Outstanding New Elementary Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The outstanding new elementary teachers recognized at 2017 FCPS Honors

2017 Outstanding New Elementary School Teacher 

Dixie Mazur, Music Teacher, Marshall Road Elementary School, Region 1 a picture of dixie mazur

Dixie is endlessly resourceful in helping children get the most out of music. She once used Minecraft to teach a group of third-grade boys with various disabilities everything from the parts of the guitar to how to play the game’s theme song on the piano. Last year, she dealt with another child’s anxiety about singing by letting him improvise a drum solo during a concert. “The smile on his face during the performance was incredible to witness,” said a fellow teacher. Dixie also organized a flash mob to do “Thriller” in the front hall of the school and helped a special education class host a piano recital for parents, students, and teachers. “She’s a phenomenal teacher,” says a colleague, “but it’s the incredible dedication she exhibits both inside and outside of the classroom with children with special needs that sets her apart.”



2017 Outstanding New Elementary School Teacher Finalist 

Marielle Dean, First Grade Teacher, London Towne Elementary School, Region 5a picture of marielle dean

When Marielle came to work at London Towne three years ago, her colleagues saw she was more than your average teacher. Not because of how much she knew, but how eager she was to learn what she didn’t. “The driving force behind her teaching is that she’s a life-long learner,” says one. Marielle refers to her students as readers, writers and mathematicians to show them that they can do hard things and learn the materials. She also emphasizes kindness. “If you can learn to be kind you can learn just about anything else,” she says. It seems to be working: at a Title 1 school where children regularly lose reading over the summer, Marielle’s students gain at least a year’s growth and show up in second grade with better mastery of math concepts.



2017 Outstanding New Elementary School Teacher Finalist

John Henry, Sixth Grade Teacher, Silverbrook Elementary School, Region 4a picture of john henry

John got his first taste of teaching more than twenty years ago as a teenage single parent. He took being his child’s first teacher seriously, he says, and part of modeling what he expected from his children meant earning his teaching degree. Co-workers describe him as flexible, introspective and connected to his students. A former graphic artist, John created interactive notebook pages to help students maximize instructional time. He is also praised for his Classroom Dojo which allows kids and their parents to monitor classroom behavior. Although he loves teaching reading, writing and math, John hopes to instill resiliency and perseverance in his students as well – something colleagues say he is already doing. “Unintentionally,” says one, “John teaches morality and integrity by modeling it for his students and coworkers every day.”



2017 Outstanding New Elementary School Teacher Finalist  

Brenna Hovey, Third Grade Teacher, Washington Mill Elementary School, Region 3a picture of brenda hovey

Brenna is seen as a source of comfort to her students, who view her classroom as a safe place. This has been critical to her success as a teacher since many of her students have social, emotional, or educational challenges. Brenna has been proactive in using new strategies to help students struggling to process visual or auditory information and also worked hard to teach them emotional regulation. Colleagues praise her strong leadership in collaborative team meetings, which has led to improved instruction and double-digit increases in math and reading scores. “Her tireless commitment to children,” says one, “is a huge reason our school is closing the achievement gaps for our most at-risk students.”



2017 Outstanding New Elementary School Teacher Finalist

Kelly McLemore, Fifth Grade Teacher, Kent Gardens Elementary School, Region 2a picture of kelly mclemore

Fellow teachers rave about how engaged her students are, but Kelly is the first to admit she struggled in her first year of teaching. “I had to learn to let go of perfection and embrace flexibility,” she says. While lesson plans were important, Kelly quickly realized she also needed to anticipate what could go wrong and ask for help. Today Kelly often takes a leadership role when meeting with colleagues who say she has energized the school with new ideas. One of her class projects, where students researched an Ancient Chinese Dynasty and created a presentation to share that information a la “Shark Tank,” has drawn particular praise. “Kelly consistently stretches thinking and allows her students to take ‘risks’ in learning,” says a colleague.



