FCPS Cares - September 2021

By Department of Human Resources
September 02, 2021

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

To view past submissions, please visit our previous submissions page

Cara McCafferty, Fairview ES 

"Everyday Cara enters school with a smile. She is caring and hardworking with special education students in her second year in FCPS as an instructional assistant. Everyday she goes above and beyond to meet the needs of students with disabilities at Fairview, support the teachers she works with, and assists with instructional implementation. She is truly amazing! It's a pleasure to work with her!"

- Alyson Rodriguez, Fairview ES

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Mary Grace Grandfield, Laurel Ridge ES 

"Mary Grace is a multiple disabilities teacher at our school and is new to our staff this year. She has jumped right in to our school culture and shows so much warmth and care for the students in her class. She is ready to meet any challenges for her students. In addition to this, she has spent her planning time at school working with a student who is not in her class, lending her expertise to others and developing a relationship with this student to make his transition easier. She exemplifies knowing our students by name and by need."

- Barbara Fleck, Laurel Ridge ES 

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Carolyn Edner, Willow Oaks Center

"Ms. Edner provided timely and amazing support to our son during a challenging start to this school year. After contacting Ms. Edner, she not only spent 45 minutes discussing our concerns, but she also conducted an on-site observation the following day. Ms. Edner ensured concerns were addressed and answered. At our request, she joined our IEP meeting a few days later where critical changes were made. These adjustments to the IEP changed the trajectory of our son’s school year. Nothing is easy about returning strong five days a week after the past 18 months, but Ms. Edner made a huge positive impact, and she did make it look easy. Truly valued added to the South County community."

- a Silverbrook ES parent

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Seongkyu Lee, Connie Sibrian-Vasquez, Deysi Ayala Rosa, Bang Nghieu, Ehmie Hill, Norma Nickel, Youngmi Kim, Hyunju Cho, Manisha Ghotkar and Wendy  Parry, Oak Hill ES

"To the entire Cafeteria and Custodial staff members of Oak Hill, you are truly our unsung heroes! All our families owe you so much gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices, hard work and dedication you set aside for nurturing our little ones. It is the "quiet" work that often goes overlooked, but we're here to tell you it rings loudly in our hearts!"

- a Oak Hill ES parent

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Laura Garofolo, Transition Support Resource Center - Reston

"Laura is constantly thinking outside the box to engage her students. She recently shared an electronic escape room with her class during an advisory lesson on cooperation. It was so fun! I love visiting TSRC Reston to see all the creative things she comes up with!"

- Jenn Scott, Willow Oaks Center

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Cheria Jackson, Transition Support Resource Center - Westfield 

"I had the pleasure of watching Cheria run an advisory lesson at TSRC Westfield. She was engaging and energetic and in turn so were her students. Cheria is always ready to enthusiastically tackle any and all things. She is a joy to work with!"

- Jenn Scott, Willow Oaks Center 

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E. Ashley Moeller, Willow Oaks Center

"Our School Test Coordinator is out on maternity leave and a few of us have stepped in to support testing. Ms. Moeller was so helpful as we were getting our sessions set up and then again on the morning of our first VGA test when Pearson was not working for us. Ms. Moeller's assistance helped us move our entire school from a total standstill into a normal testing session, she really saved the day!"

- Meg Gollinger, Irving MS

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Tara Taylor, Willow Oaks Center 

"Where do I begin?! Tara is an incredible individual! She possesses such a caring nature and truly enjoys helping people. My experiences with Tara are always enjoyable. She is a great person to ping pong ideas off of- she listens, she assesses the situation and provides constructive feedback. In the Community Use Office, we manage a lot of usage with the FCPS community. We host over 50 long term user groups. Most of which are Church organizations and Cultural Schools. Many of these organizations utilize our theatre spaces at the high school level. Tara is a crucial part in helping find and advocate for student techs managing the lights, sound, and other AV equipment for these users. Recently, she helped me secure a long-term tech for one of the churches I oversee. Without her caring nature and desire to help, I likely would not have been able to fill this position. Tara, you are AMAZING and FCPS is lucky to have you! I hope you know this!"

- Alexandra Bryan, Gatehouse Admin Center

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Ken Pieper, Willow Oaks Center

"I really appreciate the effort our team has put into developing a positive school culture. Mr. Pieper displayed the kindness of a caring, consciousness co-worker. He may not even be aware of how our short conversation had a large impact on my day. It allowed me to redirect my thoughts before any students arrived. It turned out to be a great day. Thank you, Mr. Pieper."

- La Toya Prescod-Williams, Transition Support Resource Center - Fairfax

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Kaylyn Gallagher, Lake Braddock SS

"It is hard to describe Kaylyn's extraordinary commitment to her students and her skill in addressing our most challenging family situations. She is poised, professional  and remarkably composed, even when confronted with incredible obstacles. In the past year, I have seen Kaylyn manage what I consider our single most challenging student situation with compassion, skill, positivity and professionalism. She is wise beyond her years, and woefully undervalued for the sheer skill she brings to every meeting. I am privileged to work with her in every situation we happen to share."

- Jacquie Naughton, Lake Braddock SS

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Sierra Alexander, Lake Braddock SS 

"Sierra is the most amazing 2nd year counselor ever. She is positive, she is supportive and she is skilled. Tonight, she voluntarily presented in front of over 75 parents at Back to School Night. Prior to the  presentation, she did not know if 20 parents would be there, or 400 parents....but she still volunteered to co-present. She did this to support her colleagues and she did this to challenge herself. She did GREAT!!! I am so, so proud of her and grateful to call her my colleague AND friend!"

- Jacquie Naughton, Lake Braddock SS 

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Debra Brown, Lake Braddock SS

"I call Deb Brown "Guru". I do this not only because she knows everything that is important in counseling, but she generously SHARES it. We have ten counselors in our program, and I cannot count the number of times we get stuck and the answer is "ask Deb". She knows college process. She knows requirements for graduation.  She knows technology. She knows how to best create  a lesson to support kids. She's knows, she knows, she KNOWS, and because she loves us and loves  kids...she shares. "

- Jacquie Naughton, Lake Braddock SS 

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Jessica Stowe, Laurel Ridge ES

"We have known Mrs. Stowe for 3 years now. It was not the first time she went above and beyond what is expected of her as a teacher. I first met her near her classroom when she came up to me as I was sobbing because our son was crying, clinging on to me refusing to go to school. She walked him to the classroom and then spent time with me while waiting to be seen by the school guidance counselor. For the 2nd time, Mrs. Stowe was again at the right place and right time when our son needed help after a boy soaked him wet while they were in the bathroom. She reached out to us to let us know what happened and informed administration about the incident. We thank her for all that she does for our children, for making them feel safe. Her professionalism, compassion and dedication to her work make her an outstanding teacher. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Mrs. Stowe! You are amazing!"

- a Laurel Ridge ES parent

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Tim Roberson, Woodson Center

"Tim has met with us multiple times to help us set up our news room and get us going with our live news show. His dedication, helpfulness and knowledge have not gone unnoticed. Today he set up, cleaned and organized our entire news room, complete with cables, laptops, labels and even wiped down the counters for us so that our room was immaculate! His work is impeccable! He offered ideas, suggestions, and support each step of the way, including offering to come back and help us with the students for our first live show. We feel so grateful and thankful he is part of the FCPS team. Our students and entire school community will benefit from his generosity and be able to see an awesome student run news program. THANK YOU SO MUCH, Tim!  We are lucky to have you!"

- Christie Hall and Jennifer Buchko, Halley ES

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Alexandra Parkins, Justice HS

"This year began with an open position in Physics which meant that many students began their year with a substitute. As a CT Leader, Alex has gone above and beyond to ensure that these Physics students who had yet to meet their teacher were set up for success.  Each day (for 22 straight days), she created lessons, gathered materials and graded papers for these classes ensuring that students were having relevant learning experiences and receiving timely feedback. Alex helps her co-workers willingly and always keeps "the main thing the main thing" with student learning first."

- Laura Prince, Justice High

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Sherry Jenkins, Migdalia Flores Recinos, Griselda Amaya, Santa Hernandez Rubio and Julieta McLemore, Deer Park ES

"Today I was visiting the early childhood special education preschool team between the AM and PM classes, when I observed outstanding work being done by the Deer Park custodial team. They were working hard keeping our youngest learners safe buy wiping all of the surfaces, mopping the floors and cleaning the bathroom quickly and efficiently between the AM and PM class. This extra cleaning is so important for young children who are learning to keep items out of their mouths, to cover their coughs and wash their hands correctly. The extra attention to these classrooms will definitely make a huge difference in keeping these students well. Thank you for your time and attention you these classrooms and to our youngest learners. Your work did not go unnoticed!"

- Melissa Modarressi, Bull Run Early Childhood Center

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Tomas Lopez, Woodson Complex

"Kings Glen Office staff reached out to David Lopez (Groundskeeper Senior Supervisor) to notify him of a downed tree located on school property that had fallen and partially blocked a neighborhood street adjacent to the school. Mr. Lopez had his team at the location within 20 minutes of submitting the work order, and the tree was removed within an hour. In addition, he sent his staff back out early the next morning to complete the work by chipping up the cut wood. Our school, and our neighboring community, are grateful for his prompt response! Mr. Lopez shows us a great example how FCPS cares about our communities, and we thank him and his team!"

- Claire Thomas, Kings Glen ES 

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Chris Park, Collin Powell ES

"Mrs. Park joined the Powell ES staff this school year as my administrative assistant and she has been a gem to work with ever since! She dove into the work without hesitation and continually approaches all tasks with a HUGE smile, friendly laugh, and a can-do attitude. It is an absolute joy to work with Mrs. Park each day! She is approachable, knowledgeable, and a fast learner. Kudos to Mrs. Park on a great start to the year! I look forward to working alongside her for years to come!"

- Jamie Luerssen, Collin Powell ES

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Eileen Thawley, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Eileen is a very thoughtful employee who works well with others. She has picked up the workload for herself and others in such a stressful time. At a very confusing and overwhelming time, she has exhibited, patience and kindness. We appreciate her!"

- Leigh Bergman, Willow Oaks

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Montell Brown, Liberty MS

"Mr. Brown is in his first year at Liberty MS coming to us from Philadelphia's public school system. He has jumped right in helping his colleagues/CTs, practicing restorative practices/PBIS, building relationships with students, making his presence known by going to the cafeteria during his own lunch spending time with kids, helping the kiss and ride circle every morning and then going to the cafeteria to monitor students. Thank you Mr. Brown for being who you are and choosing Liberty MS to be your new home!!"

