom learning. I look back to the many months when I was at school and the blackboard was blurry and nobody noticed. My son is the first child in his class to have glasses. He has taken to wearing them with confidence because of a good role model (his short-sighted daddy). My son has excelled under the wing of Mrs. Edwards. He is performing exceptionally well. He is bright, focused, enthusiastic, sociable and absorbed in learning. Mrs. Edwards is an exemplar of the very highest standards of education in this country. I have two boys in Fairfax County Public Schools. Your staff are exceptional professionals. Thank you for everything that you do. I also want to recognize Mr. Junge and the staff at Colvin Run Elementary School. They nurture the talent of professionals who make a huge difference in these young lives. We benefit from their passion for learning. There can be no more valuable gift in life. With all sincerity, Daniel."

- a Colvin Run ES parent

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Wendy Osteguin and Judy Daines, Stonecroft Transportation Center

"What a wonderful employee (Wendy) you have working for you in transportation. She was a delight to speak with from the very beginning. So cheerful and a very pleasant voice. She seemed to genuinely care about my children being placed on the correct bus. She remembered me when I had to call back to confirm a change. Sometimes it's the little things that mean so much. I also spoke with her supervisor (Judy) by luck and told her that she has a special person working on her team. Judy was just as pleasant and very prompt with her emails and follow-up calls. Thank you to both of these ladies. Fairfax County is lucky to have both of them!"

- an Oakton HS parent

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Katie Bruechert, Greenbriar East ES

"Katie is so thoughtful and tells me about new books that I could share during my guidance lessons. She also responds quickly to my emails when I inquire about books and will even deliver it to my office. This past Friday, she arranged for Kathryn Otoshi to come to our school. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about including others and making a difference. You rock!"

- Lilly Shin, Greenbriar East ES

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Heather Maclauchlan, Greenbriar East ES

"Heather, thanks so much for always letting me borrow items from the PE supply room. I appreciate how you check in with the first-grader that I'm currently working with. I know that the pep talks help him to work on his goals. I also love that you have a special hand signal with this student. You rock!"

- Lilly Shin, Greenbriar East ES

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Jen Sharp, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Thank you, Jen, for volunteering your time to lead and prepare the weekly fifteen-minute Free Your Mind Friday walking activity for our colleagues at Willow Oaks during the 2018-19 academic year. We all appreciated taking a few moments to relax, regroup, and meet with our colleagues.  A big THANK YOU to you for helping to foster a caring culture at Willow Oaks."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Veeda Ranjber and Jocelyn Cable, Lake Braddock SS

"Ms. Ranjber and Ms. Cable, the SGA sponsors, did an incredible job of putting on Homecoming week. They worked well with both students and their middle school counterparts to coordinate a true 'whole school' approach to the week. Both Ms. Ranjber and Ms. Cable not only facilitated their student leaders in creating a pep-rally and spirit week but coordinated our Bite of Braddock event before the game. Lastly, they did a great job coordinating the homecoming dance which was a huge success. They're certainly appreciated and their hard work was evident and to the benefit of the entire community."

- Tony DiBari, Lake Braddock SS

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Leigh Bergman, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Thank you, Leigh, for volunteering your time to lead and prepare the weekly fifteen-minute Free Your Mind Friday mindfulness activity for our colleagues at Willow Oaks during the 2018-19 academic year. We all appreciated taking a few moments to relax, regroup, and meet with our colleagues. A big THANK YOU to you for helping to foster a caring culture at Willow Oaks."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Angela Linker, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Thank you, Angela, for volunteering your time to lead and prepare the weekly fifteen-minute Free Your Mind Friday activities on stretching, adult coloring, walking, and mindfulness for our colleagues at Willow Oaks during the 2018-19 academic year. We all appreciated taking a few moments to relax and meet with our colleagues. A big THANK YOU to you for putting together such interesting sessions and for helping to foster a caring culture at Willow Oaks."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Sonia Dergam Guzman, Justice HS

"From the moment I joined this school in January, I have been absolutely impressed by the dedication of my colleague Sonia, who is devoted to the students and families and is sensitive to all of their needs in the school system. She is a wonderful inspiration. A person who gives herself to all those who surround her; from faculty to administrators, and most importantly, to our students and immigrant families who live so many confusing moments in their lives as they surf a new society and school environment."

- Adriana Ferro, Justice HS

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Allison Horton, Providence ES

"Ms. Horton was the IA for my son's Kindergarten class last year and she is one of the kindest, most dedicated, and most compassionate people I know. Even though my son has moved up into 1st-grade, she continues to be a positive role model for him. Today my son told me that Ms. Horton should quit her Kindergarten job so that she can come teach [him] in 1st-grade. Earlier this year Ms. Horton surprised him with several books to take home. He has carefully stacked them on his bookshelf, and each time he reads one, he tells us that they are his 'special presents from Ms. Horton and her son'. Her students love her very much, and we are all very lucky to have her in our lives."

- a Providence ES parent

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Susanne Cook, Lake Braddock SS

"Dr. Cook is an incredible resource for LB staff and students. She has this truly amazing heart and positive attitude that is invaluable. At the beginning of the year, I noticed some worrisome behaviors in a student of ours. I went straight to Dr. Cook to ask for insight and help. She listened to my concerns and immediately started brainstorming strategies that would help this student turn things around. She then took time to meet with the student, ask for their perspective, and discussed ideas with them. And this sort of help and input is something I always receive from Dr. Cook. She supported me in and out of the classroom when I was a first-year teacher. When I had a question about a student on my caseload, she came right over to discuss. When I started creating a collaborative team to support our 9th graders with IEP's, she jumped right on board. Dr. Cook has so much on her plate, but she always gives a smile and a helping hand. And in doing so, she creates safer, more inclusive, and positive environments for everyone."

- Ashley Elliott, Lake Braddock SS

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Margie Bruce-Miguel, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Margie is such a delight to work with. I feel that she goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the parents that she supports. She is so easy to work with. Answers the requests for interpretation quickly and is just so pleasant. Thank you, Margie! I appreciate you!"

- Melissa LaBare, South Lakes HS

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Anthony Ramakis, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Mr. Ramakis presented information to a visiting educational delegation from Quzhou, China, about EDSL’s assessment reports and intervention workbooks that are used when making educational decisions. He planned a presentation that was responsive to his audience’s linguistic needs by providing visual examples of EDSL’s capabilities to assist in their comprehension. The delegation thanks Mr. Ramakis for sharing his expertise and for answering their questions, and they look forward to sharing this information back with their educational leadership in Quzhou."

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Jessica Hernandez, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Ms. Hernandez recently shared information with a visiting educational delegation from Quzhou, China, about the academic data housed in EDSL. In planning her presentation, she was mindful of the linguistic needs that could have made it challenging for her audience to comprehend, and in response, she prepared an exceptional presentation that incorporated effective visuals to assist her audience in understanding. She exhibited a responsive culture that took into account the needs of her learners, and the Chinese delegation wishes to thank her for sharing her expertise."

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Hollis McDonald, Edison HS

"I want to thank Hollis for volunteering to take on an extra responsibility this week. She showed great teamwork, organizational skills, and responsibility."

- Melissa Hancock, Edison HS

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Nicola Magley, Bull Run ES

"I am her IA. This is her first year with Bull Run Elementary school. I have worked with many teachers since 2010. She is the most hard-working, professional and caring teacher I have met. She treats her IA's with respect and makes me feel what wonderful coworkers we are for our students. As a teacher for an enhanced autism class, she supports every individual (7 students) with her enthusiasm and love. Every morning when I come to work, my day starts with her great smile. It's been a little bit more than one month since school started, I am still amazed and inspired by her. I am very lucky to work with her. I am also a mother with a son who has autism. I wish my son had a teacher like Ms. Magley."

