2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The outstanding secondary school new teachers recognized for 2022

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher 

matthew-fredericksMatthew A. Fredericks
Health & Physical Education Teacher
Hughes Middle School, Region 1

Despite the challenges of starting his career during the pandemic, Matt had a very successful first year teaching. He is one of the kindest, most patient educators you could hope to have in a school. He is always positive, relaxed, and willing to help with any task, no matter how big or small. He builds exceptionally strong relationships by using his content to connect to students’ lives. “He spends valuable time building relationships,” a colleague noted, “because he knows that students will work hard for a teacher that cares about them.” In addition to his compassion for his students, Matt supports his colleagues as the wellness liaison for his school and a member of the AVID committee.

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist 

madeline bishopMadeline Bishop
English Teacher
Mount Vernon High School, Region 3 

Madeline greets everyday with a contagious enthusiasm that rubs off on her students and coworkers alike. As CT lead for English 11, Madeline has fostered a community of educators committed to developing rigorous, relevant, and engaging resources that help students harness the power of literature. She shows her students not just how to engage with academic work, but how to identify and explore their personal values. One colleague states, “She anticipates – and respects – students’ needs, seeking and incorporating their voices with 20/20 vision and perfect pitch.” Her priorities lie in equipping students with the transferable skills they need to be motivated learners and kind people long after they leave her classroom.

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist 

christopher hrdyChristopher Hrdy
ESOL Teacher
Fairfax County Adult High School, Non-Region

Modern ESOL prizes, meaningful communication, and rich experiences. In his first year as an ESOL Resource Teacher, Christopher Hrdy has exemplified this approach. His work entails co-teaching in science, mathematics, social studies, and English to ensure equity for multilingual learners. On a good day, Mr. Hrdy might employ phrases from five different languages and provide scaffolding in three or four content areas. His work extends from teaching Gardner’s multiple intelligences as a lens for students to express themselves through to turning the classroom into a coordinate plane so that learners can tangibly experience it. In his classroom, all learners are celebrated for every idea they communicate and every experience they share.

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist 

Mike Kuykendall
English Teacher
Woodson High School, Region 5


Mike Kuykendall came to teaching by way of the Troops to Teachers program, allowing him to not only use his time in the military, but also his work experience in the classroom to provide students a down to earth and practical approach to English. He spends most of his time connecting with students and ensuring that they understand and can use the lessons from his class not only in an academic setting, but also in any pursuit that may inspire them. As sponsor of the Woodson Film Club, he has helped to produce the student film Where’s Frank, and helped involved students to experience true film production.

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist 

Kaia M. Lazo
History & Social Studies Teacher
Luther Jackson Middle School, Region 2

kaia lazo

Kaia is an engaging and energetic leader, setting the stage for a dynamic classroom environment with organization and structure learned through her time spent serving in the United States Marine Corps before completing her teaching degree. Bringing that worldly perspective into her classroom, Ms. Lazo is able to relate to students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. In addition to her 7th-grade history and AVID classes, Kaia dedicates a significant amount of time to the after school program at Luther Jackson Middle School, giving students the opportunity to connect, enrich, and unwind in a safe environment. It is evident that in her short time in the profession, Kaia is a weapon of mass instruction, and her students are her mission.

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist 

Zoë Volz
Music Therapy Teacher
Burke School, Region 4

zoe volz

Zoe reminds her students that “Everyday is a fresh start,” and there is always an opportunity to reset. This is supported by the calm spaces, fidget toys, and multimodal sensory materials available to students within the classroom. Zoë’s positive, but mellow aura helps to put her students at ease and build positive relationships. This is evident in her classroom, the hallway, and even in the After School Program in which she participates. This expands into the overall culture of Burke School Middle to which she has joined multiple community outreach programs and self-improvement committees. Zoë’s love and passion for her students continues to inspire their creative and musical passion.

2022 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher - School Recipients

  • Annandale High School
    • Allyson Pak, Math Teacher
  • Burke School
    • Zoë Volz, Music Therapy Teacher*
  • Carson Middle School
    • Lauren Breza, Life Science Teacher*
  • Centreville High School
    • Rachel Jenkins, Art Teacher*
  • Chantilly High School
    • Lara Shackford, English Teacher
  • Davis Career Center
    • Emily Jackson, Career and Transition Teacher
  • Edison High School
    • Emily Oliff, English Teacher
  • Fairfax County Adult High School
    • Christopher Hrdy, ESOL Teacher*
  • Fairfax High School
    • Darnell Parker, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Falls Church High School
    • Cory Apps, English Teacher 
  • Frost Middle School
    • Crystal Hurley, Reading Resource Teacher
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Cat Gamboa, Biology Teacher*
  • Hayfield Secondary School
    • Daniel Drickey, Health & Physical Education Teacher* 
  • Herndon High School
    • Kacey Rigsby, English Teacher
  • Herndon Middle School
    • Laura Loy, Speech and Drama Teacher*
  • Holmes Middle School
    • Mary Kasputis, English Teacher
  • Hughes Middle School
    • Matthew Fredericks, Health & Physical Education Teacher*
  • Irving Middle School
    • Rachel Hogan, Multiple Disabilities Teacher*
  • Justice High School
    • Robale Namen, Health & Physical Education Teacher
  • Katherine Johnson Middle School
    • Emily Schauss, Multiple Disabilities Teacher*
  • Key Center
    • Shannon Hacker, Severe Disabilities Teacher
  • Key Middle School
    • Gretchen Wisbey, Learning Disabilities Teacher*
  • Kilmer Center
    • Dori Prescott, Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Francesca R. Galan, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Langley High School
    • Yeon Cho, Mathematics Teacher*
  • Lewis High School
    • Amber Lickey Muse, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Liberty Middle School
    • Montell Brown, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Longfellow Middle School
    • John Wright, History & Social Studies Teacher 
  • Luther Jackson Middle School
    • Kaia Lazo, History & Social Studies Teacher*
  • Madison High School
    • Alfred McCusker, Business & Information Technology Teacher*
  • Marshall High School
    • Olivia Tate, History & Social Studies Teacher
  • McLean High School
    • Dylan Persinger, Geosystems Teacher*
  • Mount Vernon High School
    • Madeline Bishop, English Teacher*
  • Oakton High School
    • Megan Baird, Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Poe Middle School
    • Pelin Belendir, Speech & Drama Teacher*
  • Pulley Career Center
    • Emily Gary, Independent Living Skills Teacher*
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Emily Normand, Mathematics Teacher*
  • Rocky Run Middle School
    • Rachel Singer, Spanish Language Teacher*
  • South County High School
    • Katherine Ohlmeyer, Mathematics Teacher*
  • South County Middle School
    • Abigail Benner, English Teacher
  • South Lakes High School
    • Kellye Young, Mathematics Teacher
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Ryan Elder, Physics Teacher*
  • Twain Middle School
    • Paul Wesnofske, Learning Disability Civics Teacher*
  • West Springfield High School
    • Kristie Darmody, Severe Disabilities Teacher
  • Westfield High School
    • Aaron Sulkin, English Teacher
  • Woodson High School
    • Michael Kuykendall, English Teacher*

*Denotes pyramid winner

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