- Greg Hall, Liberty MS

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Gretchen Cruz, Orange Hunt ES 

"Ms. Cruz has been most attentive and gracious in keeping us informed about our son's educational experience. Further, she has demonstrated the concern, compassion and enthusiasm for our son's education that gives us as parents a wonderful sense confidence in his welfare."

- a Orange Hunt ES parent

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Helen Akther, Davis Center

"Every morning Helena does bus duty. She greets all students with a smile and a kind word, which sets the tone for their day. This type of support provided consistently over time is so important to our school community and the mindset of our students; we often know exactly how they are doing when they come off the bus each morning and Helena's calming presence and warm welcome can be the moment that turns a frown upside down and sets a positive path for the day. Her consistent contributions to our school's caring culture are immense and we are fortunate to have her as a paraprofessional colleague at the Davis Career Center!"

- Chad Clayton, Davis Center

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Stephanie Sheridan, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Ms. Sheridan was instrumental in assisting me in setting up a one-on-one meeting with my School Board representative, Laura Jane Cohen.  School Board member calendars are busy, but Ms. Sheridan was able to provide me with multiple options for an in-person meeting. Additionally, she was extremely responsive to my emails and also went above and beyond to provide me with instructions on our meeting location. She was very kind, prompt, and even confirmed our appointment the morning of the scheduled meeting. As a constituent, I genuinely appreciate her attention to detail, kindness and assistance! She is an asset and credit to Fairfax County Public Schools."

- Christy Hudson, FCPS parent

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Lauren Forshay and Jennifer Kenney, Davis Center

"When I was out of the building with a sick kiddo, Lauren and Jen stepped in to run our reevaluation meetings for the day. It was a stacked day and they stepped out of their own very demanding jobs to help me with mine. I am so appreciative to have colleagues who I can depend on to help me. Thank you both."

- Ariel Matz, Davis Center 

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Roberto Porta, Virginia Hills Center

"I want to send a shout out to TSRC Fairfax’s newest ESOL teacher Mr. Porta. Mr. Porta joined us this year and came full of passion and knowledge. I would like to express my many thanks for his openness, and willingness to support in the classroom. There is no task to big or task to small. He is happy to serve our students. He is self-directed and looks for ways to build background knowledge and activate forward knowledge for both students and staff in the most diplomatic way. In addition to helping me with my Spanish he is also willing to teach Latin dance to the school! I really appreciate the positive energy he brings to our site. Our student engagement level is evidence of his success."

- Latoya Prescod-Williams, Transition Support Resource Center - Fairfax

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Kristin Delgado, Forbes Place

"Kudos to Kristen Delgado, Retirement Counselor for ERFC. She met online with me to navigate the retirement paperwork for both VRS and ERFC. Her presentation was concise & clear which made the process smooth. Additionally, I truly appreciated the time she spent answering additional questions that I had. Not only was she knowledgeable but extremely patient. Thank you for making the transition easy."

- a FCPS retiree

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Ramiah Ford, Gunston ES 

"Ms. Ford goes above and beyond to support her students both academically and emotionally. When my child was paused from in person instruction, she made a special effort to call her and check in with her multiple times. She checked in with her about her assignments but also about her emotional state. She recorded short lessons and provided instructional material that my child could access and complete independently."

- a Gunston ES parent

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Victor Powell, Glasgow MS

"Principal Victor Powell came our house on Friday afternoon and spent over a hour talking to my family. My 7th grade daughter has always found reading challenging. When I shared this with him, he suggested he come over and spend some time with her. He showed up with compassion, passion, and inspiration I have never seen from an educator. He told her stories about himself and his personal challenges, and asked her questions with such genuine interest. He held her attention and interest the entire time! It was amazing to me that a principal of a school of over 2000 kids can show such interest in each student. I know we are not alone in this experience. You have a gem in Mr. Victor Powell."

- a Glasgow MS parent

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Amador Diaz, Jorge Escalante, Adrienne Moua, Beatrice Kumi, Victoria Acosta, Julio Aleman, Ana Alvarado, Maria Bonilla De Hernandez, Eun Jun, Oh Kwon, Mercedes Martinez de Vazquez, Bebaoi Mehani, Duy Nguyen, Ho Pham, Francisco Ramirez, Elsa Susanivar, Gary Taboada, Hung Tran, and Young Sun Yum, Centreville HS

"The custodial team at Centreville High School are the unsung heroes of our day-to-day operations. Not only have then been working tirelessly to keep us all safe and COVID free, but they have been at the front lines of the devious licks vandalism. On top of all of this, the custodial team helped me purge our workroom of decades of antiquated textbooks. We would literally not be here without you all; thank you so much!"

- Anthony Hanrahan, Centreville HS

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Laura Edmonds, Samar Awad Salama and Area 7 Transportation , Lorton Center

"The FCPS Transportation teams are amazing overall. They juggle endless changes and obstacles every day. Area 7 Transportation for the Bryant AIM Program, specifically Laura Edmonds and Samar Salama Awad, consistently assist us with our student transportation needs. Most recently, we were experiencing a daily pattern with three students during afternoon dismissal. The cabs were not picking up the bids and students were waiting 15-30 minutes after dismissal for their transportation. My calls to Laura became a daily routine and she always answered the phone happy, knowing it was me calling her AGAIN! She took the initiative to up the bid time to 30 minutes and we were hopeful this would help. The first day it worked great although only with one student and none thereafter. Laura again, took this situation to the next level by requesting and obtaining permission to designate a van for these three students to share every afternoon. With the shortage of vans and drivers, this was not an easy task although Laura made it happen. Laura, Samar, and the entire Area Trans 7 team are truly just that, a team. Their priority is to put our students first and they do this every day and they're a pleasure to work with. Thank you!"

- Beth Melillo, Bryant Center

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Christine Franco, Keene Mill ES

"We are a military family who moved from Germany to Fairfax County during this past summer, 2021. We knew no one at Keene Mill Elementary school where my daughter would be attending and because we arrived during the summer months, many of the offices were, understandably, closed. I was having a difficult time enrolling my daughter, thanks to some unique paper work challenges, until Ms. Chris Franco learned of my situation. Immediately, Ms. Franco took it upon herself to see that our transition was stress-free. She walked me through the process over the phone and even called me several times to give me progress reports as to how the enrollment process was going. She was encouraging, patient, professional, and a God-send to our family. I will forever associate Keene Mill Elementary school with Ms. Chris Franco and recall the "Earth Angel" who so obviously cared about my child and our family and represented her position as a registrar with such admirable professionalism and humanity. It is my hope that every military family coming into FCPS will be fortunate enough to encounter an extraordinary individual like Ms. Franco."

- a Keen Mill ES parent

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Cheryl Clark, Bonnie Brae ES

"Mrs. Clark is my child's 1st grade teacher at Bonnie Brae ES. She cares about her students so much and goes the extra mile to build a relationship. She and one other staff member visited our house before school started to personally welcome my child to her class. During the BTSN presentation, she welcomed all of us and made us feel special. She even gave us a phone call and left a voice message to let us know how our child is doing in class. My child's transition this school year was successful thanks to Mrs. Clark's kindness and thoughtfulness. Thank you!"

- a Bonnie Brae ES parent 

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Norma Nickel, Oak Hill ES

"Ms. Norma, as we call her, is an outstanding cafeteria staff member. Last year she made daily trips to the modular to make sure each class and every child in the class was taken care of.  She routinely double checked on staff members as well. This year she is equally as thoughtful and caring. She greets students during arrival and is welcoming to our newest students and returning students as well. Anyone can see that she is smiling through her mask as she works."

- Kristy Smith, Oak Hill ES

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Mo Kaczynski, Woodson Center

"Mo was beyond friendly, helpful, and gave high standards of "customer service." Her expertise in resolving two telephone work orders in such an expeditious, humble, compassionate and responsive way were truly appreciative!  Thank you!!!"

- Rita Berlin, Dunn Loring Center

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Amanda Blizzard, Westfield HS 

"Just a shout out to Ms. Blizzard. This is the 2nd year my daughter has had her as a teacher. I just wanted to say that she is learning so much from you, thank you so much for making the subject matter interesting and engaging!"

- a Westfield HS parent 

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Tracey Phillips, Robinson SS

"I really appreciate how quickly Principal Phillips and her staff took care of a safety concern at the NW corner of the school grounds in front of the school sign. There was a visibility issue because of overgrown foliage after all the heavy rain and she and her staff immediately addressed the issue once it was raised to them. THANK YOU!"

- a Robinson SS parent

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Tracey Phillips, Robinson SS

"Principal Phillips heard from parents at Oak View on Friday that there was bush on Robinson grounds blocking the sidewalk at the intersection in front of Oak View. By Monday morning the bush was gone and it was safe for students to cross again. Thank you so much for being so prompt! Great Leadership!"

- a Oak View ES parent

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Janet Dalton, Laurel Hill ES

"In this stressful COVID time, my elementary school Principal realizes that some of us families have full time jobs and need to be physically in our offices, and therefore has consistently advocated hard to get our kids back in school and stay in school. Last spring, she offered many students 4 days in-person, above and beyond the allotted "2" in-person days. This was a life saver for our family. It allowed both my husband and I to work in the office, and earn a living for our family. She then immediately had the teachers pivot to the 3-week summer program, which again was another life saver for us. I am on plenty of parent boards and have read the horror stories out there, and realized how fortunate we are for Principal Dalton. My kids adore her. They see her car around town and all scream "mommy is that Ms. Dalton!!" The teachers she has, are incredible.  It's like we are TEAM LAUREL HILL rather than just an ordinary elementary school. This shout out is especially for her. She deserves it."

- anonymous

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Justin Nielsen and Mary Ann Barry, Fairview ES

"The two amazing counselors at Fairview, Mr. Nielsen and Ms. Barry, go above and beyond to ensure the needs of their students are heard and supported. They went out of their way to set up a call to ensure that my daughter got to talk to her father, who is serving overseas, on her birthday. This was the absolute highlight of her day and a meaningful moment that will not be forgotten. Thank you both!!"

- a Fairview ES parent

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Mariangely Cortes Ramos, London Towne ES

"I would like to recognize Sra. Cortes for everything she did to keep the parents informed and answering all the questions and concerns we had regarding our kids while they were on virtual learning. She was always there when we needed her and when we were worried about our kids learning. Thank you Sra. Cortez for all you have done for our kids."