- Yoonshin Michels, Bull Run ES

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Rick Stegman, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Mr. Stegman shared his expertise about the FCPS Digital Ecosystem Library and the digital resource review process with the educational delegation visiting from Quzhou, China. This was of great interest to the delegation who came to learn about the instructional technology resources that FCPS is using with students. He provided detailed answers to their questions, which will be helpful as they develop a plan for technology integration in classrooms in Quzhou. The delegation would like to thank Mr. Stegman for his willingness to share his knowledge with them and respond to all of their questions."

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Eric Kelly,  Stonecroft Transportation Center

"The students who ride Mr. Kelly's bus are very lucky to have him as their driver each day. I experienced his positive and welcoming nature when I rode his bus last week after being personally invited by Mr. Kelly. He greeted each student as they boarded the bus, exited the bus and engaged with parents waiting at the various stops. He has motivational and bright posters covering the inside/front of his bus. Thank you, Mr. Kelly, for ensuring our students have a fantastic start and end to their school days."

- Jennie Skerker, Union Mill ES

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Aron Sterling, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Mr. Sterling presented to a visiting delegation of educators from Quzhou, China about the functions of the FCPS eCART tool and how it is used by teachers throughout the division to access curriculum resources, assessments, and reports to drive future instruction. The delegation was very impressed by the work FCPS is doing and wishes to extend its gratitude to Mr. Sterling for his presentation that was very clear and provided a live demonstration of eCart to help them better understand how the tool works."

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Evie Ifantides recently helped me to plan a presentation and troubleshoot the technology setup. She even joined me on a 'field trip' off-site to scout out the location in advance and test-drive all of the technology. On the day of the presentation, she arrived early to ensure that everything was working correctly. Evie is always helpful and it is such a pleasure to work with her! Thank you, Evie!"

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Margaret Sisler, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Ms. Sisler recently shared her expertise about FCPSOn with a visiting delegation of educators from Quzhou, China. The guests were very interested to learn how FCPSOn is providing students with equitable access to both technology and meaningful learning experiences, and they will be taking this information back to their own schools to share what they have learned. The delegation would like to thank Ms. Sisler for sharing her knowledge and time with them."

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Ms. Martin Jones exemplified our caring culture in FCPS when she welcomed a visiting delegation of educators from Quzhou, China with remarks in Chinese! The delegation was delighted by the extra effort she made to speak their language. Ms. Martin Jones’ presentation on the Global Classroom Project was of particular interest to them, and several visitors have already expressed a desire to establish partnerships between schools in Quzhou and FCPS through the Global Classroom Project. The delegation extends their sincere gratitude to Ms. Martin Jones."

- Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Nancy Wanzer, McLean HS

"Nancy Wanzer shows that FCPS Cares because she is an awesome Lead Digital Rights Manager for AIM VA. She has been integral to making sure that students at McLean have their text and trade books in accessible formats so that they can maximize their learning!"

- Diana Ree-Reeder, Instructional Programs Support Center

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Oscar Melendez, Sprague Technology Center

"Mr. Melendez goes above and beyond to provide excellent customer service to our office in Hearing and Vision. He works to make sure our student devices are up and running in a timely manner, which ultimately ensures access for our students with blindness or low vision. Thank you, Oscar!"

- Shira Brothers, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Daniel Gray, Rick Madigan, Darnell White, and Natividad Ramos, Forte Center

"I'm a Health & Physical Education teacher at Carson MS in Herndon. At the end of the 2018-19 school year, I requested a work order to remove several mats, high jump pits and gymnastics pads, that took the space of an entire storage room over the past 14 years or more. These warehouse professionals emptied the contents of this room, enabling our Department to utilize this space much more wisely. All of these men were impressive in the way they performed their work and were an amazing example of how much better the world would be if we all worked together as they do. They were focused on the task at hand, courteous and considerate of students in the area and worked safely at all times. They carried out their professional responsibilities in a friendly way and filled an entire Box Truck, plus a bit more in a second truck safely and efficiently. In their quest to fulfill their mission, they have made our world here at Carson MS a better place. Thank you, Gentlemen, on behalf of the Carson MS H&PE department."

- Kerry Campagna, Carson MS

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Sarah Addo, Riverside ES

"Ms. Sarah Addo is a second-year PE teacher. She is very passionate about the well-being of both students and staff. Ms. Addo is supporting our SIIP goal of 'self-care' by teaching a 'Mindfulness' class to third graders for an hour every week, and by leading a 10 minute morning calm meditation daily for staff, among other events. She has taken the initiative to research the best ways to contribute to the wellness of our community at large and is planning ways in which she can expand her reach to families as well. She has already taught a lesson on ways to get your family moving at our Parent Empowerment Meetings. Her enthusiasm and passion for this work are contagious and Ms. Addo is always smiling and encouraging everyone to engage in self-care and wellness!"

- Dawn Champion, Riverside ES

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Leon Jackson, Sprague Technology Center

"Leon always does a wonderful job as the building supervisor for Sprague. But when we had the back parking lot repaved, he made sure that the walkway from the lot to the entrance was also paved. Prior, it was barely-seen pieces of slate. Anytime there was rain, it was impossible to get to the doors from the lot without soaking shoes. Leon went above and beyond to ensure that the path is now wider than a footprint and above 'sea' level! Thank you!"

- Kathleen Christesen, Sprague Technology Center

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Ernest Crawford, Twain MS

"Ernest, Thank you for being available and providing laptops for our ESOL students during the 2019 summer program. We appreciate the time you took to assist our students."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Will Waite, Herndon MS

"Will, Thank you for being available and providing laptops for our ESOL students during the 2019 summer program. We appreciate the time you took to assist our students."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Joel Harrop, Falls Church HS

"Joel, Thank you for being available and providing a laptop for our ESOL students during the 2019 summer program. We appreciate the time you took to assist our students."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Jeff Richards, Sideburn Support Center

"We are extremely thankful for the attention to detail, open lines of communication and support that Jeff provides to Virginia Hills Center. Jeff's knowledge of requirements and collaboration/ follow-through with building custodial and related operational program staff to maintain the building's professional appearance are exemplary. Virginia Hills Center is running smoothly and looking the best yet. Thank you!"

- Kimberly Dupont, Virginia Hills Center

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Nii OkoOdoi, Sprague Technology Center

"Paul OkoOdoi and Nii OkoOdoi provided excellent support during our ESOL. In-service in August at Fairfax HS. There were some last-minute changes to rooms and they were both able to get all the AV equipment set up and working seamlessly. Thank you!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Paul OkoOdoi, Sprague Technology Center

"Paul OkoOdoi and Nii OkoOdoi provided excellent support during our ESOL. In-service in August at Fairfax HS. There were some last-minute changes to rooms and they were both able to get all the AV equipment set up and working seamlessly. Thank you!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Mary Hatchell, Spague Technology Center

"Mary, THANK YOU for your prompt and thorough answers to my many, many questions and requests about Blackboard and specifically creating classes and adding students for the ESOL summer online program. Our timing was tight and needed answers quickly. You were always timely, efficient, kind, and always provided an explanation. You ROCK!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Heather Maclauchlan, Greenbriar East ES

"Heather spent her entire week working on a new schedule for specials and even worked through the weekend. We really appreciate all her hard work to make a functional schedule!"

- Annemarie Cartwright, Greenbriar East ES

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Aidan O'Connor, Riverside ES

"Aidan has been a wonderful addition to our Riverside Staff! As a Special Education IA, Aidan has been incredibly flexible and adaptable in supporting teachers and students in multiple grade levels as we were hiring an additional IA. He has helped us cover classes in emergency situations and always is willing to lend a helping hand! His positivity is MUCH appreciated!"

