Excellence Awards - 2022 Team Winners

Recognizing Multiple Pathways to Excellence

2022 Team Winners

Growth Category 

  • Contributes to the development and/or improvement of programs, services, or curriculum; fosters staff growth, effectiveness, or professional development. Addresses existing systemic equity challenges to ensure access.

Career Transition Services Team

  • Sarah Blake, Shira B. Brothers, Clem Castellano, Trevor T. Christensen, Maggie Contreras, Patricia Courtney, Sharon Denisar, Sue Eaton, Jennifer Glaser, Judith Lieberman

career transition services teamCareer and Transition Services (CTS) provides special education students a wide range of student- focused, coordinated activities and supports by offering classes and programs that teach workplace readiness skills, employability skills, self-advocacy, and self-determination. With a focus on students ages 14 to 22 years of age, CTS provides specific, individualized opportunities around transition planning, work-based learning, post-secondary education, training, employment, and independent living skills. CTS teams help to prepare students for the wide variety of options open to them for life after high school. The CTE staff directly helps students build relationships in the community, school, and beyond.

Frost School Counselors

  • Kristin Nicole Avina, Kate Balderston, Megan Dunn, Larkin Gibas, Daniel Joo

frost school counselorsThe counseling team at Frost is comprised of driven and talented individuals who collaborate to develop and implement programs with a common purpose, vision, and goals. The data-driven, comprehensive programming aligns with the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to ensure all students are supported in the areas of academics, wellness, and behavior. These dynamic counselors continue to analyze a variety of data to close achievement gaps, meet student needs, provide resources to staff and parents as needed, and reflect on necessary improvements. The ongoing work of this team has a tremendous impact on the entire Frost school community.

Impact on Others Category

  • Develops successful partnerships and outreach to parents, businesses or neighborhoods; provides community services or service learning projects; displays outstanding responsiveness, customer service, or customer satisfaction. Demonstrates cultural responsiveness in building relationships and leverages impact to address equity.

Early Childhood Mental Health Team

  • Melanie Dunn-Chadwick, Stacy Fanaselle, Kathryn C. Hazard, M. Alicia Pitarque Heishman, Breanne Melikan

early childhood mental health teamThis team is dedicated to supporting the social and emotional health of our children, families, and staff. And we all know the importance of this effort! These five specialists work across 63 elementary schools and are committed to fostering feelings of safety, connection, and self-regulation with the students and the adults in their lives. They work collaboratively to refine support to students and teach teams that all children and adults are different. This group is a model of collaboration using a multidisciplinary approach; recognizing that when the whole child is seen, the response will be tailored to specific needs resulting in better outcomes. 

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund Support Team

  • Shawn Heilemann, Sara Masluk

esser teamDuring the last school year, schools received a portion of $188.8 million in ESSER III funding to support unfinished learning and student wellness. Operationalizing the logistics and accountability of this funding has been the collective work of many individuals and project teams. However, the specific contributions of Sara and Shawn are especially noteworthy. This duo regularly liaises with central office and school stakeholders to develop resources, templates, processes, and communications that are responsive to stakeholder input. Additionally, this team is a strong and resilient problem-solving unit and has been able to innovate facets of the division’s school planning process. 

Family Engagement Regional Representatives

  • Melanie Crosby Hardy, Tianja D. Grant, Renee LaHuffman-Jackson, Alain B. Ramirez Lopez, Patricia Ramirez, Claudia Thomas

Family Engagement Regional RepresentativesThe Family Engagement Region Representatives are a dynamic and impactful team. Collectively, they coach, mentor, and supervise 190 Family Liaisons in all regions of FCPS. They work tirelessly developing strong family engagement structures and practices for their family liaisons. This involves staying up to date on FCPS and Fairfax County programs and opportunities. It also involves collaborating to develop multilingual training opportunities for families. They successfully partner with businesses and organizations to provide outreach. This is a responsive team who demonstrates cultural responsiveness to our diverse family populations. 

Food Service Center Warehouse Team

  • Remigio Arteaga, Kevin Stefan Brown, Carlos Colon, John Elefantis, Chung Kai Lam, Eddie Latuharhary, Maximiliano Sánchez Martínez, Anthony Messiano, Cheol Soon Shin

Food Service Center Warehouse Team. The Food Service Center/Warehouse is the main storage facility for the Office of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). The warehouse receives full truckloads of food and supplies daily from vendors and manages over 1,200 pallets of inventory to include dry, refrigerated, and frozen goods. This small, but very efficient and effective team, ensures all sites have the items needed to prepare and serve meals. The warehouse is an integral part of daily FNS operations, supporting the complex logistics involved with managing an average inventory more than one million dollars. 

Food Service Central Kitchen Managers 

  • Suk Ching Chuk, Diana Dickerson, Jody James, Young Jang, Harjit Kaur, Amy Moore, Sonia Saucedo

​​​​Food Service Central Kitchen ManagersThe Food and Nutrition Services Central Kitchen Managers provide logistical and operational support to all elementary, middle, and high school kitchen managers. Central kitchen managers ensure schools and centers have the necessary food and supplies to serve all meals and snacks each day by ordering products from multiple vendors, receiving the goods, and coordinating the distribution of these daily deliveries. Last school year, central kitchen managers prepared and served hundreds of meal kits each week containing high-quality, nutritious meals and snacks to not only keep virtual students engaged, but to help feed our school communities.