- a London Towne parent

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Amanda Dorr, Floris ES

"Amanda has been a phenomenal leader here at Floris as our assistant principal. She has been transparent with all of the regulations and policies. She spends time to build relationships with staff. She is supportive and caring of staff concerns. She LISTENS to staff. Amanda has made teaching during COVID at Floris a great experience."

- Lisa Higgins, Floris ES

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Mindy String, Frost MS

"Despite having MULTIPLE preps, special educator Mindy String is always giving at least 110% at all times to ensure her colleagues and students feel loved, seen, heard, and supported.  No matter her own experience level, she is willing to do what it takes to get the job done. She's pretty darn awesome."

- Heather Shue, Frost MS

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Antonio DiBari, Kristine Oleksiak, Xiara Davis, J'Na Johnson, Katelyn Touhey, Margaret Sisler and David Groff, Westfield HS

"Today I had the opportunity to substitute at Westfield High School as a central office volunteer. From the moment I walked into the school building, I immediately felt incredibly welcomed, appreciated, and valued by everyone that I interacted with. Every staff member was friendly and went out of their way to answer my questions or show me around the building. It was clear that the teachers I was substituting for have great relationships with their students and their plans were detailed and easy to follow. At the end of the day I worked with the Cat B Team - I wish I had written down all of their names as well to tag everyone individually on this FCPS Cares post! The compassion and care they showed for their students was so easy to see. Several of the students I spoke to told me enthusiastically that their favorite part about being in high school was, “MY TEACHERS!” Something special to note about my experience is that several years ago, I taught at one of the elementary schools that feeds into Westfield. It was such a joy to run into so many former students throughout the day. Each student I talked with impressed me with how much they have grown and how confident they have become over the years. When I asked the students what they thought about being in high school, they all genuinely shared with me that they “Really like it here.” I am so grateful that so many students have the opportunity to grow and flourish in such a welcoming environment with a supportive staff and community. Thank you to all of the Westfield staff for all that you are doing for our students, and for all that you do to make substitutes feel welcome. If you are a substitute and are reading this, I hope that you pick up a job here to join such a wonderful school in the future!"

- Abbey Miller, Willow Oaks Center

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Rebecca McDermott, Davis Center

"Becky went above and beyond in supporting our community's caring culture this morning by making homemade muffins for a retirement celebration. Becky is our AMAZING culinary arts teacher and the master mind behind our student catering program; this was a very busy week with many jobs and Becky was gracious enough to say YES when asked to help us celebrate our colleagues. Becky represents what makes DCC such an amazing school and I am grateful to be able to work and learn alongside her each day!"

- Chad Clayton, Davis Center

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Emily Millians, West Potomac HS

"Emily's deep instructional experience has truly supported teachers as they are transitioning to a 4.0 scale and standards-based grading. She is encouraging and tenacious in her desire to help teachers learn and grow. She has completely supported one colleague in particular and it has made all the difference."

- Christine Cashman, West Potomac HS

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Holly Walker, Floris ES

"Holly has been a phenomenal leader here at Floris as our principal. She has been communicative with all of the regulations & policies; she has spent the time to build relationships with staff, and she is supportive and caring of staff concerns. She LISTENS to staff. Holly has made teaching during COVID at Floris a great experience."

- Lisa Higgins, Floris ES

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Nicole Morales, McNair Upper ES

"Navigating protocol when identifying COVID positive staff or students, identifying close contacts, filling out the appropriate paperwork for the Health Department, and notifying all parties impacted can be a very daunting task for anyone. The McNair and Floris communities are so grateful to have Ms. Morales serving as our Public Health Nurse! Ms. Morales is incredibly responsive to our many questions and always makes herself available to ensure that our questions are answered. Often times, this is after school hours and late into the evening. She also helps us ensure that we are taking every measure possible to keep our students and staff safe while at school. She has been an integral part in helping us make an intense job role less intense. We appreciate you, Ms. Morales!"

- Melissa Goddin, McNair Upper ES

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Patina Betchar, Churchill Road ES

"I was a substitute teacher in Ms. Betchar's 3rd grade class while she taught a colleague's class. As a former high school teacher, I had concerns about teaching elementary schoolers, but Ms. Betchar met me in her classroom before the start of school and gave me a detailed lesson plan for the day. I taught three lessons (math, reading, and mind mapping) and kept the class on task for the day. Ms. Betchar checked in a few times during the day, but her lesson plan and the students' positive and supportive behavior made the day a success. For this volunteer, the quality of Ms. Betchar's lesson preparation and class culture made this an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to repeat."

- Anthony Copeland, Gatehouse Admin Center

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Daniela Pastor, Fairhill ES

"Daniela is doing an amazing job helping us facilitate our MTSS Committee!!!! We are so lucky to have such a strong advocate for kids and hard worker supporting our team this year."

- anonymous

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Kimberly Cox, Lake Braddock SS

"The beginning of this school year has been a whirlwind as we get back to in person learning 5 days a week. Being a teacher in the County and having three kids that attend three different schools can make for a logistical challenge when figuring out school communication and keeping straight specific school's policies and procedures. When I went to LBSS to pick up one of my students today, I was greeted by Ms. Cox in the main office. She could have given me a hard time for not knowing the pick up procedures or just helped me collect my son and moved on with her crazy day, but she didn't. Ms. Cox took the time to talk me through where I could find online info to make my life easier and even pulled up and emailed me the links to sign up for emails. To a parent who is learning the middle school ways and just trying to keep everyone going this year, this small act of kindness meant the world to me. I hope everyone is greeted by a "Ms. Cox" at their students school."

- a Lake Braddock SS parent 

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Aradia Bath,  Sprague Technology Center

"Aradia Bath has been an outstanding partner with the Secondary Language Arts team. Going above and beyond, Aradia will attend vendor meetings, communicate clearly with the team as she sees common patterns in user concerns, and brainstorm possible solutions. Aradia represents the best qualities in our Information Technology partners. The Secondary Language Arts team cannot begin to thank Aradia for all she does to support us."

- Paige Whitlock, Willow Oaks Center

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Corri Shusterman, Kings Park ES

"My child is very anxious, and the start of the year was really tough. Corri has been with them every step of the way. Always responsive to emails, coordinating with teachers, and with me. My child is especially afraid of bus dismissal during storms. When the forecast was especially rainy, and it was obvious dismissal was going to be really hard for my child, Corri took time to check in with them. She gave my student agency and control, she empowered them to make decisions and advocate for themselves. In the end, my child was confident about the team behind them and the support. The day was a triumph. My child came home all smiles, so sure that they could conquer any challenge. Every day at Kings Park is a win and Corri Schusterman is a constant cheerleader and strategizer and team leader. I appreciate her SO MUCH! I feel confident sending my child to school knowing she is in Corri's hands. I also know that Corri gives that kind of attention to any student that needs her. <3"

- a  Kings Park ES parent

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Stefanie Shelesky, Island Creek ES

"I would like to thank Ms. Shelesky for being a wonderful school counselor! Ms. Shelesky has helped my child for the past several years, and has contributed greatly to her social and emotional growth. Although my child has moved to a different school, Ms. Shelesky continues to care about my child and provide important information to the new school.  I am thankful for Ms. Shelesky's expertise as a school counselor!"

- a former Island Creek ES parent

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Andrea Flores, Gunston ES

"Ms. Flores is my teacher. I like her because she is nice and kind. She is fun and she works very hard."

- a Gunston ES student

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Jimmy Menjivar, Cesar Herbas and Danash Kritselis, Sideburn Support Center

"Jimmy, Cesar & Danash did excellent painting work for us in two separate areas of the Dunn Loring Parent Resource Center.  They were very neat, kind, and very quick to respond.  Fabulous work!!!"

- Rita Berlin, Dunn Loring Center

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Amanda Dorr, Floris ES

"Amanda has done such an incredible job as our AP. She is organized, timely, and transparent when addressing student concerns and discipline. She has built a wonderful reputation for supporting and caring about the needs and concerns of staff  at our school. She is eager and willing to jump in with any and all situations and crisis’s. As horrible as COVID has been on our routines and procedures, Amanda has not only been a shining example of what is expected, but is also eager to address any concerns about safety, health, or procedure."

- Caitlin Pomerantz, Floris ES

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Darin Byrd, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Byrd did a great job supporting a fellow teacher who missed our back to school night. He pulled up the presentations with the welcome messages, welcomed the parents who were waiting in the hallway into his classroom, and helped give them the essential information they need around our Advisory class. It was a huge help for Mr. Byrd to jump in and help in this situation."

- Scott Darwin, Lake Braddock SS

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Amy Moir, Woodson HS

"Amy is always one of the most kind and caring professionals in our community. When i was in a car accident she offered to come in early to teach my middle school Basso choir (knowing that subs are hard to come by, especially ones that can teach music!). The very same day she left early in order to pick me up and take me to the Woodson High School Feeder night football game because I had no transportation. She constantly goes above and beyond to help her students and colleagues and has demonstrated a caring culture in everything she does!"

- Meredith Lee, Frost MS

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Alejandra Lopez, Sprague Technology Center

"Alejandra has been an AMAZING over the top help to me and so deserving of FCPS cares recognition. As a newly hired DSS, I NEVER would have been able to complete our school’s master schedule without Alejandra’s guidance. Any question I have, Alejandra is there with an answer. I so appreciate her knowledge, experience and overall support. She is truly the best!"

- Jennifer Pallotto, Carl Sandburg MS

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Susan Waring, Laurel Ridge ES

"Susan Waring is one of our school guidance counselors. In addition to her regular duties teaching guidance lessons to classes and helping individual students in need, she offers her time outside of school hours to facilitate the military students' club, the student leadership club, and the annual school talent show. She is always there when someone is looking for a helping hand. This year, she has added on even more as she has been instrumental in helping some of our new students make the difficult transition into in person school. She is the best of FCPS."

- Barbara Fleck, Laurel Ridge ES

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Margaret Sisler, Westfield HS

"Margaret very generously shared her time and expertise with me to help me figure out a google sheets formula.  I appreciate her!"

- Janet Babic, West Potomac HS 

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Sarah Pevner, Lake Braddock SS

"Head H.S. Librarian Sarah Pevner is one of my mentors in the county and yesterday I had a chance to see her in action at the Lake Braddock Library. Wow! Every student and staff member that entered (and there were MANY) got a warm greeting, often by name. No small feat in a school of thousands. Sarah and her co-librarians have created a shared space that is clearly the heart of the school, where students, staff and community can come to read, research, collaborate and create. Sarah's passion for supporting student inquiry and exploration inspires me as a professional. She is an amazing asset to her school and to our school system."

