Outstanding New Secondary Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The outstanding new secondary teachers recognized at 2017 FCPS Honors

2017 Outstanding New Secondary School Teacher  

Rebecca Barnes, Mathematics Teacher, West Springfield High School, Region 4a picture of rebecca barnes

Rebecca has a reputation for knowing her students and making math fun. “She creates classes that engage students from bell to bell,” said a colleague. “It’s easy to see how her 888-minuteclasses fly by.” But Rebecca will be the first to admit it wasn’t always so. When she began teaching in 2014, she says, her classes were “dull.” To fix this she attended academy courses and led a team of six math teachers in restructuring the math curriculum. She now teaches geometry using a workshop model, in which students control their learning and mastery of topics. What hasn’t changed is Rebecca’s involvement with the students in the school; she still runs the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and coaches Powder Puff football. “I want them to know I care about them as people,” she says, “not just math students.”



2017 Outstanding New Secondary School Teacher Finalist 

Kristen Berberich, Biology Teacher, Hayfield Secondary School, Region 3a picture of kristen berberich

Three months after she started teaching, Kristen was diagnosed with leukemia. When she returned to Hayfield a year later, she had to wear a mask and gloves to ward off infection and fight off fatigue from ongoing chemotherapy. But Kristen quickly incorporated her struggle into her mindset about teaching. “Everyone will have some setback in their life; a moment when the future they’d expected dissolves before their eyes,” she said. “I want my students to have the skills and the determination to persevere through those setbacks and stay excited about their potential.” As her strength returned, Kristen took on additional responsibilities, coaching cross country, developing a new curriculum for AP Environmental Science and volunteering to run Hayfield’s science fair. She incorporated Google into her classroom and attended summer training to implement literacy. “One only needs to be in her room for a few minutes to see she loves her work and cares about her students,” said a colleague. “I personally look to her class as an example of what to strive for.”



2017 Outstanding New Secondary School Teacher Finalist 

Alyce DiLauro, English Teacher, Falls Church High School, Region 2a picture of alyce dilauro

As a high school student, Alyce was shy and self-conscious. She’s more outgoing today, but says memories of her younger self-help her relate to students. “I want to demonstrate, when I laugh at my own mistakes, “she says, “that accepting ourselves and learning from our pitfalls is a constant process in life.” Last year, Alyce won her school’s “Shining Star” award for most outstanding faculty member during her first year of teaching. She’s recognized as a caring, energetic teacher, who is good at differentiating, using technology, and improving the AP English program by collaborating with another school. But she also identifies with the struggling student, and is quick to offer support, whether it’s counseling them about past successes or stepping in to sponsor the school’s new LGBTQ chapter. “Alyce embodies the energy, attitude and love we wish for in all our teachers,” said a colleague.



2017 Outstanding New Secondary School Teacher Finalist 

Ken Harman, Science Teacher, Rocky Run Middle School, Region 5a picture of ken harman

A funny thing happened when Ken volunteered to help out with the Amazing Earth science lessons at his sons’ elementary school: He realized he wanted to be a teacher. So he left his job as a chiropractor to get his master’s degree and began teaching Seventh-grade science. It appears to have been the right choice. Colleagues and administrators praise Ken as an innovator and rave about the contributions he’s made in his first year, including helping implement FCPSOn 1:1, beefing up Science Night, incorporating content from other classes into his lessons, and even taking over the labs and student support for a teacher on leave. Students love spending time in his classroom with a tarantula and Mr. Hiss, the snake. They also seem pleased Ken made the switch. “I was never good at science,” said one Seventh grader, “but I’m getting a
lot better because of Mr. Harman.”



2017 Outstanding New Secondary School Teacher Finalist 

Jeremy Montes, ESOL Teacher, Herndon Middle School, Region 1a picture of Jeremy Montes

When Jeremy began teaching ESOL at Herndon Middle School in 2015, he was given the classes that contained students with behavioral and instructional challenges. Two years later, he’s been so successful that his students can turn to their neighbors and discuss pre-Algebra in a second language they’re still learning. Colleagues credit Jeremy’s success to his willingness to try new strategies, a talent for differentiating and the fact that he’s a team player. “His positivity is both calming and infectious,” says one. Jeremy studied hard to learn Spanish, provided video lessons and reached out to families to reinforce positive behavior, but he says his best support came from his co-teachers. “Teaching ELL is a team effort, he says. “You can’t expect to accomplish much alone.”



2017 Outstanding New Secondary School Teacher - School Recipients

  • Annandale High School
    • Katherine Brunberg, Theatre Arts Teacher*
  • Burke School
    • Tyneka Riddick, Special Education History Teacher
  • Centreville High School
    • Meredith Rigby, World History Teacher*
  • Chantilly High School
    • Aaron Margraff, Math Teacher
  • Edison High School
    • Kimberly Oden, English Teacher
  • Fairfax High School
    • Elissa Robinson, ESOL Teacher*
  • Falls Church High School
    • Alyce DiLauro, English Teacher*
  • Hayfield Secondary School
    • Kristen Berberich, Biology Teacher*
  • Herndon High School
    • Jane Kortan, Social Studies Teacher
  • Herndon Middle School
    • Jeremy Montes, ESOL Teacher*
  • Frost Middle School
    • Patrick Murphy, Special Education Teacher*
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Kaitlyn Marmarou, ESOL Teacher
  • Holmes Middle School
    • Hannah Lowson, Spanish Teacher
  • Hughes Middle School
    • Julia Smyers, Spanish Teacher
  • Irving Middle School
    • Danny Sumner, Science Teacher
  • Key Center
    • Sarah Bracken, Severe Disabilities Teacher
  • Key Middle School
    • Dylan Keightley, Special Education Mathematics Teacher*
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Kristen Mattix, Science Teacher*
  • Lee High School
    • Mercedes Matson, Earth Science and ESOL Teacher
  • Liberty Middle School
    • Jennifer Storch, Math Teacher
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School
    • Joe Wieland, Science Teacher*
  • Luther Jackson Middle School
    • Maggee Albertson, Special Education Teacher
  • Madison High School
    • Maggie Foarde, Special Education Teacher*
  • Marshall High School
    • Brenna Killeen, English Teacher
  • McLean High School
    • Phillip Reid, Theatre Teacher*
  • Mount Vernon High School
    • Stephanie Bedenk, Special Education Teacher
  • Mountain View Alternative High School
    • Elisabeth Park, ESOL Teacher
  • Oakton High School
    • Walter Nogay, Physics Teacher*
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Shelby Whitwell, Middle School History Teacher*
  • Rocky Run Middle School
    • Ken Harman, Science Teacher*
  • Sandburg Middle School
    • Alexia Pope, General Science Teacher*
  • Stone Middle School
    • Rebecca McCabe, ESOL Teacher
  • Stuart High School
    • Jennifer Barrer-Gall, History/Social Studies Teacher*
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Dr. Jennifer James, Biology Teacher*
  • Twain Middle School
    • Kirstin Utterback, Social Studies Teacher*
  • West Springfield High School
    • Rebecca Barnes, Math Teacher*
  • Westfield High School
    • Rachel Harrington, Speech and Drama Teacher*
  • Woodson High School
    • Daniel Healy, Social Studies Teacher

* Denotes Pyramid-Level Recipient