- Anna Macedonia, Riverside ES

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Belinda Deville, Mount Vernon HS

"Belinda, Thank you for being available and providing a laptop for our ESOL students during the 2019 summer program. We appreciate the time you took to assist our students."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Gisele Gray and Veronica Ardon, Fairfax HS

"Gisele, Thank you to you and to Veronica Ardon for keeping our office informed and managing our needs for the ESOL In-Service on August 21. There is a lot that needs to happen that day and we appreciate the time you took to ensure a successful ESOL In-Service."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Peter Gillen, Riverside ES

"Peter is a new addition to our Riverside Team this year. He joined our staff as a General Education Instructional Assistant and has already made tremendous contributions to our Caring Culture by building meaningful relationships with our students. Peter is extremely flexible and provides coverage in many areas with the most positive outlook and a 'Can Do' attitude. He supports our kids daily as a recess coach outside where he teaches students to play by the rules, exercise sportsmanship, and to encourage each other. He takes initiative to support students in classrooms whenever he can and uses his background as a special education teacher to help all students find their entry point and make their learning relevant. Peter goes the extra mile every day to help our students achieve and we are grateful to have him on our team."

- Paul Basdekis, Riverside ES

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Jennifer Johnson, Oakton HS

"Mrs. Johnson has been helping my son throughout his four years in high school. She has helped build his confidence and teach him life skills (e.g. organizational, time management, productivity, etc.) that he will use throughout his life. I also can't thank her enough for also helping me when I was unsure about how to proceed with an issue he was having. I can see that she is a passionate and caring teacher, and I am grateful for everything she has done for my family."

- an Oakton HS parent

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Claudia Dieguez, Lake Braddock SS

"I would like you to know that I have a son with a serious illness that attends Lake Braddock, who may have up to 30 seizures of epilepsy daily. One of your employees has been helping us for over a year.  She helped to get him admitted pro bono at the Cleveland Hospital. She has been an answer to our prayers. If it weren’t for her, my son might not be here. Her support and of the school have been unconditional for him and our family. Her name is Claudia Dieguez. I wanted you to know all she has done for us and of which she does not have any obligation to do so. I want you to recognize the good things people do who work for the school and county. I hope one day you will get to know the heart she has. She is an excellent employee. Thank you for your time."

- a Lake Braddock SS parent

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Daryl Nguyen, Hollin Meadows ES

"Extended School Year (ESY) at Hollin Meadows would not have been the success that it was without the support of Daryl Nguyen, TSSpec. Daryl answered many questions and provided behind-the-scenes technical support to the entire ESY program this summer. With Daryl's support, Hollin Meadows ESY was able to provide an outstanding program for our FCPS students."

- Karen Wiltraut, Instructional Programs Support Center

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Gretchen Alemian, Lee HS

"I'd like to give a shout out Gretchen Alemian. She has gone out of her way to make sure I'm feeling comfortable and confident teaching my HL2 classes. This is a class I haven't taught before and she takes time out of her planning period to discuss teaching each lesson with me. She has shared her notes and plans with me and has overall been a very caring mentor. Gretchen truly has the students' best interest at heart. I am inspired by her teaching methods and in turn, have pushed myself to reflect and become a better teacher. "

- Sara Last, Lee HS

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Erin Whatley, Montrose ALC

"A student with difficult trauma in his past opened up about it for the first time in his life and we were able to get him and his family help. Throughout the student's interactions with police officers, CPS, and various clinical staff members, Ms. Whatley promised to stay by his side the entire time and she did! She comforted and encouraged the student, his father, the detectives, and the school-based staff working on the case. She was a source of comfort and reassurance to us all as we dealt with a series of revelations and attempted to keep our student physically and mentally safe. After ensuring the student was in good hands, Ms. Whatley then turned her attention to the staff to make sure that we had a chance to process everything and were in a good place before we left her. She worked well beyond the school day with all of us and we are grateful to have her as our building leader! She is tops, and not only spouted but lived the values we promote in FCPS!"

- Raven Jones, Montrose ALC

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Rachel Rubio, Frost MS

"Rachel has gone above and beyond with supporting our school community. She is an essential member of our Reading team and is a prime example of OneFrost and OneFCPS as she is ready to step up to the plate to support new teachers and old in providing what is best for our students."

- Alexis Centers, Frost MS

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Lynn Reid, Sideburn Suport Center

"I am writing to express my sincere appreciation for the work Ms. Lynn Reid accomplishes. I had the pleasure of working with her for over a year when she was my monitor. She is dedicated, hardworking, resourceful, respectful, organized, meticulous and very knowledgeable. She always goes above and beyond to help out her team. She is an excellent Plant Operations Monitor and a great asset to FCPS!"

- Ana Arias, Fort Hunt ES

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Stefan Slavov, Energy Zone Food Services Center

"Stefan started with FCPS in just March of 2019, and he has already become an integral part of FNS, overseeing catering services and supporting the Gatehouse Café. He is an exemplary professional who demonstrates exceptional customer service combined with a strong work ethic. FNS regularly receives follow up compliments from clients impressed with his level of commitment and quality of work. Stefan volunteers his time to help whenever he senses others are in need, takes the lead on any task regardless of the challenge and completes all assignments efficiently while attending to every detail. He has gone above and beyond to support FCPS and his colleagues at FNS countless times over the past seven months. We appreciate Stefan and are very fortunate to have him on our team!"

- Maria Perrone, Energy Zone Food Services Center

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Mekdesse Ellison, Groveton ES

"Everyone probably thinks that their SIA is the best - and they are right! All of our SIA's work very hard to enroll our students and keep our records in order. BUT, Mekdesse Ellison goes above and beyond just doing her duties. She is welcoming to parents, students and staff, doesn't hesitate to stay late (when she is able to), takes work home and above all else - she helps out wherever she can, even in the clinic.  We all love her and want to let everyone know how special she is!"

- Beth Ricks, Groveton ES

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Patricia Zelaya, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Patricia goes above and beyond. She helps me anytime and even with questions that are not related to her area she will find an answer to help me. She is very professional. She makes my job easier!"

- Adriana Barreto, Centre Ridge ES

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Meghan Short, Frost MS

"This is Meghan Short's first year as an instructional coach at Frost. We are so thankful to have her as a part of our community for many reasons. In the short time she has been here, I have personally felt the impact of her support on my professional growth. Through our conversations about instructional leadership, building the collective efficacy of the staff we work with, and supporting student learning outcomes she has made me feel like a better administrator. Meghan often says, 'Everybody gets a little bit of grace' and this is something I see her do each and every day for those who need that the most. Frost has always been a great place to learn and work. With Meghan as a resource, it has gotten that much better!"

- Melanie Porter, Frost MS

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Herbert Rodriguez, Herndon Support Center

"Herb is an amazing asset to the Westfield High School community; the students, staff, and his peers who interact with him mention his easy-going personality with his compassion for the work of a Building Engineer and as a mentor in the building. I am new at Westfield and one of my first staff interactions was with Herb. I was welcomed and he provided support within my new workspace. Recently, while a small task to others, Herb assisted in hanging a whiteboard in my office. He took the time out of his day to help me problem solve and the result is an increased level of effectiveness and organization for me to be able to support the students. But also, during Teacher Return Week, Herb shared his 'why' with the staff. He shared pictures and touching anecdotes about his journey in FCPS. He stepped out of his comfort zone, addressed the large faculty and staff and confirmed for all of us that we all have a story to share with each other and that our titles do no limit our roles in a school and in a child's life. I wish every building had a Herb Rodriguez, but I am grateful to work with him here at Westfield. Thank you!"

- Laura Waterman, Westfield HS

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Izza McDonald, Fort Hunt ES

"Mrs. Izza McDonald is a hard worker and is always willing to go above and beyond. She is very dependable and always follows through with a positive attitude. She is self-motivated and takes initiative in handling situations. She is an excellent team player and is very flexible, helping out wherever needed. We are so lucky to have her on our team."

- Ana Arias, Fort Hunt ES

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Katie Jarvis, Kristen Collica, Matt Rivera, Kathy Tucker, Ayanna Bundy, Susie Pullen, Deb Drembus, Angela Palma, Ali Resch, and Jon Gates, Hollin Meadows ES

"Once again, our Hollin Meadows teachers showed why HMES Cares! We had eight teachers, librarian and our principal volunteer at Family Math Night. They helped us in a variety of ways - greeted and welcomed families, played math games with student and parents, served food, and helped clean up. It is really amazing to see 10 staff volunteers at the evening event and they constantly demonstrate the T in PTA. We are so grateful for their gift of time!"