- Amy Talbot, Burke MS

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Shannon Hardtke, Fox Mill ES

"Ms. Hardtke has been a fantastic teacher, colleague, and friend since I have known her. She continually goes above and beyond to ensure her students are receiving the best support (both academically and emotionally) that she can provide. She strives to create a warm and welcoming environment where all students feel appreciated and loved. Even when faced with challenges, including already having the whole class participating virtually this year, she rises to every occasion putting in countless hours and time devoted to the success of her students. She is truly one of a kind! Myself, her students, and the Fox Mill community are lucky to have such an amazing individual at our school. Ms. Hardtke, your passion and perseverance are admirable! As a teacher, I have landed the perfect combination- working with a colleague that is has become a life long friend. THANK YOU- from your Fox Mill class family!

- Kayla Briggs, Fox Mill ES

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Diane Hardbower, Glen Forest ES

"Dianne is a true hero of our school. I cannot thank her enough for all she has done to help with all the behind the scenes of our Mentoring Orientation, Teacher work week, Glen Forest Courier service, Tuesday folders and daily requests from our staff. She does it all with a smile on her face and is always willing to help. She truly deserves recognition for all her hard work. This school would not run as smoothly without her. Thank you Dianne for all you do! We see you!"

- Rachel Pipitone, Glen Forest ES

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Mary Kate Harris, Robinson SS

" Mary Kate has gone above and beyond to work with teachers to guarantee that classroom activities are accessible to her vision students. I was so impressed with her ability to create what I thought would have been a very difficult activity for a vision student and make it absolutely perfect. She also makes sure last-minute material and changes are ready by class time for the students. Mary Kate truly puts her students' needs first."

- Nancy Bandman, Robinson SS

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Holly Walker, Floris ES

"Holly has done such an incredible job as our principal. She is organized, timely, and transparent with policies, regulations, and addressing staff concerns. She has built a wonderful reputation for supporting and caring about the needs and concerns of staff  at our school. She has really made bearable the horrible conditions COVID has caused."

- Caitlin Pomerantz, Floris ES

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Amanda Dorr, Floris ES

"She has done an absolutely amazing job as we transitioned to a new principal and gotten us through COVID and virtual learning with humor and grace. She works tirelessly and always has a kind word or sympathetic ear."

- Christina Molitor, Floris ES

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Holly Walker, Floris ES

"She has done an incredible job as a principal, especially considering she came in during COVID. She has helped get us through this crisis with good humor and grace."

- Christina Molitor, Floris ES

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Sharon, Michael, Donnalee, Mable, Maura and Meghan, Lynbrook ES

"The EAC team at Lynbrook Elementary is exceptional. Since the beginning of school, these teachers have helped their students acclimate to in-person learning, including getting off the bus, transitions around the building, and specials. These teachers know their students by name and need and provide to-the-minute instruction, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and boundaries. This team works closely with their students to offer just-in-time coaching. As a result of this team's dedication, their students have made significant progress in language development, social interactions and other classroom skills, all within the first few weeks of school! Team members are positive, professional, creative, and resilient. We are so fortunate to have them at Lynbrook!"

 - Elisabeth Deaton, Lynbrook ES

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Erin Wigginton, West Springfield HS

"Erin Wigginton is one of the most amazing teachers that my girls have had at WSHS. She absolutely cares about each of her students and wants them to succeed in both school and life.  I have had the privilege of having three of my girls pass through her doors and each have left knowing that a teacher truly cared about them. This is has been a very rare occurrence in their time in FCPS. They will always remember you for that!"

- Caitlin Zayas, Lake Braddock SS

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Malicia Braxton, West Springfield HS

"Malicia Braxton is the type of high school counselor that you hope that your student has. The type that cares enough to look outside the box and really listen to what the student needs. If more high school counselors took the time to listen to the student's story with an open mind and an open heart, imagine what a great place that students would be in. Malicia has made that great place at WSHS for both of my girls this year. I will be forever thankful!"

- Caitlin Zayas, Lake Braddock SS

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Carlos Melendres, Sprague Technology Center

"Carlos is extremely responsive, and very thorough in his IT position. Ensuring that new software on my laptop was installed properly, that I knew how to use it and it's functions, are always so appreciated and helpful.  He is thorough, patient and always so timely in all he does.  Thank you!!!"

- Rita Berlin

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Kennidi Knoblock, Cooper MS

"Kennidi is an absolute ROCKSTAR teacher. I have already been blown away by her patience and calmness. I can't believe this is only her 2nd year teaching! Kennidi really takes the time to get to know each of her 7th grade PE students and in turn, many feel like they can come to her about anything. Recently, I've seen her interact with one particular student multiple times and she has really gone the extra mile in working to ease his anxieties about PE class, while also making him feel comfortable and valued."

- Jill Donnelly, Cooper MS 

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Bill Deavers, Monica Quintana and Cathy Greer, Gatehouse Admin Center

"I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate each of you for all you do. Bill, thank you for always explaining the “unexplainable” and thank you Monica and Cathy for always being consistent in your patience and excellent work ethic. I understand that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming as we’re all trying to understand and navigate our way through these new processes and still maintain a high level of candidate care. You all just make it that much easier. We honestly couldn’t do it without you!"

- Octavia Pollard, Gatehouse Admin Center

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Colleen Compton, Thoreau MS

"Colleen is an amazing colleague, educator, and interdisciplinary team leader. She truly embodies student-centered best practices, facilitating deep and meaningful discussions of history and current events and getting to the bottom of our SEL concerns, establishing trust and comfort with every student as the foundation of difficult topics and situations. Colleen leads our Ravens team meetings efficiently, professionally, and compassionately, helping identify students who need extra support and facilitating a problem-solution approach. I have and continue to learn so much from her!"

- Michelle Gabro, Thoreau MS

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Sheila Sobeski, Fairfax Villia ES

"Mrs. Sheila Sobeski has been an invaluable resource, a sounding board to think through challenges to gain new perspectives and a consummate professional. Her leadership and support since the start of this new year have been a tremendous asset to me, my students, and our staff. She is a great role model and peer who strives to build teacher capacity, strengthen professional capital, and create an environment of success for all students."

- Tina Pivarnik, Fairfax Villa, ES

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Nicole Stevens, Flint Hill ES

"Ms. Stevens has gone above and beyond. We are a new family who moved from APS and felt like a fish out of water. Our oldest is in 5th grade, a time when most families are well acclimated to school but being a new family that was not the case for us. Ms. Stevens has checked in making sure our son was ok, provided special feedback and made sure our family felt connected and welcomed to our new school. Teachers like her are special and a big reason our son is thriving. Thank you!"

- a Flint Hill ES parent

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Ed Tyler, Wilton Woods Center

"Ed was able to fulfill a high level data request on an extremely tight timeline. His ability to get us this mission critical data request allowed leadership to make decisions on their next steps. He was willing to talk through the possible options to ensure the request was filled appropriately and was a delight to work with."

- Shawn Heilemann, Willow Oaks Admin Center

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Meg Rogers, Instructional Program Support Center

"Meg Rogers has gone above and beyond to ensure that her colleagues can access and actively participate in the virtual OSPC Equity Team Meetings. Her efforts to bring members to the table by providing technical assistance has ensured that their voices and perspectives are present when decisions are being made. Her efforts enact the division's commitment for Keeping Equity at the Center. Bravo Meg!"

- Claire Silva, Willow Oaks Admin Center

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Nadya AbuRish, Beech Tree ES

"Ms. Abu-Rish was just really fantastic in engaging her classroom last year during the school year. From virtual baking lessons with her class to parents being welcomed to read virtually, she found fun ways to connect with her students. She went above and beyond every week. I’m just so impressed by her actions. Beechtree is so lucky to have her!"

- a Beech Tree ES parent

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Mike Jenkins, Beech Tree ES

"Mike Jenkins has been the Physical Education Teacher at Beech Tree Elementary School for as long as I can remember--at least 15 years! He is always available to talk with/mentor students and follows them from Kindergarten all the way through 5th grade. Mike Jenkins is the epitome of an elementary school teacher! I cannot sing his praises loud enough!"

- Gregory Skrtic, Beech Tree ES

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Shannon Gresh, South Lakes HS

"My daughter and I first met Ms. Gresh five years ago as a new family to South Lakes public school. I am always amazed how she has always put our children’s needs before anything else! She has ensured our experience at South Lakes has been positive. She has truly cared about both of our children in their entirety from their mental health, to their class schedule, to their safety, to their college planning, IB classes and just so much more! She has always made herself available for them and myself and she always takes the time to comfort us in times of worry with her calming voice. I wish I could do more to Thank Ms. Gresh and will actually miss her when my son graduates this spring! She is by far the most fabulous counselor who's always going above and beyond!  Thank you!"

- a South Lakes HS parent

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Jonathan Pruess, South Lakes HS 

"I first met Mr. Pruess at back to school night. I was so impressed by his passion when he spoke about what the class is working on. Before I had a chance to say it, another parent commented, 'Wow, your enthusiasm and love for what you do is incredible.' Over the past few weeks of school, I have heard my son say he spends every extra moment he could in this class as he too is so inspired by Mr. Pruess. Thank you so much and Job well done in engaging our children. Your love for teaching shines so clear that I had to share!"

- a South Lakes HS parent

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Asmita Jadhav, Rocky Run MS

"When I was in for a two week substitute assignment, I got to work with Ms. Jadhav who is an Instructional Assistant at Rocky Run Middle School. She really knew each student and how to support their needs. She was sincerely thoughtful about what was being taught and she offered suggestions on how to approach a DNA strand building project that the students had to do. Then she obtained, created, and made available some additional 3D manipulative materials. I want to share my positive reflections on her amazing dedication to the students and to working so wonderfully with the teachers and students she supports"

- Inge Gedo, Rocky Run MS

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Tara Murray, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Tara Murray--a real, live ROCK STAR! Why? Well, Tara is always willing to go the extra mile to support school administrators and school staff members when a question(s) arises about COVID protocols, decisions, procedures, etc. She is available to help us work through issues and concerns--all while never making us feel like we are a burden to her. She also teaches us, not just tells us. In addition, Tara works with us in a way that makes us feel respected and she always treats us as a professional. She understands we are all doing our best for our students. When we call her, we know we will get top tier customer service from a friendly, knowledgeable colleague who wants to help us do the right thing for our students. She never forgets why we are all here and does everything possible to lessen the burden on schools so we can get back to the work we are all here to do. Tara's support to our schools and our community can not be overstated. Thank you, Tara for a job (more than) well done!"