2017 Outstanding New Elementary School Teacher - School Recipients

  • Aldrin Elementary School
    • Theresa Gordon, Fifth Grade Teacher*
  • Annandale Terrace Elementary School
    • Suzanne Frazier, Third Grade Teacher
  • Armstrong Elementary School
    • Jess Taylor, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
    • Kasey Cook, Second Grade Teacher
  • Bailey's Upper Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences
    • Becky Epstein, Dance and Creative Movement Teacher*
  • Beech Tree Elementary School
    • Kate Pflager, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Belle View Elementary School
    • Chelsea Marcucci, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Bonnie Brae Elementary School
    • Abbie Conlon, Special Education Teacher
  • Braddock Elementary School
    • Aubrey May, Fourth Grade Advanced Academic Program Teacher
  • Bren Mar Park Elementary School
    • Kristin Kurtz, Third Grade Teacher
  • Brookfield Elementary School
    • Maya Omran, Fifth Grade Teacher*
  • Bush Hill Elementary School
    • Megan DeLorimier, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Camelot Elementary School
    • Melissa Adams, Third Grade Teacher
  • Canterbury Woods Elementary School
    • Stacey Diapoulis, Advanced Academics Teacher*
  • Centre Ridge Elementary School
    • Jessica LeBlanc, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Clermont Elementary School
    • Lydia Bakke, Third Grade Teacher
  • Columbia Elementary School
    • Tara Tulaney, Special Education Teacher*
  • Crossfield Elementary School
    • Nicholas Spiegler, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Dranesville Elementary School
    • Mason Walsh, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Eagle View Elementary School
    • Brittany Carter, Music Teacher
  • Fairfax Villa Elementary School
    • Kaitlin Wilson-Vogel, Intellectual Disabilities Teacher
  • Fairhill Elementary School
    • Rebecca Buchannan, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Forestdale Elementary School
    • Lori Murphy, Preschool Autism Teacher
  • Fort Hunt Elementary School
    • Katherine Gerry, First Grade Teacher
  • Fox Mill Elementary School
    • Jordan Vinson, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Franconia Elementary School
    • Claire Branson, Kindergarten Teacher*
  • Garfield Elementary School
    • Mollie O'Donnell, Special Education Teacher*
  • Groveton Elementary School
    • Hayley Grinder, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Gunston Elementary School
    • Ebony Opie, First Grade Teacher*
  • Halley Elementary School
    • Emily McLeod, Early Childhood Inclusion Teacher
  • Haycock Elementary School
    • Antoinette Ivins, Special Education Teacher
  • Herndon Elementary School
    • Karen Lithgow, Spanish Immersion Teacher
  • Hollin Meadows Elementary School
    • Kara Flores, Learning Disabilities Teacher*
  • Keene Mill Elementary School
    • Hannah Friedman, Second Grade Teacher
  • Kent Gardens Elementary School
    • Kelly McLemore, Fifth Grade Teacher*
  • Lake Anne Elementary School
    • Mary Dattilo, Third Grade Teacher*
  • Lane Elementary School
    • Becca Irvine, Special Education Teacher
  • Laurel Hill Elementary School
    • Jason Dammeyer, Physical Education Teacher
  • Little Run Elementary School
    • Elizabeth Nagagata, Preschool Teacher
  • London Towne Elementary School
    • Marielle Dean, First Grade Teacher*
  • Lorton Station Elementary School
    • Matthew Beebe, Special Education Teacher
  • Louise Archer Elementary School
    • Becky Worsham, Physical Education Teacher
  • Mantua Elementary School
    • Kierianne Lupari, Third Grade Teacher
  • Marshall Road Elementary School
    • Dixie Mazur, Music Teacher*
  • Mosby Woods Elementary School
    • Mandy Moran, Fifth Grade Teacher*
  • Mount Eagle Elementary School
    • Jordan Wright, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Navy Elementary School
    • Christine Baram, Second Grade Teacher
  • Newington Forest Elementary School
    • Petra Sharrett, Librarian
  • Orange Hunt Elementary School
    • Kelsie Taylor, Fifth Grade Teacher*
  • Pine Spring Elementary School
    • Devon Kalbaugh, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Providence Elementary School
    • Deanna Epley, Fourth Grade Teacher*
  • Ravensworth Elementary School
    • Jennifer Anjos, Sixth Grade Teacher
  • Riverside Elementary School
    • Amanda Manno, Third Grade Teacher
  • Rose Hill Elementary School
    • Megan Glovier, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Sangster Elementary School
    • Melissa Whalen, Fifth Grade Advanced Academic Teacher*
  • Saratoga Elementary School
    • Melissa DeStefano, Special Education Teacher
  • Shrevewood Elementary School
    • Kathleen Cruder, Third Grade Teacher
  • Silverbrook Elementary School
    • John Henry, Sixth Grade Teacher*
  • Sleepy Hollow Elementary School
    • Megan Scharen, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Springfield Estates Elementary School
    • Olivia Hepler, Fourth Grade Advanced Academic Teacher
  • Stratford Landing Elementary School
    • Dustin Hess, Fourth Grade Teacher
  • Terra Centre Elementary School
    • Afton Dean, Third Grade Teacher*
  • Terraset Elementary School
    • Holly Rice, Second Grade Teacher
  • Vienna Elementary School
    • Esther Choi, Fifth Grade Teacher
  • Wakefield Forest Elementary School
    • Kathryn Vu, First Grade Teacher
  • Waples Mill Elementary School
    • Dana Vivirito, Third Grade Teacher
  • Washington Mill Elementary
    • School Brenna Hovey, Third Grade Teacher*
  • West Springfield Elementary School
    • Regina Uribe, Third Grade Teacher
  • Westbriar Elementary School
    • Patricia Rizzo, ESOL Teacher*
  • Westgate Elementary School
    • Kerry Kurkjian, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Westlawn Elementary School
    • Mallory Janofsky, Fourth Grade Teacher
    • Kaleigh O'Donnell, Fifth Grade Teacher*
  • Weyanoke Elementary School
    • Heather Hale, Second Grade Teacher
  • White Oaks Elementary School
    • Katie Gilmore, First Grade Teacher
  • Willow Springs Elementary School
    • Razan Chaar, Special Education Teacher
  • Woodley Hills Elementary School
    • Grace Rubright, Fifth grade teacher

* Denotes Pyramid-Level Recipient

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