Outstanding Elementary Teacher, Finalists, and School-level Recipients

The outstanding elementary teachers recognized at 2020 FCPS Honors

2020 Outstanding Elementary School Teacher   

pete cooksonPete Cookson
STEAM Teacher
Laurel Hill Elementary School, Region 4

Pete Cookson has a genuine enthusiasm for learning, and this gets absorbed by his students. In the Laurel Hill Science lab, students from grades K-6 enjoy hands-on activities, higher level thinking, and rich discussions about all science topics. Most importantly, Pete's ultimate goal is to spark a love of learning in the students at Laurel Hill - students of all ages look forward to entering the lab because the lessons are always engaging, different, and unique. For example – ask Pete about his puppet shows! Whether it be simulating wind currents outdoors or creating songs to learn pitch and volume indoors, Pete hopes he has ignited a lifelong interest in science in his students. 


2020 Outstanding Elementary School Teacher Finalist  

misha chernovMisha Chernov
Music Teacher
Westbriar Elementary School, Region 2

Westbriar Elementary School has a vibrant music program due to the leadership and vision of general music teacher Misha Chernov. Her love of children and the arts is infectious as she weaves storytelling, dance, and drama into her music lessons. Misha not only teaches her students to read and understand music, but she also provides them with opportunities to connect with others, build community, and express themselves through music in grade-level performances. Throughout her tenure in FCPS, Misha has also supported teachers and, as a mentor, has offered guidance to over 16 new music teachers. Misha hopes that through her work, students will envision themselves as singers, dancers, and music makers—now, and throughout their lives.


2020 Outstanding Elementary School Teacher Finalist  

april may medinaApril Mae Medina
First Grade Teacher
Mount Eagle Elementary School, Region 3

April's greatest gift as a teacher is her ability to inspire her students to see themselves as leaders. She embraces the notion that we develop children's confidence and independence by empowering them to carry out tasks within their classroom community. When thinking of what it means to be an outstanding teacher in FCPS, April reminds us that one does not have to be flashy or charismatic. It is her quiet, consistent commitment to excellence coupled with the genuine belief in others that inspires each of us to do our best. One parent shared "FCPS is lucky to have such a dedicated and skilled teacher as Ms. April and so are all of her students- past, present and future."


2020 Outstanding Elementary School Teacher Finalist  

kathleen mehariKathleen Mehari
2nd Grade Teacher
Wolftrap Elementary School, Region 1

When you walk into Kathleen’s classroom, you know you have entered a positive, warm, and nurturing learning environment. You will witness a sense of community that grows, learns, laughs, cries, and creates together. Every day, time is allotted to create a classroom climate in which all students can thrive and reach their full potential. Kathleen prioritizes building relationships within her classroom so that all students feel respected, motivated, and appreciated. Students are encouraged to take risks with their education with the understanding that all students learn at different paces and in different ways. She helps students discover their personal learning strengths, and the students know that their best effort will always make Ms. Mehari proud.


2020 Outstanding Elementary School Teacher Finalist  

makenzie mikesellMakenzie Mikesell
Fifth Grade Teacher
Willow Springs Elementary School, Region 5

As a highly passionate and ambitious leader, Makenzie strives to make a greater impact on student achievement while building teacher capacity. She is esteemed by her colleagues and always willing to take on leadership roles. Makenzie has facilitated many professional learning opportunities for staff around student engagement, family partnerships, cultural proficiency, and technology transformation. She initiated the Master and Instructional Schedule Committee, which led to a collaborative creation of new schedules, providing common planning time for all specialists and teams. Meaningful relationships with students and their families are vital to Makenzie. A parent stated, “I don’t say this lightly, but for the first time in a long time, my son loves going to school. He wants to go to school.”