- Shane Wolfe, Aldrin ES

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Holly Mossburg, Irving MS 

"Holly is an incredible leader in the SBTS community. She has provided exceptional support to her FCPS SBTS peers as we have rolled out Schoology with our staff with a keen ability to identify the specific support that we need. This support has been instrumental in my ability to tailor support specific to my school, and I am positive she has made a tremendous impact on this process at other FCPS schools. I believe that our school-based Schoology leaders have been key in guiding FCPS through the transition to Schoology and Holly is an exemplar. Beyond Schoology leadership, she is always incredibly responsive to the variety of questions that arise in our SBTS Middle School Support Circle, often reaching out via phone to supplement support for resources she shares. I have been in the SBTS role for quite some time and Holly truly stands out with her authentic and meaningful approach to collaboration in this community. I’m beyond grateful to have her as a colleague! THANK YOU, HOLLY!"

- Pamela Galietta, Rocky Run MS

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Kristen Coyne, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Kristen helped out Oakton HS over the summer when we were without an employment specialist. At a particularly stressful time of year when we were trying to become fully staffed for the year, Kristen added us to her list of schools and was incredibly responsive to all of our requests, and even more questions. She was helpful and certainly made a huge difference in our ability to fill many vacancies before the start of the  year. We are so appreciative!"

- Jamie Lane, Oakton HS

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Seongkyu Lee, Oak Hill ES

"Mr. Lee is a custodian in our building and went above and beyond to make my daughter in Kindergarten and me feel welcome at this school when we started here last year. This year he continues to be kind a patient and even takes a minute or two each day to ask my daughter how she is doing and tell her a joke/laugh with her."

- Kristy Smith, Oak Hill ES

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Kevin Brown and Andy Lam, Woodson Food Services Warehouse

"Kevin and Andy worked on Friday, September 3, 2021, to accept and store a delivery of 1330 cases of food at the FNS Warehouse. The carrier scheduled an appointment on this date not realizing that FCPS was closed. Instead of rescheduling, Kevin and Andy began receiving at 5:30am in order to ensure the product was received."

- Maria Perrone, Energy Zone Food Service Center

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Mary McGreevy, Willow Oaks Admin Center 

"Mary McGreevy, Robinson pyramid PSL, has supported our Terra Centre staff with guidance in preparation and facilitation of multiple  meetings this week. Mary's constant professionalism and insight have been invaluable and we wanted her to know that her hard work does not go unnoticed!"

- Teresa Lewis and Rebecca Gidoni, Terra-Centre ES

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Karen Marx, Katherine Johnson MS

"Thank you for providing and sharing with me all the knowledge, expertise, and support I need to be able to teach my Physical Science class effectively. A teacher that teaches other teachers is a supper teacher! The passion you have for your job and your eagerness to help others is contagious!  “Thank you!” from a co-worker."

- Maryam Salahshoor, Katherine Johnson MS

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Jamie Gadley, Dranesville ES

"My first grader has been having a hard time willingly going into school some mornings this year. Mrs. Gadley saw us struggling from a distance and went out of her way to greet my child by name, build her up with positive motivation for the day and escort her into the building and to her classroom. Mrs. Gadley has made sure that we, a family still feeling new to the school after an unusual kindergarten year, feel our child is welcomed and loved in her school community. She has even followed up later to make sure we know our child had a good day once inside. Mrs. Gadley goes out of her way daily to make sure we know all students are taken care of at Dranesville and we are so appreciative!" 

- a Dranesville ES parent

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Alejandra Moya, Laurel Ridge ES

"Ms. Moya is an instructional assistant at our school. She constantly has a smile on her face and a positive attitude whenever I see her in the hallways. I recently got to work with her to meet a student's needs and was able to experience firsthand how she jumps in to help in any way she is asked without complaint. She is calm and capable and treats students with dignity and respect, especially when they are experiencing difficulties regulating themselves. She is part of what makes our school, our community, and FCPS great!"

- Barbara Fleck, Laurel Ridge ES

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Sara Lyboldt, Laurel Ridge ES

"Mrs. Lyboldt is our lead special education teacher and does a great job managing our school's Special Education needs and mentoring teachers with IEP goals and scaffolded work. She goes above and beyond those duties though. She is dedicating much of her day recently to helping one particular student make the transition into our school and his new classroom. She engaged with this student in a warm and caring manner throughout this difficult transition and really embodied what it means to know each student by name and need.    Mrs. Lyboldt sees a need and meets it, whether it is for her school, her colleagues, or her students. She is the best of FCPS."

- Barbara Fleck, Laurel Ridge ES 

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Alison Koehnke, Centreville HS

" Alison is an absolute rock star. On top of two new preps this year,  Alison is the World History 1 Honors team lead. One of her curriculum team members is on maternity leave and unfortunately, we're on our second long-term substitute. After investing an extraordinary amount of time mentoring the previous substitute, this week, she is starting over. Thank you SOOO much Alison! You are moving mountains to help students at Centreville High School."

- Anthony Hanrahan, Centreville HS

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Stephanie Holt, Willow Oaks Admin Center 

"We, at WP, have been struggling to find a long-term solution for our vacant computer programming position. Ms. Holt has been extremely helpful and responsive to our needs and has been working with us to ensure we have learning materials to provide to our subs. We cannot thank her enough for her support!"

- Brett Garner, West Potomac HS

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Philippe Cloutier, Sprague Technology Center

"An ongoing project for the Office of Integrated Digital Technology Services in the Department of Information Technology involves the installation of Zoom rooms throughout several administrative centers in FCPS. Many of the logistical concerns for this endeavor have been undertaken by Events Services. ‘Logistical concerns’ completely understates the process of assembling the pieces required to create an operational Zoom room. That is because Zoom rooms require an inordinate amount of equipment much of which is large and very heavy. Additionally, the majority of these installations occur in spaces well above ground level. Enter Philippe Cloutier. Philippe, Phil has been my go-to muscle all summer. By their very nature conference rooms soon to be Zoom rooms are popular venues. This means equipment movement generally takes place in very specific windows so as not to disrupt ongoing or upcoming meetings. Phil has been a willing and capable partner on short notice time after time. Additionally, interested parties often take these opportunities to ask questions or settle installation issues they my have. Phil has been stoic despite these intrusions which frequently lengthen the event. Patience during these high visibility evolutions is key and Phil’s calm manner is helpful and very much appreciated. I am aware that Phil’s work in support of Zoom room installations is only a small corner in his universe of work with Events Services but wanted to make sure he knows his efforts are not taken for granted."

- Mark Hyer, Sprague Technology Center 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert has been doing a really great job keeping spirits up and our marching fundamentals sharp in after school rehearsals."

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Emily Shahrigian, Dunn Loring 

"The level of professionalism and a caring heart that Ms. Shahrigian displayed towards our client today is just wonderful! Emily went above the call of duty to get information to the client, and made sure the family was safe.  Her compassion is a testament to the Caring Culture FCPS is looking for in their employees. Emily, thank you for supporting me today as well….we make a GREAT team!"

-Deanna Johnson, Chief Equity Office

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert always is helpful and kind and is an amazing band director. He works really hard to get our band ready for football games and competitions and has been really patient with technical difficulties."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Upon realizing that we had no flute to play our solo, Mr. Gilbert let another student play the solo on a recorder which resulted in a great laugh for everyone."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is caring of every individual and helps out everyone."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert has only been in the band program for a year (and that was over COVID) but he has been helping out immensely and I think he has done a great job to make sure the students issues relating to band are resolved."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"This man gave me a jazz book because I didn’t have a free block for jazz band. He is very understanding about things and instead of having the "because I said so attitude" he makes you want to listen out of respect for him and last year when I had him for the first time I felt inclined to actually learn to play my instrument better. Despite not being my teacher he still helps me get better at my instrument."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is in his second year teaching the Lake Braddock Band and he has been doing AWESOME! He taught all of us during band camp even though it was his first time doing it with us (in person). He is always kind, funny, and a great teacher!"

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is a great Marching Band teacher! Not only does he teach full-time, but he stands out in the hot sun every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon to help us march. He’s a phenomenal teacher and a good guy."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is a great teacher. At band practice he’s always positive and upbeat. He encourages us to do better and he puts a lot of effort into helping us."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Has been a very good marching band teacher. Helped us become a better marching band."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"He was a great band director during practice and really cares about the show we're working on."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is so good at listening to all of his students and making sure he pays attention to all of us to make our marching band show is smooth and the best it can be. He’s also pretty nice."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert has been very helpful and cares about each and everyone of his students. He helped us with after school practice and made us better each practice."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Very much jazzy"

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is kind and patient during marching band practice."

- a Lake Braddock SS student  

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is very nice to us during marching band practice. He is always smiling and showing us positive energy. He encourages us even though we fail as we march, and proceeds to demonstrate to us how to do it nicely."

- a Lake Braddock SS student 

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Gilbert is really good with understanding how far he can push us in marching band. He gives us breaks when we need it, and overall boosts morale. We are at a great place in marching because of him."

- a Lake Braddock SS student

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Heather Gagliardi, Riverside ES

"I would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of my teammate Heather Gagliardi. She has been an integral part of our back to school plans and procedures. Heather is a hard worker, willing to go the extra mile for her students and for her teammates. She walks through the door every day with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. I have seen the gentle love and care that she gives her students every single day. It is an honor to work with her. She embodies Riverside‘s motto of effort and attitude. We are so glad she is on our team. Thank you Heather for your collaboration and dedication to our school and our students."

- Marialys Gruneiro, Riverside ES

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Celine Sinclair-Peebles, Interagency Schools - Transition Support Resource Center - Alexandria

"Mrs. Peebles helped me create a resume and get a job. During every step of the way she walked me through it and helped me understand everything needed. She was a reference for my interview and helped immensely in helping me land one and from there I was able to get hired! I can’t recommend her enough. She really helped me when I needed it."

-Student, Transition Support Resource Center - Alexandria

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Mahnaz Khalil Khosravi, Johnson MS

"Thank you Mahnaz for taking time to help me straighten up my Schoology folder after our CT meeting. You are very organized and passed on some helpful tips to help keep me sane!"

- Phyllis Vejar, Johnson MS

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Claire Silva, Willow Oaks Admin Center

"Mrs. Silva kindly offered to support the HWES community over the past two weeks. She provided assistance in classrooms, at Kiss and Ride and lunch, and shared her instructional expertise in multiple ways. Additionally, she worked closely with the administrative team to update the schedule in order to best support our students and staff. We are grateful to Mrs. Silva for the generosity of her time and knowledge."

