Outstanding Secondary Teacher, Finalists, and School Recipients

The outstanding secondary teachers recognized at 2018 FCPS Honors

2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher 

Alissa Oginsky, Sixth Grade Teacher, Holmes MS, Region 2

a photo of alissa oginskyAlissa has a passion for continuous learning and knack for bringing history to life. Her classes have examined West African artifacts, analyzed colonial portraits, and interacted with maps from the Civil War. A former Mount Vernon teacher of the year, she is also adept at providing options for students who want to explore further. “Alissa is able to build her students’ capacity to be independent,” said one, “and give them the autonomy adolescents crave.” Last year, she led them in creating a timeline of their own middle school, showing students that with their own primary sources they could create something that would be remembered forever.



2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

a photo of maria cruzMaria Cruz, ESOL Teacher, Oakton HS, Region 1

Maria is a committed and energetic teacher whose students know she is dedicated to helping them graduate. As an ESOL teacher, Maria can be the last hope for English learners who frequently have diverse needs. Colleagues praise her for getting to know each of her students to better support them and for sharing her methods with teachers across the county. Last summer, she visited Oakton Pantry weekly with some whose families were lacking food, and on teacher workdays, she often cooks breakfast for students as they squeeze in one last prep session. “Maria is Oakton’s Statue of Liberty,” said an administrator, “opening her door to those who need refuge.”


2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Brian Hannon, English Teacher, Hayfield SS, Region 3

a photo of brian hannonBrian has a gift for teaching English in a way that appeals to everyone. “He can reach and stretch our strongest AP students,” said a colleague. “At the same time, he can reach and empower students who are accessing the general English curriculum for the first time as well as students with learning challenges.” A voracious reader and founder of the non-profit Poetry N.O.W., Brian uses books students can relate to but that also tie in with the classics. His lessons may be riddled with groan-worthy dad jokes, yet students praise him even as they work hard. In addition to coaching Boys Varsity Tennis and heading the afterschool poetry club, he runs the Annual Poetry Slam, one of Hayfield’s most popular events.


2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Michael Henrich, History and Social Studies Teacher, Lake Braddock SS, Region 4

a photo of mike henrichMike creates a classroom environment where history and the excitement of learning are everywhere. A former Peace Corps volunteer, he’s a master at reaching students, whether putting Napoleon Bonaparte on trial or running his March “Most Important Figure In History” bracket where kids take turns debating why their chosen person should be the winner. His secret: a drive to constantly improve as a teacher, paired with a genuine interest in those he’s teaching. At the beginning of each school year Mike calls the families of each of his 150 students to learn more about them. As one student said, “Mr. Henrich cares about us even more than he cares about history. And he really cares about history.”


2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

Jennifer Swientoniowski, English Teacher, Fairfax HS, Region 5

a photo of jennifer swientoniowskiJen believes part of being a teacher is helping students find answers to all of their questions, even those that have nothing to do with English. Collaborative and positive, she’s steered countless students to success in her 13 years with FCPS, many of whom were facing hardships and emotional challenges.  Currently, she teaches a course designed especially for students needing additional support meeting English requirements for graduation.  Students praise her as much for teaching them that it’s okay to fail as for celebrating their successes. “No matter how many times someone told me to never give up," said one student, “it was never highlighted more than by Mrs. Swient.“


2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher - School Recipients

  • Bryant High School
    • Rachel L. Albert, Art Teacher
  • Carson Middle School
    • Leslie Hanna, General Science Teacher
  • Centreville High School
    • Alexandra Morrison, Orchestra Director *
  • Chantilly High School
    • Al Clemmons, Air Force JROTC Instructor
  • Cooper Middle School
    • Meg Baber, Speech & Drama Teacher *
  • Davis Career Center
    • Collette Rinker, Career and Transition Teacher
  • Edison High School
    • Amol Patel, Biology Teacher
  • Fairfax High School
    • Jennifer Swientoniowski, English Teacher *
  • Franklin Middle School
    • Cindy Monahan, Special Education Teacher *
  • Frost Middle School
    • Sarah Stair, Science Teacher *
  • Glasgow Middle School
    • Jason Wright, ESOL Teacher *
  • Hayfield Secondary School
    • Brian Hannon, English Teacher *
  • Herndon High School
    • Theresa Wright, English Teacher *
  • Holmes Middle School
    • Alissa Oginsky, Sixth Grade Teacher *
  • J.E.B. Stuart High School
    • Donald Balsavich, Health & Physical Education Teacher
  • Key Center
    • Elizabeth Silva, Adapted Curriculum Teacher *
  • Key Middle School
    • Sarah Looney, Spanish Teacher
  • Kilmer Center
    • Diane Jones, Special Education Teacher
  • Kilmer Middle School
    • Kaitlin Walsleben, General Science Teacher
  • Lake Braddock Secondary School
    • Michael Henrich, History & Social Studies Teacher *
  • Langley High School
    • Scott McCormick, Orchestra Director
  • Lanier Middle School
    • Kevin Deans, Math Teacher
  • Lee High School
    • Julie Grady, English Teacher
  • Liberty Middle School
    • Rebecca Price, English Teacher
  • Longfellow Middle School
    • Connie Cooper, Science Teacher
  • Luther Jackson Middle School
    • Linda Ysewyn, Math Teacher *
  • Madison High School
    • Andrea Jones, Special Education Teacher *
  • Marshall High School
    • Krissy Ronan, Librarian *
  • McLean High School
    • Cynthia Hawkins, AP History and Social Studies Teacher *
  • Mountain View High School
    • Emilie Woolard, Math Teacher
  • Oakton High School
    • Maria Cruz, ESOL Teacher
  • Poe Middle School
    • Rachel Romasco, Civics Teacher
  • Quander Road School
    • Brooke LaPorta, Biology Teacher
  • Robinson Secondary School
    • Audrey Hardwick, Learning Disabilities Teacher *
  • Rocky Run Middle School
    • Lisa Kaplan, English Teacher
  • Sandburg Middle School
    • Cheryl Fulghum, Science Teacher *
  • South County High School
    • Mary Catherine Moshos, Latin Language Teacher *
  • South County Middle School
    • Emily Howard, Librarian
  • South Lakes High School
    • Susan Brownsword, Business and Information Technology Teacher & IB Career-Related Coordinator *
  • Stone Middle School
    • Lisa Muir, Librarian *
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
    • Adam Foreman, Band Director *
  • Twain Middle School
    • Sheila Gotti, ESOL Teacher *
  • West Potomac High School
    • Dan Fitzgerald, French Teacher
  • West Springfield High School
    • Susan Lampazzi, Spanish Teacher *
  • Westfield High School
    • Nikki Warren, English Teacher

* Denotes Pyramid-Level Recipient

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