2020 Outstanding Elementary Teacher School Recipients

  • Aldrin Elementary School
    • Brian Sladki, Fifth Grade Teacher *
  • Bailey’s Elementary School
    • Indiana Obando, Spanish Immersion Teacher
  • Bailey's Upper Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
    • Tiffany Hunter, Third Grade Teacher
  • Beech Tree Elementary School
    • Illeana Rios, Third Grade Teacher *
  • Bonnie Brae Elementary School
    • Megan Sidari, Multiple Disabilities Teacher *
  • Braddock Elementary School
    • Margarita Rodriguez Ortiz, Spanish Immersion Teacher
  • Bren Mar Park Elementary School
    • Michelle Domingo, Physical Education Teacher *
  • Brookfield Elementary School
    • Danielle Barthold, Sixth Grade Teacher *
  • Bucknell Elementary School
    • Angela Frattura, Sixth Grade Teacher *
  • Bull Run Elementary School
    • Courtney Seeno, First Grade Teacher
  • Bush Hill Elementary School
    • Stephanie Bressi, Second Grade Teacher
  • Camelot Elementary School
    •  Alyshea Techam, Fourth Grade Teacher *
  • Cameron Elementary School
    • Molly Lashway, Grades 4-6 Teacher
  • Canterbury Woods Elementary School
    • Mallory Trullender, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Teacher *
  • Cardinal Forest Elementary School
    • Elaine Chisenhall, Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Centre Ridge Elementary School
    • Julie Colella, Second Grade Teacher
  • Centreville Elementary School
    • Nia Manoleras, First Grade Teacher
  • Cherry Run Elementary School
    • Stephanie McGuire, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Chesterbrook Elementary School
    • Marina Goldberg, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Churchill Road Elementary School
    • Cheryl Bamdad, Second Grade Teacher
  • Clearview Elementary School
    • Charlotte Orlando, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Clermont Elementary School
    • Amanda Phillips, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Coates Elementary School
    • Sushmita Roy, Third Grade Teacher
  • Colin Powell Elementary School
    • Estavia Rowe, Music Teacher *
  • Columbia Elementary School
    • Shea K. Hestmark, Second Grade Teacher
  • Crestwood Elementary School
    • Cynthia Thompson, First Grade Teacher
  • Cunningham Park Elementary School
    • Rebecca McNaull, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Daniels Run Elementary School
    • Grace Yi, Third Grade Teacher
  • Deer Park Elementary School
    • Alyssa Cooley, First Grade Teacher
  • Dogwood Elementary School
    • Jessica Merrick, Preschool Autism Teacher
  • Dranesville Elementary School
    • Linda Shaw, Preschool Autism Teacher
  • Eagle View Elementary School
    • Brittany Wade, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Fairfax Villa Elementary School
    • Nicole Lee, Third Grade Teacher
  • Fairhill Elementary School
    • Leslie Howard, Librarian
  • Fairview Elementary School
    • Mary Pearson, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Flint Hill Elementary School
    • Heather Royston, Third Grade Teacher
  • Floris Elementary School
    • Gail L. Heidt, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Forest Edge Elementary School
    • Ellen Meyer, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Forestdale Elementary School
    • Kenan Brod, Physical Education Teacher
  • Forestville Elementary School
    • Jill Anne Graney, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Fort Belvoir Upper Elementary School
    • Janice Wright, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Fort Hunt Elementary School
    • Stacy Fairfax, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Fox Mill Elementary School
    • Lindsay Villarreal, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Franconia Elementary School
    • Sarah Goings, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Franklin Sherman Elementary School
    • Olivia Horne, First Grade Teacher *
  • Freedom Hill Elementary School
    • Christina Winkler, Severe Disabilities Teacher
  • Great Falls Elementary School
    • Lili Kennington, Japanese Immersion Teacher
  • Greenbriar East Elementary School
    • Lisa Green, Third Grade Teacher
  • Groveton Elementary School
    • Matthew Hanrahan, ESOL Teacher
  • Halley Elementary School
    • Cathy Mullins, First Grade Teacher
  • Haycock Elementary School
    • Christina Lomont, Third Grade Teacher
  • Hayfield Elementary School
    • Nicole Johnson, Second Grade Teacher
  • Herndon Elementary School
    • Sarah Libeg, ESOL Teacher
  • Hollin Meadows Elementary School
    • Kathy Tucker, Librarian
  • Hunt Valley Elementary School
    • Patrice Sheikh, First Grade Teacher
  • Hunters Woods Elementary School
    • Jill Moore, Second Grade Teacher
  • Island Creek Elementary School
    • Charlene Belanger, Third Grade Teacher
  • Keene Mill Elementary School
    • Deborah Ehlers, Art Teacher
  • Kent Gardens Elementary School
    • Alexandra Ptasienski, French Immersion Teacher
  • Kings Glen Elementary School
    • Lynne Caza, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Kings Park Elementary School