- Emily Cope, Hunter Woods ES

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Karen Cogan, Forte Center

"When Lake Braddock ran out of masks after lightening during a football game forced everyone inside, Karen hand delivered our order to LBSS. She went out of her way to make sure that our school could supply masks to our students in a timely fashion and she did so with a smile. Thank you Karen, for going above and beyond."

- Daniel Smith, Lake Braddock SS

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Katy Richman and Bridget Louder, Woodburn ES

"This current time is filled with anxiety and uncertainty for families as we continue to navigate the pandemic and the changes to mitigation strategies and school procedures. During this uncertainty, the leadership at Woodburn Elementary has continued to provide strong communication and sought to engage families in a variety of ways. Yesterday evening they hosted a virtual community meeting. During this meeting they were calm, clear, and empathetic as they answered questions, responded to concerns, and shared important information. We are so lucky and grateful to have Ms. Richman and Ms. Louder at the helm of our school, especially during this difficult time."

- Leslie Borkenhagen, Woodburn ES

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Kelley Dauberman, Woodburn ES

"Kelley, the School Based Technology Specialist at Woodburn, led a virtual session for families to introduce and provide an overview of Schoology. Her presentation provided families with an opportunity to see Schoology from the student and family sides, while also clearly explaining the school's approach to this new learning management system. She was kind, clear, and approachable in her delivery and provided ample opportunities for families to ask questions, process the information, and reflect.   This is just one of the many examples of how Kelley cultivates a welcoming caring culture and seeks to engage families, while promoting meaningful learning experiences for students and staff. We're so lucky to have Kelley in the Woodburn community!"

- Leslie Borkenhagen, Woodburn ES

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Michael Roth, Jefferson Tech High HS

"Mr. Roth goes above and beyond on a daily basis to support students, parents, staff, and the administrative team. In preparation for our virtual BTSN, he worked with teachers and the administrative team to ensure all links for Schoology and Zoom registration were ready. He guided parents and teachers one-on-one through the process as needed and ensured the tech team was ready to support our community during the event. He fielded emails, phone calls, text messages throughout the evening and addressed each need right away with respect and support. This is just one example of how wonderful it is to have Mr. Roth on our team. He goes above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis! Thank you, Mr. Roth, for all you do for the students, parents, and staff at TJHSST!"

- Ana Cingel, Jefferson Tech HS

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Karin Williams, Willow Oaks Admin Center

"Brene Brown in Dare to Lead identifies a key characteristic of daring leadership as care for and collaboration with your staff. Karin has been a model example of this for your office and the division. Karin supported me in helping HWES as a volunteer Admin in the first couple weeks of school. She has also provided critical thought partnership for structuring project management of critical division-wide initiatives.  Thank you Karin for your daring leadership."

- Claire Silva, Willow Oaks Admin Center

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Ingrid Wheatley, Kesha Samuels, Ana Chavez, Pao Cespedes, and Barbara Flores Rocha, Riverside ES

"EVERYDAY these women go above and beyond to help the students and staff at Riverside. Not only are they doing their job, but they help us all in so many ways. To making calls to parents, helping locate supplies, covering classrooms if needed, teaching us all how to use the sometimes complicated copier, and just being there if we need a smile or a hug, these ladies always have our back. I am so grateful for each of them everyday for making my job so much easier!"

- Lorri Hallenbeck, Riverside ES

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Theresa Sincere-Eastman, Fairhill ES 

"Ms. Sincere-Eastman has been a life-saver for Fairhill! After unforeseen circumstances forced a GIANT tech backlog, she slogged through the mountain of old equipment and miles -long list of reimaging needs with a smile on her face. She's never once complained when teachers or students interrupt this meticulous work. Instead, she greets everyone with joy and makes each person feel as if their problems are her problems. Her concern and willingness to help are genuine. We are so grateful for Ms. Sincere-Eastman and are ecstatic she is a Fairhill Tiger!"

- Leslie Howard, Fairhill ES

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Nichole Beheiter, Canterbury Woods ES

"Ms. Beheiter is phenomenal in her ability to keep parents informed and involved in the classroom even with ongoing pandemic restrictions. Despite Ms. Beheiter being new to our school community, she manages to be well-informed and keep her students' families informed also. As a parent of a kindergartener, this kind of communication is so welcome. I sincerely appreciate the time, energy, and care that it takes Ms. Beheiter to continually reach out to families this way."

- Kathleen Friesen, Canterbury Woods ES

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Griselda Mendoza, Johnson MS

"A BIG shout out to Gigi, who joined the Johnson MS family last year. This year, she has taken a big responsibility of being the testing coordinator. She is doing an amazing job of coordinating and organizing these tasks. Even though this is a new role for her and she is still getting trained on (just to name a few) WIDA Screener, CogAT and Naglieri, VGA, WLC exam, and later the SOL's; she is on top of ensuring that all stakeholders are well informed and aware of their roles and responsibilities. She is always willing to reach out and open to taking suggestions. Thank you for everything, Gigi!"

- ESOL Team, Johnson MS

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Margaret Sisler, Westfield High

"Margaret consistently makes the time to help others. She is professional, kind and knowledgeable. She has been a fantastic mentor and friend."

- Mathieu Campet, Thoreau MS

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Randall Guillen Macias, Wakefield Forest ES

"Randall joined our Wakefield Forest family as our daytime custodian in 2020. From the moment he started he made a point to get to know every teacher's name and checked in on each of us throughout the day making sure our staff and students were safe and prepared for the day. Randall is always ready to jump in and help and ready to problem solve. He goes above and beyond to make sure our school building is ready for learning. Many teachers here at WFES are in awe about how dedicated he is to our building and truly admire and are thankful for everything he does."

- Christine Rowader, Wakefield Forest ES

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Amy Beth Kramer, Rocky Run MS

"Amy Beth is an incredible leader in the SBTS community. She makes a tremendous impact on our community through the high-quality resources that she shares, through her responsiveness to the various requests for support from her peers, and most importantly through her voice. Amy Beth advocates and articulates the needs of the SBTS job in a clear, articulate, and respectful manner. Indirectly, Amy Beth has supported teachers and students at my school through our collaboration and I am positive she has done the same for others throughout FCPS. THANK YOU, Amy Beth"

- Christine Sciabica, Rocky Run MS

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Deysi Sanchez, Rocky Run MS

"Deysi is our daytime custodian. Since the start of the school year, she has been working all by herself because we are so short-staffed. She has never complained about any of the additional duties that have been put on her including cleaning up 4 lunch areas instead of one. Thank you Deysi for all your hard work."

- Christine Sciabica, Rocky Run MS

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Jamie Gadley, Dranesville, ES

"Jamie hosted a Chalk for Peace event at Dranesville ES. This is just one of many community-building events she and her staff have hosted over the past year. The event was welcoming, low key and very impactful for the families that attended. As I arrived at the school, I saw many families walking to the school to participate. It was a wonderful family event for parents and siblings of all ages."

- Elaine Tholen, Gatehouse Admin Center

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Denise Bridgeman, FCPS Virtual Progam High

"Ms. Bridgeman helped a Dranesville family work within the FCPS Virtual Program to help them with their student. She came up with creative solutions and offered invaluable support. She followed up with the family and helped them achieve the best possible outcome for their student. She really did an amazing job in this new program."

- Wendy Biliter, Gatehouse Admin Center

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David Kelly, Longfellow MS

"My son won the Margaritaville “Educators: Everyday Hero’s” award just the other week. He won a 5 night 6-day vacation, prize package including a 1000 dollar gift! He was entered for his Soap for Hope project he did with his students. Out of the 5000 plus submissions he was voted and chosen as a top award winner! I’m so proud of him and I know his students must be so excited knowing he won."

- a family member

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Leslie Borkenhagen and Elizabeth Hernandez, Willow Oaks Admin Center

"Over the last week+, Leslie and Elizabeth have been incredible in their pursuit of a solution for our teachers. Several teachers started experiencing challenges using a tool we've used for years. Leslie and Elizabeth asked probing questions, getting to the heart of the issue, connected with others in IT and across the division. They served as a single point of contact for us at the school and did all the connecting to those who needed it. This complex problem had at least 3 or 4 layers of issues and by sorting through and narrowing things down - we were successfully able to ensure students had access to the tools today!  We are optimistic and hopeful that with their unwavering support and skill to connect people in this big county, that we will get all students access soon! We appreciate all the time you both took to help us this week (and always!)"

- Margaret Sisler, Westfield HS

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Dan Porter, Interagency Schools, Willow Oaks Admin Center

"Dan, our amazing On-Time Graduation Coordinator, has the gift! He speaks to our most reluctant students in a way that makes them want to come back to school, makes them want to stay in school, and makes them want to become a graduate. It would be wonderful if all FCPS high schools had an educator like Dan - I am especially grateful that he belongs to us!"

- Lisa Dockins, Interagency Schools, Willow Oaks Admin Center

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Kara Payne and Weris Jama, Katherine Johnson MS

"A BIG shout out to our wonderful office assistants, Kara Payne and Weris Jama, who are the front line of our school. They keep the school running smoothly and they do it with a smile. They are helpful, supportive, and encouraging to our students, parents, and staff. In this COVID world we are living in, it can be stressful, but they make it work and with a smile. They sit behind the scene. They have to deal with many everyday tasks. One of the tasks is trying to find a substitute during this substitute shortage and the ever-changing attendance multiplied by all the ever-changing COVID guidelines. They are not just office assistants, but they are the superheroes of our schools. We appreciate and are thankful for them."

- Emily Gardiner, Katherine Johnson MS

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Tara Murray, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Tara Murray is the consummate professional. She has been consistently standing in front of large groups of disgruntled administrators in order to provide support, insight, and quite frankly, some counseling regarding the frustration of implementing the logistics accompanying COVID. She does a great job of keeping her cool while being asked to provide creative answers for things out of her control and always responds with either information or the promise to follow up and provide it. During this crazy time, it is imperative that we recognize and appreciate people like Tara."

- Tony DiBari, Westfield, HS

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Shatice Gaines, Glen Forest ES

"Shatice is Glen Forest's Technology Support Specialist and we could not be successful without her. Her attention to detail and willingness to help others is unmatched. She has spent the last year and a half helping teachers and students get the technology needed to continue learning at home, as well as, in the classroom. I appreciate all the hard work that Shatice continues to deliver for our community. Thank you, Shatice! You rock!"

- Rachel Pipitone, Glen Forest ES

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Jeanine Osther, Glen Forest ES

"Jeanine is Glen Forest's new SBTS and has already made a mark in helping teachers integrate technology into classrooms and troubleshooting technology needs. She is always eager and willing to help. Her videos, explicit directions, and whole-group support with Schoology, Zoom, Screenbeam assistance (and so much more!) have been incredibly helpful. I appreciate all the work she has done thus far for our school. Thank you, Jeanine!"