- Hollin Meadows ES PTA Board

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Guery Cespedes, David Deskins, Felcia Boateng, Emma Aguirre, Hannah Ampong, Phuoc Hang T. Bui, Candida Del Cid, Huy Dinh, Yun S. Han, Tung Hoang, Eun Kang, Rene Mercado, Juan Miranda, Victor Miranda, Johnny Moore, Dinh Nguyen, Minh Nguyen, and Mi Song, Lake Braddock SS

"I am writing to salute the Lake Braddock Secondary custodial staff for their quality and dependable hard work to prepare our building for high school Back To School Night. Immediately after the final bell of the day, our custodial staff members were working to ensure a clean, safe, welcoming school for the parents, families, and community members arriving to visit Lake Braddock. Keeping our campus a beautiful and orderly place is very challenging -- it is most appropriate that we recognize the unsung heroes who do it every day -- our Lake Braddock custodial staff -- some of the most dedicated people you will ever meet.  Thank you for serving our school with care and professionalism."

- Pat Ward, Lake Braddock SS

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Leah Johnson, Centreville HS

"Leah selflessly gave up her planning time to cover another teacher's classroom who's sub was running late. Leah is always willing to help out and never asks for anything in return."

- Anthony Hanrahan, Centreville HS

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Tracie Willstatter, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Thank you, Tracie! Every year we try to expand the caring culture in Financial Services by participating in a department-wide activity that will benefit our students. This year Tracie Willstatter suggested and oversaw the collection of school supplies to be distributed to our students who attend the summer feeds lunches at some FCPS schools. Tracie sent out notices, made signs and oversaw the donation of supplies from our all our offices. She even set up a basket in the Gatehouse Café, this encouraged our Gatehouse family to join in, but also encouraged our neighbors at INOVA to collect supplies and donate to our collection. By the time we delivered supplies to Bailey’s Elementary lunch on August 16, we were able to hand out the necessary supplies to every child that came to the table. Tracie’s hard work overseeing this project encouraged all of us to support student success and help our children get ready to start a new school year. She is a true example of FCPS Cares. (I have a great picture of Tracie holding someone's baby so they can collect their child's supplies!)"

- Patti Parisi, Gatehouse Administration Center

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Christie Miller, Greenbriar East ES

"Thanks, Christie for your unconditional support. You are always willing to lend a hand. Your bin full of art supplies will be helpful for my student. The students and staff members appreciate your positive energy and cheerful smile."

- Lilly Shin, Greenbriar East ES

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Jane Lewis, South Lakes HS

"Jane Lewis worked with my son during his freshman year last year. He's a difficult student with an IEP, yet he's also very bright. Though he rarely worked to potential in her room (all related to his disability), Ms. Lewis never quit on him. Her flexibility with him was commendable, and she continued to try different strategies. Without her efforts, my son surely would have failed English 9 Honors. Without her belief in my son, he might have given up completely. Jane Lewis, in my opinion, is the epitome of what a teacher should be - someone who recognizes potential, never stops trying to help a student achieve that potential, and never waivers in her belief in her students. Thanks for a great year, Ms. Lewis."

- a South Lakes HS parent 

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Alison Koehnke, Centreville HS

"Our CLT wanted to start using Newsela with our students but were having trouble navigating the site. We found Alison in her room and asked us to help us out. She gave up 20+ minutes of precious planning time to walk our CLT threw this fantastic resource."

- Anthony Hanrahan, Centreville HS

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Martha Pardo-Gibson, Dunn Loring Center

"Our CLT wanted to start using Newsela with our students but were having trouble navigating the site.  We found Alison in her room and asked us to help us out. She gave up 20+ minutes of precious planning time to walk our CLT threw this fantastic resource."

- Eileen Mazzone and Melissa Johnson, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Martha Pardo-Gibson, Dunn Loring Center

"We often have district trainings at the Dunn Loring location. Martha is always pleasant and helpful, from answering questions about facilities to providing equipment and materials when things don't go as planned. Because of Martha's welcoming demeanor, we always feel comfortable and supported when training at Dunn Loring. We appreciate you, Martha!"

- Eileen Mazzone and Melissa Johnson, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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David Morse, Woodson - IT

"David Morse went above the normal routine of repairing our Smartboard equipment. One of our teacher's boards was torn and unusable. David advised me of this and offered to replace it with another unit. I had a replacement available at another site. I was planning to bring the board to Rose Hill ES, but David offered to pick up the unit and bring it for me. Unfortunately, the board was not the correct size, so he took the time to deliver it back to its original location. He continued to offer assistance as I reached out to other schools to see if any other sites had a board that met the dimension. Once I found a replacement - David went immediately to picked up the board and installed it the same day. The incredible twist is I have never met David but was very appreciative for his persistence and dedication to helping our school. Thank you so much for providing excellent service. My teacher was extremely happy with the quick resolution."

- Sharon Smith, Rose Hill ES

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Melanie Riner, Sprague Technology Center

"Melanie worked collaboratively with the AAP office to create an interactive video for the AAP website. The video clearly explains FCPS advanced academic services and makes the information accessible to all FCPS families. Melanie's technology expertise and friendly, responsive communication made this project a pleasure to work on."

- Beth Baldwin, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Zoe Wilkerson, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Life is full of its personal upheavals and challenges; but when someone reaches out to show genuine concern and compassion, that makes a HUGE difference. Zoe Wilkerson reached out to me this morning regarding a payroll issue, via email. Despite me feeling quite anxious about this situation (I had a hunch what it was about), I called her immediately. She answered cheerfully, was nonjudgmental, immensely supportive, genuinely caring, and provided me with solutions to a very sensitive issue. She worked to listen to my situation and was patient, honest, and responsive. Zoe really did turn my day around today, and I will be forever grateful."

- Sofie Khalid-Schieber, Woodley Hills ES

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Susie Morningstar, Frost MS

"Susie has been vital in helping the admin and front office at Frost keep all the various tasks, paperwork, and activities going strong. We are a high functioning team and owe that to Susie's support. And always with a smile on her face!"

- Joe Berret, Frost MS

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Mary Wilkinson, Bonnie Brae ES

"Mary Wilkinson has been a participant in Collaborative Team Lead professional development meetings for the past year. During our meetings, Mary is insightful and thoughtful, consistently contributing to group discussions and collaborating to solve problems. Mary has also shared her expertise and enthusiasm for education in other work sessions. Thank you, Mary!"

- Erin Snell, Bull Run Early Childhood Center

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Ana Arias, Fort Hunt ES

"Ana Arias starts and ends each day with a smile that is contagious! She does her job with enthusiasm and pride. She is always willing to offer a helping hand and goes above and beyond what is expected. She makes meaningful connections with staff and students and we are so lucky to have her as part of the Fort Hunt community."

- Emily Jones, Fort Hunt ES

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Richard Barker, Merrifield Support Center

"Richard is committed to supporting our school and always with a smile, even though some situations can be challenging to resolve. Richard is patient and diligent in returning to solve issues and always provides an update to let us know the status of the work needed. During the hot days of school opening, Richard was quick to respond to calls for assistance and we are grateful for his support. We appreciate his time and support and want to make sure he is recognized for the care he provides to our students and staff. Richard is an employee who exemplifies what FCPS Cares is all about and we thank him for his dedication."

- Stacy Kirkpatrick, Chesterbrook ES

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Regina Johnson, Daniels Run ES

"My Kindergartener was throwing a huge fit about going to school that morning. I walked into the office in tears and Regina immediately moved to help me. She took my son and talked to him and called for the counselor so I could leave and they could calm him and get him to his class."

