2023 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The Outstanding Secondary School New Teachers Recognized For 2023

The Outstanding Secondary New Teacher Award recognizes secondary school teachers who are within their first three years of teaching and demonstrate outstanding performance and superior instructional skills. Any FCPS employee or community member may nominate new teachers for this award.

2023 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher

burch-bynum-melvin-portraitMelvin Burch-Bynum

JROTC Marine Senior Instructor
Mount Vernon High School, Region 3

As the senior marine instructor for the Mount Vernon High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC program, Major Burch-Bynum is a servant leader, mentor, confidant, motivator, and a "school dad" for some students. Melvin knows each of his students personally, and he helps them to find the self-confidence and courage to believe in their abilities and brilliance despite their challenges. He also leads six teams, often arriving to school two hours before the first bell and staying at least two hours after the last bell. On weekends, he attends competitions, volunteers, or conducts team-building exercises with his students. Melvin believes our youth are the nation's best hope for the future, and he works hard to shape that future by shaping them.

2023 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist

blesi-lucy-anne-portraitLucy Anne Blesi

English Teacher
South County High School, Region 4

Lucy has worked hard to get to know all her students throughout her first year of teaching. She begins each class by asking her students thought-provoking questions. These questions have allowed her students to share about themselves both academically and personally. Lucy has worked towards creating a positive, safe, and welcoming environment to ensure that her students know how truly valued they are. Lucy has gone above and beyond supporting her students in and outside of the classroom, actively collaborating and building relationships with her co-workers and being a lacrosse coach at the school. When students are asked to describe Ms. Blesi, they say that she genuinely cares about them and their growth both in and outside of the classroom.

2023 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist

mccool-allie-portraitAllie C. McCool

Learning Disabilities Teacher
Falls Church High School, Region 2

This year was Allie's first year in secondary education, and she jumped two feet in to teach Geosystems. Allie collaborated with her co-teacher and built strong relationships with her students. Allie connects with every student and helps build confidence in science that they may not have had in the past. As a special education teacher, Allie has gone above and beyond to support her students and parents. She is an advocate for students with disabilities and goes above and beyond to make sure those students are respected, valued, and included in all things Falls Church High School. In addition to her love of teaching science, Allie has stayed active in the Falls Church community.

2023 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist

schneider douglas portraitDouglas B. Schneider

History and Social Studies Teacher
Oakton High School, Region 1

Excited to return to public service in a vocation, Doug made the transition to teaching as a career switcher after serving as an officer in the United States Coast Guard and working in the maritime sector. For Doug, mentoring and engaging with young people is the ultimate leadership opportunity that requires setting a positive and consistent example, building strong relationships, and being empathic and responsive to student needs. Doug guides students to create a supportive, engaging, and spirited classroom culture in which students feel safe to share their perspectives, make mistakes, and learn. He loves to spark student curiosity as he helps students investigate the social, economic, and political impacts of historical developments and make connections with their own experiences.

2023 Outstanding Secondary School New Teacher Finalist

shin-yujeong-julia-portraitYuJeong Julia Shin

Mathematics Teacher
Frost Middle School, Region 5

In all her classes, Julia focuses on demonstrating and practicing the school motto, "Work hard, be nice, and widen your circle." As a mathematician and a learner, Julia knows the challenges her students will encounter upon entering the classroom. She connects with her students to develop strong relationships while dedicating herself to fostering a welcoming classroom community where everyone feels safe to ponder, question, explore, make mistakes, learn, and grow. In addition, Julia constantly recognizes and celebrates her students' achievements and successes, encouraging students to take pride in their learning experiences and reach their highest potential. She also coaches MATHCOUNTS with her colleague at Frost, connecting with students who strive to become better collaborators and problem solvers.

Outstanding Secondary New Teacher Finalists Slideshow

2023 Outstanding New Teacher - School Recipients

  • Annandale High School
    • Allyson Pak - Mathematics Teacher
  • Burke School
    • Zoe Volz - Music Therapy Teacher *
  • Centreville High School
    • Amanda Pituch - Spanish Language Teacher *
  • Chantilly High School
    • Tanner DeCrapio - Physics Teacher *
  • Edison High School
    • Marla Akau - Veterinary Science Teacher
  • Fairfax High School
    • Lionardo Quezada Guevara - History & Social Studies Teacher *
  • Falls Church High School
    • Allie McCool - Learning Disabilities Teacher *
  • Franklin Middle School
    • Arian Walker Roberts - Multiple Disabilities Teacher
  • Frost Middle School
    • YuJeong Julia Shin - Mathematics Teacher *
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Kathryn Cargill - ESOL Teacher
  • Herndon High School
    • Jim O'Keefe - JROTC Navy Senior Instructor
  • Herndon Middle School
    • Jordyn Pistilli - History & Social Studies Teacher *
  • Holmes Middle School
    • Samiran Ibrahim - English Teacher
  • Irving Middle School
    • Lucy Leishman - English Teacher
  • Justice High School
    • Jocelyn Ayala - Learning Disabilities Teacher *
  • Katherine Johnson Middle School
    • Andy Phung - Biology Teacher
  • Key Center School
    • Gregory Hoobchaak - Adapted Physical Education Teacher
  • Key Middle School
    • Taylor Morhiser - ESOL Teacher *
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Danielle Sweet - English Teacher
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School
    • Catherine Phelps - History & Social Studies Teacher *
  • Liberty Middle School
    • Emily Krupp - Art Teacher
  • Longfellow Middle School
    • Marin Parker - History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Luther Jackson Middle School
    • Catherine Marcus - History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Madison High School
    • Joshua Shipman - Geosystems Teacher *
  • Marshall High School
    • Laura Champe Mitchell - Learning Disabilities Teacher *
  • McLean High School
    • Raquel Friedman Arnillas - Multiple Disabilities Teacher *
  • Mount Vernon High School
    • Melvin Burch-Bynum - JROTC Marine Sr Instructor *
  • Oakton High School
    • Douglas Schneider - History & Social Studies Teacher *
  • Poe Middle School
    • Nalleli Soto - Spanish Language Teacher *
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Noelle Zorzi - English Teacher *
  • Sandburg Middle School
    • Lauren Parsons - Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • South County High School
    • Lucy Blesi - English Teacher *
  • South Lakes High School
    • Rogelio Vasquez-Martinez - Severe Disabilities Teacher
  • Stone Middle School
    • Ashley Candeletti - Biology Teacher *
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Dalton Savage - History & Social Studies Teacher
  • Thoreau Middle School
    • Michelle Adams - English Teacher
  • Twain Middle School
    • Colin Murphy - History & Social Studies Teacher *
  • West Potomac High School
    • Amelia Barnett - Learning Disabilities Teacher *
  • West Springfield High School
    • Vivien Coleman - Mathematics Teacher *
  • Westfield High School
    • J'Na Johnson - Learning Disabilities Teacher
  • Woodson High School
    • Alex Clark - History & Social Studies Teacher

*Denotes pyramid winner

Employees, Applicants, and Retirees

Submit questions or concerns, as well as upload forms and other documents through the FCPS StaffConnect portal. Human Resources representatives are also available for assistance Monday – Friday (8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) by calling 571-423-3000 or 1-800-831-4331.