- Rachel Pipitone, Glen Forest ES

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Tracey Phillips, Robinson SS

"A HUGE thank you for the Robinson Secondary principal and staff who ensured the picnic tables on its lovely campus for outside lunch. The outside lunch has relieved so much anxiety due to Covid, gives them a much-needed break from masks in the fresh air, and is a wonderful option I hope is continued permanently. Thank you!"

- a Robinson SS parent

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Hayfield SS Bus Drivers, Lorton Center

"The Hayfield Bus Drivers are the truly the first person that many of our students see every morning outside of their family. They rise very early to get their busses running and then pick up and safeguard our students in all types of weather, while enduring stifling morning and afternoon traffic on and around Telegraph Road. They are unsung heroes who should be thanked for their efforts! Many of them have secondary routes, as well as supporting academy students, and student-athletes throughout the day, and often into the late into the evening. Thank you for your service to our Hayfield community!

- a Hayfield SS parent

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Lesli Bailey, Columbia ES

"Lesli was a classroom monitor at Columbia last year but was hired as a PAC IA over the summer. She taught virtually this summer and then showed up to the school to find that both our PAC teacher and our experienced PAC IA were out on leave. She jumped right in setting up her classroom and preparing for the students to come. When the school year started, she had a rotating group of special-education teachers and IAs who would be in the PAC room for anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours. She didn't let this bother her at all but stepped into a leadership role to give directions and ensure that the students experienced safety and consistency while forming relationships and getting to know their new environment. Related service providers, administrators, and coaches came in to help and she listened intently to instruction that would typically go to the teacher so that she could make sure the students were provided with what they needed. And while someone else may have found this situation frustrating, Lesli did the whole thing with a smile on her face and expressed immense gratitude to her coworkers. We are so lucky to have her at Columbia!"

- Meredith Hulley, Columbia ES

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Debra Brown, Lake Braddock SS

"Debra Brown, a counselor at Lake Braddock, also coaches the Lake Braddock Field Hockey Team, of which my daughter is a member. Because she gets to know these field hockey players through the team, she ends up essentially serving as their Counselor at school, including my daughter, even though she already has a long list of students officially assigned to her. When my daughter approached her to serve as her Mentor for her Girl Scout Gold Award Coach Brown happily accepted. My daughter put on a free 4-day field hockey camp for girls new to the sport. Coach Brown helped connect her to a Coach at Edison HS, a school that was unable to field a JV team last season because of lack of interest. My daughter recruited teammates to serve as coaches, reserved field space, and worked out the logistics of the event with Coach Brown's support. The camp was held in July 2021, during summer vacation. Coach Brown took time away from her summer break to show up and stay through a 2-hour camp each day to help support and mentor. She didn't try to take control of the Camp or tell girls what to do. Instead, she monitored, encouraged, and provided suggestions, as needed, for my daughter and the other girls coaching. My daughter earned her Gold Award and learned valuable skills in event planning, communication, and organization. I was truly impressed by Debra Brown's commitment to these girls and the sport. I am so grateful for her support of my daughter and believe the Field Hockey Team and Lake Braddock are very lucky to have her on their Team!"

- a Lake Braddock SS parent

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Tracey Phillips, Robinson SS

"Just wanted to take a moment to thank Principal Phillips and the admin team at Robinson for their out-of-the-box, logical thinking in getting shade and outdoor eating facilities set up. THANK YOU."

- a Robinson SS parent

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Taylor Oakley, Robinson SS

"I appreciate Ms. Oakley's concern and care for my child and her transfer transcript. She was able to resolve a tricky situation and kept us informed. We appreciate her reaching out to our daughter on other issues as well."

- a Robinson SS parent

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Janett Garcia, Sprague Technology Center

"Janett went above and beyond to provide extraordinary support to Lorton Station ES. We had lost our Student Information Assistant (SIA) due to a promotion and our new SIA had not started at our school. Janett spent a great deal of time training me on how to assign our students to their homeroom classes. She patiently answered all my questions and shadowed me while I practiced assigning homerooms. Because Janett was in a full-day training the next day, she made arrangements for one of her colleagues to follow up with me and provide me with feedback on this critical task. Due to Janett's training and support, I was able to assign over 700 students to correct homeroom teachers and ensure that my teachers and parents could access this critical beginning of the year information. Thank you Janett!! We appreciate all of your help and support."

- Joanne Jackson, Lorton Station ES

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Diane McKee, Lorton Center

"Diane McKee is the Area 2, Transportation supervisor.  She has stepped up to drive one of NSES buses because of the lack of drivers. She is incredibly thorough, making sure our students are safe. Today one of the students got off the bus, said her mom wasn't there, Diane asked if she would like to return to school.  The child said no. They circled around the block a few times to keep an eye on her. Diane drove back to school, called the parent to make sure she was home safe. This is the type of things Diane does often. She is truly an amazing person, and we're glad that we have the privilege to work with her."

- Donna Kruse, North Springfield ES

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Phillippe Cloutier and Kevin Lawton, Sprague Technology Center

"I just wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation to Phillippe and Kevin for all of their assistance in getting my studio up and running. Phillippe has spent several hours (even beyond his contract) to make sure my equipment is operational. He has worked with me and some of my students to troubleshoot and acquire equipment as needed so our studio can run. Furthermore both Kevin and Phillippe spent time working with and training my students in how to use the equipment in real-time as they practiced recording a show. My students have already learned so much from them and I cannot express my appreciation enough for them lending their expertise to my program."

- Andrea Kernus, Lake Braddock SS

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Stacey Burba, Laurel Ridge ES

"In the absence of our AA, Ms. Stacey Burba, the AA at Laurel Ridge Elementary, willingly supported our financial needs to start the school year. Her support and guidance were instrumental in the success of our school opening. She answered all of our questions, created POs, placed orders, kept track of receipts, and was a general support to our work. She has already met with our AA to ensure a successful transition of accounts. Ms. Burba is a true asset to FCPS!"

- Sara Van Aalst, Fairview ES

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Kim Fairchild, Terra-Centre ES

"Mrs. Fairchild builds amazing relationships with her students, but it doesn't end there. She is dedicated to their families as well. Recently, a family was in need, and without hesitation, Mrs. Fairchild was there the next day with a meal (social distance, of course). Her heart is just as big as her talent as a teacher is! We are so lucky to have someone like her at our school, supporting our community. Her care of others beyond our classroom is inspiring!"

- Pamela Roldan, Terra-Centre ES

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Cory Walker, Lake Braddock SS

"Cory Walker is so good at so many things and his talents are tremendous in getting the 7th grade CLT group off to a good start. I very much appreciate the time he spends getting 'back to work' CT tasks in the works so that the rest of the team can simply finalize action items, leaving time to work on individual tasks. Cory creates the most interesting assignments for students, which they love, he then shares those assignments with the CT which makes our lives so much easier since many of us cannot do what he does. His technical savvy means that he is called on often to explain, demonstrate, assist in managing the numerous technology tools. He is never too busy to help his colleagues."

- Venetia Edwards, Lake Braddock SS

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Courtney Klein, Lake Braddock SS

"I have to echo what Mrs. Nardone said about Courtney in an earlier FCPS Cares, Courtney is a ray of sunshine. Coming to work can be hard some days and there are times when you cannot get out of your own way. Courtney is one to smooth things out so that you can get through your day with less struggle. She does that by solving your problems quickly, professionally, and always with a smile. I may start breaking things just so Courtney can brighten my day. Thank you, Courtney, for being you."

- Venetia Edwards, Lake Braddock SS

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Richard Twombly, Lake Braddock SS

"I am remiss in recognizing Mr. Twombly, a member of Lake Braddock's awesome security team. During the first week of school, I decided to take the newly arriving 7th-grade students on an indoor field trip around the school. We bumped into Mr. Twombly who stopped what he was doing and took the time to speak to the students at length. He instructed the kids to call him Mr. T and to know that anytime they needed help, of any kind to approach him in the hallways and he would help them. His sharing made me feel better about my young seventh graders being in such a large, new to them, school and I think they felt safer as well."

- Venetia Edwards, Lake Braddock SS

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Dorothy Radja, Katherine Johnson MS

"After many discussions about how to best commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with students during our Advisory period, English Teacher Dorothy Radja stepped up and volunteered to create a lesson for all students.  The lesson was thoughtfully created, giving students an opportunity to see that there were real people and families so deeply affected by the events of 9/11. Watching the lesson in action today in several classrooms, students were very engaged and seemed to make a true connection to the human impact of that day. Thank you, Dorothy!"

- Dayle Ranallo, Katherine Johnson MS

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Cynthia Diaz, Hayfield SS

"Mrs. Diaz greatly helped support a family directly impacted by world events. She remained in close contact with a family member throughout their period of distress and ultimately supported a student's successful transition back to school. This family is highly appreciative of everything Mrs. Diaz did on their behalf."

- Erin Crowley, Hayfield SS

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Christina (Tina) McPherson, Bull Run ES

"This is Tina's first year as our full-time math resource teacher here at BRES after being an AAP classroom teacher for many years. When we went to her with a need for more support during our Specials rotation, she was willing to create an opportunity for the upper-grade students called MasterMind. Now twice a month, Mrs. McPherson is helping students in grades 4-6 to foster greater enjoyment of math, numbers, puzzles, and learning. In addition to stepping into the weekly rotations, she also completely set up an empty classroom space that we can now use for counseling and MasterMind classes. She knew that having this dedicated space would allow all of us to better engage with and support our students in a new class environment. She has given a great deal of time, energy, and effort to help make students feel welcome when they are with her!"

- Rachel DiBartolo, Bull Run ES

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Kelsey McGlynn, West Potomac HS

"Kelsey helped me learn about a recording system she created to support the school-wide efforts to keep students engaged and off their personal devices during instructional time. Kelsey patiently answered all my questions which enabled me to better support our teachers and staff. High five and many thanks!"

- Christina Cashman, West Potomac HS

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Kim Hammond, Lake Braddock SS

"I want to acknowledge Kim Hammond for rescuing me on many occasions. Schoology presents quite a learning curve for me and I am always trying to make it behave like Google Classroom. Kim to the rescue! She very quickly is able to instruct me in the steps to get Schoology to do what I want it to do such as creating workgroups and properly posting presentations for depositing student work so I only get one and not 29 copies. Thanks to her help, Schoology is not the scary place it once was."