- a Daniels Run ES parent

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Christina Weise, Freedom Hill ES

"Ms.Weise is an incredible teacher. My kid is a little shy and doesn't socialize easily. She worked with her in such a friendly manner that my kid became very comfortable with her. She looks forward to going to the class. She enjoys her class and shares a good relationship with her teacher. In one instance she went beyond her call of duty to help us. She put herself in our shoes and suggested ways to help us. Her support is incredibly not only to the kid in her class but also to the kid's family. We really appreciate her kindness. She is one of the best teachers Freedom Hill Elementary School has. She is a well-deserved person for this recognition. Thank you."

- a Freedom Hill ES parent 

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Danielle Armstrong, Jefferson HS

"She's super helpful, very nice, and genuinely cares about students. She's always there to listen if you need to pop in and talk about anything. She's also helped some teachers, too."

- a Jefferson HS parent

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Brian Kennedy, Jefferson HS

"When my son was invited to attend usnco camp for advanced chemistry study, Dr. Kennedy spent a lot of time and coached and helped him extensively to prepare for the labs so that he was ready for the study camp. We are very grateful for his guidance and help."

- a Jefferson HS parent

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Christina Weise, Freedom Hill ES

"Mrs. Weise exemplifies both the professionalism and empathy required to successfully teach at the early elementary level. She consistently demonstrates care for her students above and beyond school hours and the walls of the classroom. She even made herself available in the summer as a pen pal to stay connected and help improve her students' writing skills. Mrs. Weise upholds a high standard of communication back with parents and creates a collaborative space for children to thrive. I am confident my child will long benefit from being under her tutelage. The most telling and endearing sign of her dedication can be seen in all her former students that stop by her classroom to just say hello and reconnect every morning. Simply put, Mrs. Weise exemplifies the finest motives and dedication that should define what all educators should strive for."

- a Freedom Hill ES parent

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Ma May Thet, Lake Braddock SS

"The cafeteria during lunch is always extremely busy and it helps to have extra adults around to ensure students are cleaning up after themselves, behaving appropriately and remaining in the cafeteria until they are dismissed. One afternoon during C lunch, Ms. Thet happened to be in the cafeteria with one of her students she supervises. Unprompted, Ms. Thet saw the need and jumped right into monitoring the door so students were not able to just walk out. She proved to be SUPER helpful and when I thanked her in-person, she said without hesitation that it was her pleasure to be of assistance!"

- Amy Soos, Lake Braddock SS

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Brooke Gehenio, Justice HS

"Brooke goes above and beyond to help her students in need. She chose to do home bound for a student from her class who had medical needs in the middle of the year. She not only helped her with keep up with her school work but also was available for emotional support. Brooke got special permission from the doctor to allow her to come to into the school for dissection day to help her stay motivated and to keep pressing on. Brooke is a role model for her colleagues and the students in our school."

- Eun-Hye Lee, Justice HS

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Jessica Milliken, Justice HS

"I have known Jessica for almost three years now. She is not only great at her job but she goes above and beyond for the ESOL students she serves. This week, she was working tirelessly to help register new ESOL students outside of her normal department chair responsibilities. I've seen Jessica take on challenge after challenge and she always finds solutions for them.  She deeply cares for the students she serves. I've seen her many times: staying after school helping tutor students, providing resources, having pep talks with students about staying in school, and she works endlessly to see students reach the graduation line. Not enough words can say what Jessica Milliken means to the students and staff of Justice High School."

- Alysha Damratowski, Justice HS

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Chrissy Fulfaro, Lake Braddock SS

"I love when colleagues support what we do as school counselors. After I had met with a student regarding his request to switch out of a class, he did what I encouraged him to do and talked to his teacher, Ms. Fulfaro, so that she could be made aware of his struggles in her class. Not only did Ms. Fulfaro repeat the same message I shared with the student (and this is without us even talking to each other!), she then went a step further and e-mailed the student's parents, while copying me and his teachers, so that we can all work as a team to help this student find success not only in her class but in all his classes! It's great working with supportive teachers like Ms. Fulfaro!"

- Lynn Carrera, Lake Braddock SS

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Melissa Johnson, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Ms. Johnson is such an incredible resource to the Office of Special Education Instruction. In addition to the support she provides to teachers and schools, Ms. Johnson is also a data and tech guru in her spare time. I greatly appreciate the time Ms. Johnson spent showing my team some of the resources she had developed for her team last school year. On top of the time this took, she then personalized the tools for my team to use during this school year. But wait – there is more… The time she took to personalize the tools was after work hours! Thank you, Ms. Johnson,  for sharing your ideas, expertise, time, and tools with us! You are a true team player; helping us all in our work to support schools and the county!"

- Ellie Stack, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Julie Green, Dana Calamito and David Walrod, Lake Braddock SS

"My Math 7 Honors CT has been amazing for my first year teaching Math 7 Honors. They are always there for me when I have a question or need a resource. I feel that I can do anything because they believe in me!"

- Caitlin Zayas, Lake Braddock SS

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Mary Gutenson, Freedom Hill ES

"Ms. Gutenson teaches the Head Start students at FHES and is so very dedicated to their development and success.  I am a parent of students at FHES who were not in Head Start but have seen Ms. Gutenson's dedication and drive, focused on ensuring that her students have the same opportunities as other students in the school.  She has worked to make sure her students are included in PTA events with other students in the school, and also has worked diligently to meet the everyday needs of her students - including finding items (books, markers, coloring paper) for her students to use at home during the summer, and finding clothing and shoes for many of her students whose families may not be able to financially satisfy the basic needs of their children despite their very best efforts.  Ms. Gutenson is a tireless advocate for the children in her class."

- a Freedom Hill ES parent

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Reginald Mitchell, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Mr. Mitchell has been a huge support to our team as we uncover some challenging behaviors with a student. He has been in the building helping to identify how we can support our student in a variety of ways. He has been able to check-in often and given us suggestions that help us to feel more equipped to help our student. We are very thankful to have a BIT who is attentive, knowledgeable, and willing to help. Thanks, Reggie!"

- Erin Lear, Bren Mar Park ES

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Tammarah Addison, Edison HS

"While this recommendation is long overdue, when I hear about going above and beyond for the benefit of students, I immediately think of Mrs. Addison's American Dream unit. The simple outline for the topic was vague so rather than grading a paper for our final project and ending the unit there, she organized a class period for us to present our work in front of our parents. This included bringing snacks and sharing our work, ranging from reading articles to performing spoken words, giving us a chance to really shine in whatever area we chose, even if that entailed hanging up our painting and explaining the importance of it. Not only did this give us a gigantic advantage in understanding the underlying meaning of the unit, but it was really fun, too! Mrs. Addison is absolutely known for going above and beyond, working hard so her students can reach their full potential in her classes."

- an Edison HS student 

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Cheryl Zimmerman, Sleepy Hollow ES

"Ms. Zimmerman is a teammate of mine. She consistently pays attention to the needs of her teammates and finds ways to meaningfully collaborate with and support them. She is attentive to student needs and has recently created an inclusion book buddies program at our school that both the general education students and the students in the enhanced autism program love. In addition to all the wonderful things she does on a daily basis, she is mentoring a 1st-year teacher and is so attentive to their needs and presents information in a caring and concise way that you just don't see everywhere. Ms. Zimmerman goes above and beyond her duties daily and deserves to be recognized for that effort. She truly embodies the FCPS cares mentality."

- Amanda Snyder, Sleepy Hollow ES

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Nina Palazzolo, Glen Forest ES

"Nina has been a valuable contributor to our team by providing lesson ideas during our summer planning. She has also created a helpful math resource that she shared with the team."

- Rachel Pipitone, Glen Forest ES

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Amanda Davis, Glen Forest ES

"Amanda has been a valuable contributor to our team by providing lesson ideas during our summer planning. She has also created a helpful math resource that she shared with the team."