    • Elizabeth Beavers, Health & Physical Education Teacher
  • Lake Anne Elementary School
    • Victoria von Schrader, First Grade Teacher *
  • Lane Elementary School
    • Linda Crouch, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Laurel Hill Elementary School
    • Pete Cookson, Resource Teacher *
  • Laurel Ridge Elementary School
    • Leo Leonato, Second Grade Teacher
  • Lees Corner Elementary School
    • Vicki McGorty, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Lemon Road Elementary School
    • Tracy Benson, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Little Run Elementary School
    • Kristen Schuetz, First Grade Teacher
  • London Towne Elementary School
    • Susana Niccoli, Spanish Immersion Teacher
  • Lorton Station Elementary School
    • Anita Boyd, Kindergarten Teacher *
  • Louise Archer Elementary School
    • Anita Sahai, Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Lynbrook Elementary
    • Joyce Harris, First Grade Teacher *
  • Mantua Elementary School
    • Janet Sottolano, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Marshall Road Elementary School
    • Arianne Welsh, Music Teacher
  • McNair Elementary School
    • Sharon Woody, Librarian *
  • Mosby Woods Elementary School
    • Jane Eur, First Grade Teacher
  • Mount Eagle Elementary School
    • April Medina, First Grade Teacher *
  • Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School
    • Hagan Wilson, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Navy Elementary School
    • Kelli Taranto, First Grade Teacher
  • Newington Forest Elementary School
    • Chris Hulse, Kindergarten Teacher
  • North Springfield Elementary School
    • Meghan Sutton, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Oak Hill Elementary School
    • Pamela S. Bennett, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Oak View Elementary School
    • Corey Spinosi, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Oakton Elementary School
    • Brendan Lins, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Olde Creek Elementary School
    • Kristin Judy, Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Orange Hunt Elementary School
    • Erin Ryan, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Parklawn Elementary School
    • Allison Lynskey, Music Teacher
  • Pine Spring Elementary School
    • Jacqui Koyama, First Grade Teacher
  • Poplar Tree Elementary School
    • Melissa Sitter, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Providence Elementary School
    • Courtney Buchanan, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Ravensworth Elementary School
    • Adelfa McDaniel, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Riverside Elementary School
    • Tara Klibansky, Kindergarten Teacher *
  • Rolling Valley Elementary School
    • Amy LaCrosse, Enhanced Autism Teacher
  • Rose Hill Elementary School
    • Cathy Kim, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Sangster Elementary School
    • Linda Biberaj, Fourth Grade Teacher *
  • Saratoga Elementary School
    • Lori Rodriguez, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Shrevewood Elementary School
    • Amy Criss, Second Grade Teacher
  • Silverbrook Elementary School
    • Annie Sheehan, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Sleepy Hollow Elementary School
    • Amanda Snyder, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Springfield Estates Elementary School
    • Ann Withington, Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Sunrise Valley Elementary School
    • Peter Huffer, Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Terra Centre Elementary School
    • Chrissy Seidel, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Timber Lane Elementary School
    • Amanda McAdams, Second Grade Teacher
  • Union Mill Elementary School
    • Ami Schroder, Librarian
  • Vienna Elementary School
    • Cheryl Allen, Third Grade Teacher
  • Virginia Run Elementary School
    • Katherine Morsch, Third Grade Teacher
  • Wakefield Forest Elementary School
    • Joanne DeCerbo, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Walt Whitman Middle School
    • Beverly Wong, Resource Teacher
  • Waples Mill Elementary School
    • Luann Hanley, First Grade Teacher *
  • Waynewood Elementary School
    • Valerie Krause, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • West Springfield Elementary School
    • Shane Rigsby, Librarian *
  • Westbriar Elementary School
    • Misha Chernov, Music Teacher *
  • Westgate Elementary School
    • Sharon Baugh, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Westlawn Elementary School
    • Patricia D. Heyer, Resource Teacher
  • White Oaks Elementary School
    • Heather Kincaid, Third Grade Teacher
  • Willow Springs Elementary School
    • Makenzie Mikesell, Fifth Grade Teacher *
  • Wolftrap Elementary School
    • Kathleen Mehari, Second Grade Teacher *
  • Woodley Hills Elementary School
    • Leslie Curtin-Holt, Third Grade Teacher

* Denotes Pyramid-Level Recipient

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