- Venetia Edwards, Lake Braddock SS

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Magda Calancha Vargas, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Today I called the Lake Anne Student Registration Office for some clarification regarding necessary registration documents. Magda cheerfully answered my call, helped me to understand the process, and then very kindly (and in Spanish) explained the process to my Spanish-speaking student. I appreciated her professionalism, her caring attitude, and the time she took to explain everything to both of us. Magda Calancha is an excellent example of a caring FCPS employee!"

- Chrissy Kelley, South Lakes HS

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Susan Ellis, Sprague Technology Center

"A huge shout out and ‘thank you!’ to Susan Ellis. She went above and beyond in taking the time and energy to identify and rework a previous setup for my site during a complex transition. She carefully considered every step throughout the process to ensure management would be correct and streamline moving forward. She is knowledgeable, collaborative, and always promoting positivity. Thank you!"

- Kate Knizner, Wolftrap ES

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Caroline Joya, Justice HS

"Today's events led me to cover many positions at one time. Ms. Joya jumped in and not only gave me and the Justice administrative team support and guidance, but she was also able to ensure that we used our time efficiently and were able to complete each task before us. Ms. Joya does more than just work our front office and help organize substitutes. She gets to know everyone in the building so when tasks need to be completed, she knows exactly who can be the best support. As a new administrator at Justice, I am so grateful to have her on my team."

- Kimberly Taylor, Justice HS

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Michelle Johnson, Whitman MS

"As the school librarian at Walt Whitman Middle School, I have witnessed Ms. Johnson work tirelessly to engage students in reading. Her library is full every period which is a clear reflection of how students feel welcomed and inspired. In addition to her role as librarian, she also serves as lead of the teacher mentor program. In this role, she enthusiastically welcomes new colleagues to the Whitman community. I was one of those colleagues, and I continue to be so grateful for her kindness, patience, and sense of humor. My wish for all FCPS schools is that they have a staff member like Michelle Johnson."

- Katie Richter, Whitman MS

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Brandon Gilbert, Lake Braddock SS

"I am so thrilled with the work Mr. Gilbert has been doing with the Lake Braddock Band. He has been amazing through marching band rehearsals this summer, energizing the students, engaging them in skill-building, and building strong lasting connections with the students. They have developed a strong bond and he is able to get them to commit to any lesson he takes them through. He is fun, exciting, energetic, and talented. He has demonstrated exceptional knowledge of his craft and the ability to teach/lead students. We are very lucky to have him at Lake Braddock! Thank you, Mr. Gilbert!

- Michael Luley, Lake Braddock SS

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Donna Jones, Stonecroft Transportation

"Donna Jones an attendant for Area 4 Transportation went above and beyond for a Davis student. While on her short break from doing her runs Mrs. Jones jumped to the aide of a Davis student who took off from the school. She ran after him and kept him safe from oncoming school traffic While she helped him back into the school. I have witnessed Mrs. Jones on several occasions her caring spirit to each student like they were her own child. She truly holds a passion for her job and commitment to the safety of every FCPS student."

- Dana Griffith, Stonecroft Transportation

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Patricia Kaffka, Bull Run ES

"Patricia Kaffka works for the Health Dept. as our SHA. Since school began she has been reviewing regulations and protocols of students with Covid like symptoms, and dealing with them (and parents) on a daily basis. We have several students who are diabetic, which need daily monitoring and attention, along with many of our students who need specific meds. The everyday bumps, need for Band-Aids and ice are constant. Her office is a revolving door. To say the start of school has been a bit stressful is an understatement and she has handled it like a champ! Please honor her with the acknowledgment of her hard work and tireless dedication to our students."

- Mary Obarowski, Bull Run ES

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Lisa Schroeder, Gunston ES

"Ms. Schroeder is Super Woman. Not only is she our school's math specialist, but she coordinates amazing STEM Nights and volunteers for other school activities as well. Our school seems to have 4 times the number of students utilizing Kiss 'n Ride this year which has led to cars backing up on the main road for a mile; other drivers can't pass the school; buses haven't been able to reach the school. It was insane the first day. Now she wades into the line, greets everyone with a super friendly "Good Morning!" and gets the whole line organized. All the students are picked up/ dropped off and the road is cleared within 15 minutes. (Thanks so much to the other teachers involved too.)"

- a Gunston ES parent

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Erika Hisey, Lake Braddock SS

Erika Hisey cares immensely about her students and their well-being. She knows and respects her students as she builds positive relationships with them. She is willing to do the important legwork to ensure that her students' reading levels are properly assessed. Erika pours her passion into helping our ESOL community at Lake Braddock, and our team is grateful to have her."

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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Adam Bowen, Sprague Technology Center

"I would like to give a HUGE shoutout to Adam Bowen. Adam was amazing today when he provided the simultaneous interpretation demo training in Zoom to the multilingual interpreters. The Zoom platform includes an interpretation feature that allows hosts to conduct large meetings with interpreters so that the LEP families can listen to the live interpretation. Not only was Adam’s presentation thorough, but he was also patient in answering all the questions. We had 61 interpreters in attendance for this training and they were able to experience how this feature in Zoom works. Thank you, Adam, for your time, expertise, and collaboration. Your support is truly appreciated!"

- Katie Han, Gatehouse Admin Center

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Sabastian Brennan, Shrevewood ES

"Sebastian has been a warm and welcoming presence for our students, staff, and community in our front office during a busy opening to the school year. No matter what has come his way, he greets every individual with a smile and helps out whenever and however he can. Sebastian is always cool, calm, and collected, and helps our community to resolve any issues that are faced. We are so grateful for all that Sebastian does to support Shrevewood!"

- Katie Vandawalker, Shrevewood ES

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Lorie Ward, Lake Braddock SS

"Lorie Ward has created a low-stress, comfortable classroom setting in which all students feel welcome. Her approach to content is accessible to our ESOL students and to students with special needs. The students seem to appreciate Mrs. Ward's communication style, and I believe that her 8th grade English class will serve as an excellent bridge to the high school."

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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Diane Rogers and Carolyn Hilyard, Lake Braddock SS

"Diane Rogers and Carolyn Hilyard devised superb browsing activities for our 8th grade English class. They incorporated technology, real-world skills, and student choice in their library orientation lesson. Both Diane and Carolyn made themselves available to students (and faculty) during the lesson to answer questions, help students browse, or help students check out books. We appreciate these stellar librarians!"

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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Jennifer Bury and Sarah Padilla, Lake Braddock SS

"Jennifer Bury and Sarah Padilla have graciously spearheaded the WIDA Screener assessment for ESOL students who are new to the county. They made themselves available for meetings and answered any and all questions I had about this important testing situation. These two excellent colleagues have shown that "it takes a village" to help our students thrive, and I can not thank them enough for stepping up to the plate."

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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Mary Concannon, Lake Braddock SS

"Miss Concannon augments our department's collective knowledge with her own wealth of experience teaching middle school ESOL. She is a willing learner at the same time. She readily makes herself available to colleagues for discussion and collaboration. One of her greatest strengths is affirming others' skills and decision-making which helps build morale on our team."

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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Michael Edwards, Lake Braddock SS

"Mr. Edwards is the embodiment of patience and poise in the pre-algebra classroom. He has found innovative, engaging ways to connect students to the learning material and makes himself available both in and out of class to help students. One of his strong suits is forming positive teacher-student relationships, and I think that is why I see so many of his former students stopping by to tell him "Hello!"

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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Tabitha Zermeno, Lake Braddock SS

"Ms. Zermeno ensures that all Math 7 students feel welcome and comfortable in class. She plans engaging lessons and clearly models learning material so that is accessible to English Learners and students with special needs.  Her sunny demeanor is contagious- one cannot help but smile in her presence."

- Ken Kuchta, Lake Braddock SS

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April Brown, Centreville HS

"Even though we are short on security staff at present, April has been proactively and tirelessly keeping an eye on our students, building positive relationships with them, and letting the students know they are supported, and accountable, during the school day. A great way to start the school year with students who have not only been away from school for a year, but are in a whole new environment (high school).  Great job, April!"

- Diana Scheid, Centreville HS

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Don Corbin, Centreville HS

"Even though we are short on security staff at present, Don has been proactively and tirelessly keeping an eye on our students, building positive relationships with them, and letting the students know they are supported, and accountable, during the school day. A great way to start the school year with students who have not only been away from school for a year but are in a whole new environment (high school)."

- Diana Scheid, Centreville HS

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Louise Moody, Gatehouse Admin Center

"Although Louise is relatively new to the division, her care for FCPS, her co-workers, and for finance operations is obvious every day. In recent months she has shown her conscientiousness and dedication as a valuable contributor to the new budget system software project. Louise has learned FCPS processes quickly and fit her analysis of product functionality and testing to these processes.  She has done a fantastic job on documentation, kept project stakeholders accountable, provided good feedback to our vendor and project team, made astute and helpful design and implementation suggestions, and been very responsive to team members and the vendor. The project has been a success in large part due to Louise's efforts. We are lucky to have her on the FCPS budget team."

- Brooke Gustafson, Gatehouse Admin Center

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Stephanie Borghard and Stefen Pryzwara, West Potomac HS

"I want to thank and highlight Ms. Borghard and Mr. Przywara for their flexibility and team-first attitude. Both these teachers have been displaced from their classrooms for a short period of time due to renovations and have been assigned to teach in the auditorium. We experienced a small scheduling conflict and their response was amazing and solution-oriented. In fact, they willingly adjusted their plans and made accommodations for me. I quote from Ms. Borghard, "We are going through a renovation; we all need to be flexible." This type of collective mindset will surely help carry all of us through this school year! Thank you so much and we are lucky to have you both at WP!"

- Brett Garner, West Potomac HS

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Reggie Cruz, Katherine Johnson MS

"At Katherine Johnson MS, we have a strong sense of collective responsibility. Every student is OUR student. Mr. Cruz exemplifies this trait every time he steps in to support some of our neediest students in our CAT-B program. When we are short-staffed or just in need of an extra set of hands, Mr. Cruz never hesitates to help. Ms. Sweet, Ms. Schauss, and Ms. Sal work so hard every day to make sure students are safe and engaged. When they need help, Mr. Cruz is there for the students with the care, skill, and passion that ensures our students are treated with dignity."

- Kathryn Teague, Katherine Johnson MS

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Douglas Tyson, Gatehouse Admin Center

"This has been an incredibly difficult year for school leaders. Douglas is brilliant at diffusing situations, listening to us, and advocating for our needs. We are so thankful to have him and his even temper in Region 1."

- Anonymous

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