- Rachel Pipitone, Glen Forest ES

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Lee Riley, Woodson Complex

"Upon learning of issues that we were experiencing at our building, Mr. Riley immediately came to Mason Crest to ensure that we received appropriate support. His high standards, personal work ethic, and department leadership provided us with both an improvement on our physical plant and positively impacted our school culture."

- Larry Aiello, Mason Crest ES

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Michelle Temple, Pimmit Hills Center

"Michelle, YOU ROCK! I am sending you a big thank you on behalf of the ESOL Secondary team. Thank you for keeping us all straight with summer registrations and for making sure that all changes were done on a timely basis. We appreciate your knowledge and your help!"

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Sara Carlson, Sprague Technology Center

"Sara, THANK YOU so much for coming to my aid and finding me a room when I needed to use a space at Sprague for a presentation. I truly appreciate your help."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Scott Simmons, Sprague Technology Center

"Scott, thank you for coming to my aid so quickly when I desperately needed another laptop to run a presentation at Sprague. I truly appreciate your help."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Helen Canepa, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Helen, thank you for supporting the Caring Culture Committee during the 2018-19 school year. I especially want to thank you once again coming to Willow Oaks and speaking about the Employee Assistance Program during one of our Lunch and Learn sessions. Thank you for putting together such a thoughtful event and for helping to foster a Caring Culture."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Yubo Zhang, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Yubo, thank you for supporting the Caring Culture Committee during the 2018-19 school year. I especially want to thank you once again for taking the time to lead the Lunch Doctors sessions and spearheading the Bring Your Child to Work Day committee. Thank you for putting together such thoughtful events and for helping to foster a Caring Culture."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Emmanuel Bonhomme, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Emmanuel, thank you for supporting the Caring Culture Committee during the 2018-19 school year. I especially want to thank you once again for taking the time to lead the Lunch and Learn activity for our colleagues at Willow Oaks on Amateur Gardening in the spring. You shared gardening tips and tricks and gave out free small vegetable and flower seeds. I am sure we all benefited this summer. Thank you for putting together such a thoughtful event and for helping to foster a Caring Culture."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Rick Stegman, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Rick, thank you for supporting the Caring Culture Committee during the 2018-19 school year. I especially want to thank you for taking the time to present the use of Video Tools in the spring during one of our Lunch and Learn sessions. Thank you for helping to foster a Caring Culture."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Stephanie Holt, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Stephanie, Thank you for supporting the Caring Culture Committee during the 2018-19 school year. I especially want to thank you for taking the time and organizing the March Madness activity at our building. The Willow Oaks staff participated with excitement! Thank you for putting together such thoughtful prizes and for helping to foster a Caring Culture."

- Evie Ifantides, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Jan Ahearn, Cooper MS

"Where do I even begin with Jan! She is ALWAYS the first to volunteer herself for any task that needs to get done. She was instrumental in helping me by reviewing all 1,000 Emergency Care Forms so they were accurate for an early field trip. Jan will help with any and everything the school needs. Thank you, Jan, for all that you do to make Cooper a better place for the staff & students."

- Annie Eisman, Cooper MS

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Rachel Birns, Hollin Meadows ES

"On September 7, I had a unique opportunity to co-present with Rachel Birns, Second Grade Teacher, at the Northern Virginia District PTA Leadership Training Conference. As a board, we felt it was valuable to our audience to share about our PTA from both a teacher and parent perspective. For me personally, it was even more special in that Mrs. Birns was my daughter's second-grade teacher three years ago. In addition to spending her Saturday morning presenting at a PTA conference, Mrs. Birns attended our first PTA meeting last night, attended our first PTA Board meeting in the evening her first full day back to work in August, and stopped by our first Restaurant Night. Our teacher membership in PTA is growing and we attribute this to her enthusiasm, passion, and support for PTA efforts. She has great ideas and is always willing to communicate and collaborate with the PTA Board. We are thrilled to have her as a vital part of PTA Board as our Teacher Liaison. Thank you, Mrs. Birns, for demonstrating why the T is so important in PTA!"

- a Hollin Meadows ES parent and the Hollin Meadows PTA Board 

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Rachel Birns, Katie Jarvis and Kathy Tucker, Hollin Meadows ES

"Mrs. Birns, Mrs. Jarvis, and Mrs. Tucker, all attended our evening PTA meeting. After teaching all day, they made an effort to be at school in the evening to greet and welcome families and participate in our PTA meeting. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of these teachers to show support for our PTA."

- Hollin Meadows ES PTA Board

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Emily Jones, Fort Hunt ES

"I'll never forget the day that I walked around a corner and found Emily frozen in-place because a student (standing above her on a ramp) had all of Emily's hair in his hands. It looked incredibly painful, yet she stood there...calm and collected...as others worked to diffuse the situation. When I checked in with her later in the day and asked if she was okay, her response was something like--'Oh, yeah. I'm fine. Not a big deal.' Emily's work with students who have special needs is not for the faint of heart. Although I feel certain that situations like the 'hair situation' do not happen frequently, I've seen educators quit--on the spot--after having experienced something like that only once in their careers. Emily is a collaborative, knowledgeable, skillful, and compassionate educator (and leader) who works exceptionally hard to meet the needs of all of our students with special needs. She's an incredible asset to our school and community!"

- Sara Holland, Fort Hunt ES

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Sara Holland, Fort Hunt ES

"She graciously offered books to the entire school because she wanted to ensure students were reading. She also has set up a brand new space that is inviting to the students and she is going to make the kids love STEAM. Sara is caring, considerate, and student-centered. She clearly loves her job, Fort Hunt, and wants to ensure success! Sara shows what it means to be collaborative and shares a commitment to everyone at Fort Hunt. Thank you, Sara, for setting up and implementing a new adventure for our students! I share everyone’s excitement in what you will do with the students."

- Julie Jameson, Fort Hunt ES

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Julie Jameson, Fort Hunt ES

"Julie Jameson encompasses all the attributes of a Welcoming and Culturally Responsive Environment. She took on a voluminous responsibility to re-create a staff lounge that was inviting to all staff. The decorum represents a pleasant, embracing, de-stressing, and delightful environment. We appreciate Julie and her husband for the enormous hours that they donated to the school community and the monetary contributions in all the things they bought to make the staff feel comfortable and appreciated."

- Larry Jones, Fort Hunt ES

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Wijdan Ismaiel, Pulley Center

"The beginning of this school year has been my mist stressful to date. I have assessments to complete, meetings, my teaching, and getting to know my students. I feel like I have been running around like a crazy person. Ms. W. is always in the classroom on time ready to work with the students. She is capable of getting the students started on activities when I am in a meeting or conducting an assessment. She has a calm, sweet demeanor which instantly puts the students and me at ease. She is always happy and willing to help. She has so many nurturing skills. She is a true gem."

- Fallon Keplinger, Pulley Center

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Jenny Iverson, Lake Braddock SS

"Earlier today, I was speaking with the mother of one of my 10th-grade students. We were talking about how the year was going thus far, and she mentioned that her son likes all of his teachers and that he particularly liked his World History teacher. When his Mom asked why, he told her, "She's kind of like a Mom -- I mean, you can already just tell she really, really cares about us." Way to build relationships, Jenny! So proud to work with you!"

- Jacquie Naughton, Lake Braddock SS

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Janet Hampton Loomis, Lorton Transportation Center

"Janet is the special services transportation specialist for area 1 and area 2.  Janet assists with all things special ed. for our small bus students and staff. On this day she deviated from her schedule to ride on a bus to assess and observe a new student. The new student had a medical emergency and Janet assisted to ensure the student was cared for. Due to her planning, presence, knowledge, and dedication, the student received the care he needed. Thank you, Janet."

- Carlton Ellis, Lorton Transportation Center

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Aimee Holleb, Shawn Brown, Belinda Williams, Jessica Tippins and Danielle Hayek, Key MS

"Thank you for being so welcoming and supportive while I was at Key MS. Your team is dynamic, responsive, and clearly cares deeply for the students and families you serve - a model for a Caring Culture! It was a great experience. Thank you again!"

- Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Shira Brothers, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Caring culture, YES! Sharing expertise, YES!  Mrs. Brothers took time from her extremely busy schedule to meet with me to go over a process for which she has experience and I was struggling. This process is not one that comes under her area of focus, rather it is a process she went through recently and one that I am just beginning. I now feel confident in starting this process and in the upcoming conversations that are necessary to be successful in order to ensure we get what is needed for our students. Thank you for helping to get me going, Mrs. Brothers! Whenever we collaborate, I always learn so much from you!"

- Ellie Stack, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Kathy Rock, Oak Hill ES

"Kathy Rock is a Kindergarten teacher here at Oak Hill. As you might imagine, kindergartners have TONS to learn as they first walk into our schools. Kathy provides a loving warmth towards all of her students, she works hard to build relationships with them and goes beyond her work day to make sure that every student receives what they need. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed!"

- Heidi Bowers, Oak Hill ES

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Bryan Gibson, Gatehouse Administration Center

"Bryan Gibson has been a true partner to Lake Braddock Secondary School. We have been proactive in reaching out to his office on many situations and Bryan has always made himself available for consultation. He frequently takes extended time in conversation with us to make sure that we have clarity around our situation and that we can make well-informed decisions. In a realm where there has been a lot of confusion and ambiguity, Bryan Gibson has been the guide we need. Lake Braddock is fortunate to have Bryan Gibson as a resource!"

- Tony DiBari, Lake Braddock SS

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Tylea Holley, Shrevewood ES

"As a brand new Special Education teacher coming from a career outside of education, Tylea has single-handedly kept me in a profession that is not always easy to stay in. She does this simply by showing up and being herself. She not only brightens the day of the staff around her but all of the students’ as well. The craziest part is that I genuinely don’t even think she realizes how important her presence is for our entire school community!"

- Allie Sypher, Shrevewood ES

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Emily Phelan, Chantilly HS

"Emily is always willing to accommodate a chaotic schedule to brainstorm data collection/information gathering ideas. She is a wealth of knowledge and despite some staff limitations of  technology knowledge - she is always graceful and patient in exploring ways to meet our needs."

- Michele Tureaud, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Sarah Pevner and Laura Christadore, Lake Braddock SS

"Sarah and Laura worked with all of my senior students over a two-day period, helping them get acquainted with the new library database and assisting them in choosing a memoir for a project we are beginning in class. They were both so incredibly helpful and the lesson they put together was great! The students loved the program they put together to point them in the right direction and they were comfortable talking to them about book suggestions. When we got back to class, all of my students got right into starting to independently read, with virtually no prompting from me. Sarah and Laura were invaluable in starting this unit off successfully!"

- Krista Gallagher, Lake Braddock SS

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Martha Macdonald, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

"Recognizing the drip, drip, drip of collaboration. When exceptional collaboration and communication happens all year, you definitely notice it. You notice it because you see improvements. Martha Macdonald, the FCPS MentorWorks lead, has consistently worked with the office of Business and Community Partnerships Office all year - so much so, we consider her part of the team. She's worked tirelessly to build relationships, clean up some important work, improve processes, and increases services to students. Noticing the drip, drip, drip of collaboration and communication is easy. We simply didn't want to forget to recognize it! Thank you, teammate!"

- Jay Garant, Gatehouse Administration Center

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Rodney Jordan, Dranesville ES

"This morning one of our school buses had to pull over on the side of the road to handle an emergency. Mr. Jordan was driving by and he felt like something was wrong, so he stopped to ask if assistance was needed. Not only did Mr. Jordan stay on the scene until the paramedics arrived, but he continually offered his assistance to school bus staff as well as the paramedics. His effort, eagerness and willingness to help, as well as his concern for the bus staff and student, was amazing. Mr. Jordan's actions not only lived up to our mission statement but he truly embodied the teamwork and caring attitude FCPS strives for."

- Carlton Ellis, Lorton Transportation Center

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Karen O'Brien, Ravensworth ES

"Mrs. O'Brien is an amazing teacher. She is always putting her students first no matter what. She is always willing to go above and beyond to help her students and to make them feel special. She is also a caring co-worker as well. She is always there to confide in and helps out as much as she can."

- Lindsay O'Brien, Stenwood ES

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Maria Shelton, Key MS

"Thank you for being so welcoming and helpful while I was at Key MS. I appreciate your taking the time to share your insights and knowledge! Thanks again!"

- Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Daisy Gomes, Key MS

"Thank you for being so welcoming and helpful while I was at Key MS. The knowledge and insights you shared are invaluable! I appreciate you and your commitment to supporting a caring culture. Thanks again!"

- Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Brittney Friesen, Key MS

"Thank you for being so welcoming and helpful while I was at Key MS. The knowledge and insights you shared are invaluable! I appreciate you and your commitment to supporting a caring culture. Thanks again!"

- Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Becky Belkoski, Key MS

"Thank you for being so welcoming and helpful while I was at Key MS. The knowledge and insights you shared are invaluable! I appreciate you and your commitment to supporting a caring culture. Thanks again!"

- Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Jennifer Bauer Motta, Key MS

"Thank you for being so welcoming and helpful while I was at Key MS. The knowledge and insights you shared are invaluable! I appreciate you and your commitment to supporting a caring culture. Thanks again!"

- Andrea Martin Jones, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Christina Weise, Freedom Hill ES

"Mrs. Weise is an exceptional kindergarten teacher. Even though my daughter is in first-grade this year, Mrs. Weise is continuing to be a positive presence for her at the school. Over the summer, she offered to be pen pals with the students so they could practice their writing and reading. She sent several letters back and forth with my daughter and it helped not only with her academic skills but also with her anxiety about the new teacher and new classroom for this year. I could fill up pages with all the ways that Mrs. Weise was an amazing teacher in the 2018-2019 school year and every kid in her classroom is lucky. I want to recognize how she goes above and beyond for her students."

- a Freedom Hill ES parent

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Llexell Evangelista, Sprague Technology Center - TMPC

"As we got closer to the beginning of the school year, I realized I hadn't updated our Cafeteria Expectation posters to reflect our renewed focus on Responsive Classroom. I quickly got them ready but realized I was asking for a really quick turn around. I contacted Llexell and asked if I could pick them up the next day so they would be ready when students arrived on 8/26. Not only did he get them done, he was going to be out the next day and stayed later than his usual end time to get them finished for me. Llexell is always the consummate professional. He's always so helpful and willing to go above and beyond to support schools in general, and me in particular. I appreciate his work and his kindness."

- Pamela Cherry, Mount Vernon Woods ES

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Steve  D’Adamo, Glasgow MS

"Mr.D’Adamo is kind, nice, helpful and very understanding. He always makes everyone who is in need of help satisfied. He has been helping us throughout last year and this year as well."

- a Glasgow MS student

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Meagan Tubbs, Lake Braddock SS

"Ms. Tubbs has done a great job connecting to all her students and one in particular. She thinks outside the box to reach every student."

- Michelle Weaver, Lake Braddock SS

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Jung Yoon Eum, Lorton Transportation Center

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank bus driver, Jung, for her patience, support, and kindness in assisting my nervous kindergartener to ride the bus in the mornings. Last week, she complimented my son by stating that "Aydin had a great day" when he was able to ride the bus home. That meant the world to me and Aydin. Yesterday when I mentioned that Aydin will try to ride the bus in the morning, she provided lots of encouragement and said: "he'll do great." This morning, she greeted my son with a beautiful smile and was very supportive in assisting him as he got on the bus. Thank you so much, Jung! We sincerely appreciate all your help, patience, support, and all that you do to make our children feel welcomed and safe."

- a Kings Park ES parent

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Robert Irelan, Lake Braddock SS

"My son came home from school this week and said he was really going to love his AP Science Course this year because, "Mom, the teacher is highly engaging. It doesn't even feel like learning. Mr. Irelan just has a natural conversation with us about things and suddenly things are clearer." Statements like this from my teen make me grateful for teachers like Mr. Irelan!"