Innovation Category

  • Contributes to efficiency or effectiveness through cost savings, creativity, or problem solving; engages in reflection to craft culturally responsive solutions that eliminate barriers; develops new ideas that show promise for a broad impact to FCPS.

FCPS Virtual Program Administrative Team

  • Katie Aldridge, Dianne Caron, Ellen Glaser, Brandon Kosatka, Rebecca Jo Pollard, Dana S. Walker, Samantha Wolf

FCPS Virtual Program Administrative TeamThe Virtual Program Administrative Team consists of leaders who came together in the summer of 2021 to establish and run the brand new, innovative Pre-K-12 Virtual Program. The team members collaborated with every region and department to serve students 
with medical needs related to COVID-19 that required them to remain virtual. Throughout last year, the team supported more than 400 students and worked with colleagues from almost every school to ensure students had a successful and caring learning experience. 

Global Classroom Project Team

  • Erik D. Dahlin, Michael Edwards, Joann Hardy, Meghan Hyland-Eddy, Daina S. Lieberman, Andrea Martin Jones, Beatrix Preusse-Burr, Michael P. Reilly, Christopher Scaptura, Brian Schwenk, Kim C. Sigle, Clinton S. Sower, Rick Stegman, Donna Volkmann, Susan L. Wagoner

Global Classroom Project TeamThe Global Classroom Project (GCP) connects FCPS students to peers around the world in meaningful learning experiences. This requires extraordinary coordination, flexibility, and innovation by the team leading this effort, each doing so in addition to the responsibilities of their positions. The GCP team finds and fosters international partnerships, provides professional learning to teachers in FCPS and internationally, develops curriculum and resources to promote authentic learning, and creates technology solutions for collaboration and data collection. Teachers and students build cultural competence through interacting with diverse perspectives in a partnership based on mutual respect. The GCP is a model for collaborative problem solving. 

Poplar Tree ES Low Incidence Cat B Special Education Teachers

  • Victoria Bowen, Diana Houston, McLaine Sheehy, Danielle Spiroch, Chitra Venkatanarayanan, Mandy Walter

Poplar Tree Elementary School Low Incidence Cat B Special Education TeachersThe Low Incidence Program Category B Special Education teachers at Poplar Tree are defined by their ability to see promise in their students. Using creativity and persistence in developing and implementing a nurturing academic program, they support students with complex needs such as complicated medical conditions, behavioral, vision, communication and/or physical limitations. The teachers seek out equitable opportunities for students to be included with their peers to make progress with learning objectives and become community participants. These teachers focus on what the students are ABLE to do, thus eliminating typical barriers to instruction and communication. 


Student Achievement Category

  • Contributes to student success by closing the achievement gap through the use of culturally responsive practices, measuring progress using assessments, implementing interventions, or student engagement.

College Success Programs Team

  • Jennifer Glaser, Stephanie J. Gray, Lynette M. Henry, Asma Hindi, Karen Huffman, Eric Kinne, Eileen Ruzicka, Lakeyta Smith, Bridget Wright 

College Success Programs TeamCollege Success Programs (CSP) work to increase access to opportunities and resources for students who are traditionally underrepresented in college. Faced with challenges caused by poverty, racism, and lack of access to resources, many CSP students are the first in their family to attend college, are students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, or may not have the financial means to attend. This team builds partnerships that provide college-related information and support for students and families which in turn increases college and career attendance. 

Dual Language Assessment and English Learner Consultation Team

  • Sonia P. Arellano, Yezenia Cruz, Mariela DeKraker, Suzanne G. Federico, Claudia Goyzueta, SooJung Kim, Yong In Kim, Maria R. Ktistakis-Conomos, Sylvia McPeters, Ameer Rizvi, Marilyn Rossen, Lisa Stosch, Connie H. Thibeault

Dual Language Assessment and English Learner Consultation TeamThe Dual Language Assessment (DLA) and English Learner (EL) Consultation Team is a dynamic team composed of an inspired assessment manager, an administrative assistant, and 12 dedicated assessment teachers who have greatly supported student achievement throughout Fairfax County Public Schools. This team conducts DLAs, EL Consultations, and supports biliteracy interventions across the county, supporting English learners, K through 12. The DLA and EL Consultation Team has made a difference in the lives of so many and changed the practices and mindsets of countless practitioners. They have given a voice to parents so that they can be true partners in their student’s education. Most importantly, they have supported English learners in realizing their full academic potential. 

Interagency Alternative Schools Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Intervention Team 

  • Jenna Lightner, Deanne Lyon, John Niemala, Ken Pieper, Jenn Scott, Kimberly Sloan

the Interagency Alternative Schools Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Intervention TeamInteragency Alternative Schools (IAS) serves as an intervention of support for students who have struggled at their base school in one of the following MTSS areas: attendance, behavior, academics, or wellness. Most of the time, these students need support in two or more of these areas, and it is their job to get them back on track. The IAS Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Team collaborates continuously throughout the year to identify students needing additional support in these areas using near-real-time data from EDSL MTSS Insight, Student Information System (SIS) Gradebook Current Percentages and daily attendance totals, as well as direct requests from teachers and support staff.

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