- a Lake Braddock SS parent 

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Sheila Pardo, Navy ES

"Mrs. Pardo is our wonderful and amazing school registrar. She helped me so much with filing a big load of clinic paperwork and preparing for the hearing and vision screening this week.

- Kristina Mirlas, Navy ES

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Warren Jeffries, Woodson - IT

"Mr. Jeffries was efficient and courteous in fixing my phone at work."

- Marie Carreon, Mt. Vernon Woods ES

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Oneitha Givens, Laurel Hill ES

"Mrs. Givens is an instructional assistant in the Enhanced Autism program. She always has a positive attitude toward students and learning. She is always offering suggestions to improve student success in the classroom. She brings joy and happiness to the classroom routinely and makes it look effortless. She is committed to the focus of the culture in the school and demonstrates flexibility in her thinking when addressing issues. Her situational awareness and ability to direct her attention to multiple situations makes her an asset in the classroom. I am beyond thankful for all her experience, inspiration, and dedication to not only the outcome but the process."

- Heather Gibson, Laurel Hill ES

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Carin Frank, Lake Braddock SS

"Carin Frank (School Based Technology Specialist) has spent numerous hours with our high school counselors helping us get ready for the one to one initiative and preparing us for classroom lessons.  She has been very patient as she has answered numerous questions and helped school counselors set-up Google Classroom for their grade level classroom lessons. She has met with them multiple times during Collaborative Team meetings to teach various components of Google classroom, Pear Deck, taping of lessons through YouTube, and understanding additional software. Today, she did check-ins with each counselor to ensure all was running smoothly. She has gone above and beyond in assisting the team. Thank you!"

- Alka Howard, Lake Braddock SS

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Teri Hampton, Kathleen Young, Richard Hoppock, Jennifer Iverson, Alexandra Gant-Graham, Patrick Ward, Therese Hatch, Christopher Fowler, Erin Fisher, Dennis Adams, and Amanda Moreland,  Lake Braddock SS

"We owe the Government team, the Social Studies Department Chair, and the Subject Administrator, a debt of gratitude for working with us to conduct the 12th-grade unit through Government classes. This is an extremely important unit as it prepares our seniors for the next phase of their lives. A special thank you for helping us with Pear Deck in the classroom as we engaged our students in understanding what their role is in the post-secondary process. Without your support, this lesson would not be possible. Thank you!"

- Alka Howard, Lake Braddock SS

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Scott Wohlfahrt, Merrifield Support Center

"Scott is the best FCPS Maintenance personnel I know. Whenever we have a problem, he always reports with a smile. He makes sure that things are repaired to our expectation. Scott also makes sure he gives us something to smile and laugh at before leaving the building. Thanks, Scott!"

- Tawanya Scarboro, Colvin Run ES

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Jessica Gillis, Raymond Owens, Paul Scott, Brady Rauch, John Gore, Randy Fricks, Mark Schull, Walt Ivanjack, and David Bennett, Gatehouse Administration Center, Merrifield Support Center, and Sideburn Support Center

"Many, many thanks and words of gratitude to the team at FCPS Facilities and Transportation for their immense and efficient effort of completing sudden repairs to our modular building on the campus of Cedar Lane School. It is obvious that 'teamwork' is your mantra! We are quickly filling seats with students who need our support!"

- Kate Salerno, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Nancy LucasHeck, Lake Braddock SS

"Nancy has done a wonderful job communicating with a family new to our school about the programs offered here. She made the parents feel at ease about the transition to middle school."

- Michelle Weaver, Lake Braddock SS

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Meaghan Tracy, Instructional Programs Support Center

"A humongous thank you to Ms. Tracy for always being so willing to help out; her efforts directly support three goals in the Strategic Plan: premier workforce, resource stewardship, and caring community. Applying the information that Ms. Tracy shared with the adapted curriculum team, and other colleagues in the Dept. of Special Services, enables us to support student success, the fourth goal in the Strategic Plan, as we work with schools and support teachers. Thank you for being so flexible, welcome to ideas and questions, and generous with your time. Your time and expertise are appreciated!"

- Ellie Stack, Willow Oaks Administrative Center

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Lenore Ale, Mountain View HS

"Lenore Ale is our new School Based Technology Specialist here at Mountain View. Her passion and enjoyment for her job is contagious throughout the building. The advancements she has made in just a few short weeks has improved productivity for students and staff. Welcome aboard, Lenore. THANKS for all you do every day with a smile!"

- Jackie Gaston, Mountain View HS

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Erik Dahlin, Sprague Technology Center

"Erik Dahlin knows more about our online textbooks than the McGraw Hill Tech Support and Customer Service lines combined! When I was testing my online textbook in Blackboard student mode, I inadvertently created a McGraw Hill student account and was locked out of the Teacher side. Stuck in a causal loop of doom and after a half-hour on the phone with each of the McGraw Hill tech support and customer service lines, I created a Request IT ticket and crossed my fingers. Going into a long holiday weekend, I was very worried I would just get the directions to an initial set up kicked back and would spend a week without access to the resource. Erik Dahlin came to my rescue. Erik took the time to email me to clarify the exact issue and worked with his contacts at McGraw Hill to get my account reset. He then made sure I had access to the directions so I could make the textbook link and codes available to my students if I didn't know how to find it. It turns out that it is his job aide that my entire department relies on every year we are linking the online textbooks onto Blackboard. The job aide he created has a huge impact on teachers and students in our school and I'm sure across the county and with his help, my classroom students are ready to explore all the features of the textbook as soon as we begin school this week."

- AJ Keifer, Lake Braddock SS

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Andy Jimmo, Robinson SS

"I had two children take an online class for the first time. I was uncertain whether it would be a suitable learning experience for PE10 Both my children learned so much and truly became physically active and more health aware than they had ever been. Mr. Jimmo was enthusiastic, encouraging, kind, patient, was very knowledgeable with learning difference and the various challenges associated, and had a wonderful online presence. It was a very good experience. Thank you, Mr.jimmo."

- an FCPS parent

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Jeniffer Corena, Bailey's Upper Elementary School

"My son has been working with Ms. Corena as his speech-language pathologist since kindergarten. He is now in fifth-grade. Today he decided to audition for the school play. When he started working with Ms. Corena, he was unwilling to speak in front of unfamiliar listeners because of a speech delay. He would get very frustrated and upset at not being able to be understood. I have seen his confidence grow right along with his speech skills and seeing him decide that he was ready to do a play was a turning point. He could not have done this without Ms. Corena's commitment to his speech success. She has been his constant champion and an excellent partner with our family. Thank you so much!"

- a Bailey's Upper ES parent

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Paul Stansbery, McLean HS

"I had a few concerns with my son’s schedule and Mr. Stansbery helped with resolving all of them one by one patiently even though it was a very busy back to school first week for him. He is truly invested in the success of his school’s kids."

- a McLean HS parent

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Byron Hoover, Holmes MS

"Our child was homeschooled for the past 3 years and anxious about returning to brick and mortar school. Mr. Hoover made her feel welcomed and comfortable on her first day of 6th grade. He makes learning fun for the children by making social studies interactive. He uses technology to connect with the children and creates virtual games for them to retain concepts. He uses classroom rewards that our child is excited about. He teaches them history with a STEM spin. Thanks for being awesome, Mr. Hoover."

- a Holmes MS parent

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Laura Organek, Sprague Technology Center

A humongous thank you to Ms. Organek for helping to grow the premier workforce in FCPS. In supporting the Dept. of Special Services with their use of SIS so they are better able to support schools working with students with disabilities, you demonstrated your flexibility and commitment to FCPS. Thanks for coming over to Willow Oaks to provide us with a personalized training which not only provided an overview of the program but also helped us find the information that is specific to the work we do. Your time and expertise are appreciated!"

- Ellie Stack, Willow Oaks Administrative Center